Iran is a question mark in the eyes and minds of most average Americans.
Right now, one of the most important questions raised by this backward theocracy is: Why should we believe Ahmadinejad when he claims that Iran only wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes? Here is a man who acts like and speaks like a religious sociopath, who openly advocates the annihilation of Israel, who sees Armageddon as a final blessing and who, along with Seria and other rogue states, promotes and funds terrorist activities that, by definition, kill and have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. The only intelligent answer is that we should NOT believe his claims and we should NOT allow him (them) to acquire nuclear capabilities; to do so would be like giving a loaded gun to a five-year old.
As for Iran’s threats against Israel. that leads to another question — but even to ask it will have the questioner labeled by many and, perhaps, condemned by a few. The question is: Why should we (the United States) care if Israel exists or is destroyed? I phrase it that way because I really feel that many, many Americans are seriously in doubt about the wisdom of maintaining our alliance with Israel when they see that alliance as the cause of most of our troubles (past and present) in the Middle-East. These Americans are counting dead American soldiers (as well they should) and have a very valid point. Our alliance with Israel has indeed earned us some enemies — the enemies of our friends are, after all, our enemies as well.
A country goes through its “life,” much like an individual does, acquiring friends and enemies and dealing with circumstances as they arise — not always making the right decisions — but dealing with them none the less. There is one major difference, however,between the ‘social dynamics’ of an individual and a country: consequences.
On an individual basis, we can easily abandon a friend in the face of fear of a common enemy and even successfully justify our actions to ourselves. The consequence is that we loose a friend and perhaps face some personal disgrace in our ‘community.’ A country, however, is dealing with far more powerful forces and, potentially, far more dire consequences. Abandoning our friend and ally Israel would show a weakness of resolve that would embolden our enemies could easily lead to a war that would, literally, end all wars.
Speaking of ‘weakness’, as Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, pointed out in a speech* this year at Hillsdale College’s National Leadership Seminar: The United States, right now, appears to the world to have a lack of resolve:
“. . . it has 180,000 troops attempting to establish some sort of democratic stability in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention a growing anti-war movement at home. An unpredictable President Bush has less than two years left in the White House (ed. note: and an ever-declining popularity rating) with a majority opposition in Congress that is calling for direct talks with Ahmadinejad and urging congressional restraints on the possible use of force against Iran. It is no surprise (therefore) that so many in Iran see (the U.S. as) no barrier to obtaining the bomb.
The Iranians who do not see the U.S. as a threat in obtaining the bomb are not completely wrong — it is not inconceivable that we will have a new president in 2009 who will reflect the current attitude of the congress, i.e., ‘maybe if we don’t get Iran upset they won’t bother us;’ and if we do end up with that president we will sit by and allow Iran to acquire its nuclear arsenal. What the Iranians don’t seem to understand however is that, when the chips are down, we Americans can be just as crazy and unpredictable as the Iranians have proven to be. Here’s how Victor Davis Hanson put it in that same speech at the Hillsdale Leadership Seminar:
“. . .if the American people conclude that their freedom and existance are at stake, they are capable of conjuring up things far more frightening than anything in the 7th-century brain of Mr. Ahmadinejad. The barbarity of the nightmares at Antietam, Verdun, Dresden and Hiroshima prove that well enough. In short, there are consequences to (Ahmadinejad’s) rhetoric of Armageddon. . . . military history shows that the irrational 10-percent of the Western mind is a lot scarier in the end than anything Islamic fanaticism has to offer.”
I feel in my gut that Mr. Hanson is very correct about our national resolve — our survival instincts — but there is no reason for it to get that far (and it probably will not). It is not only Israel that will be in the firing range of an Iranian nuke, it is all of Europe and the Middle-East — they certainly must also be able to see the writing on the wall and they hopefully also have a healthy ‘survival instinct.’ If not, I do believe that Israel will not be as simple-minded as our Congress and the European leaders have shown themselves to be; they will move, one way or the other, to destroy the threat from Iran before that threat becomes a reality.
*Victor Davis Hanson quotes are reprinted by permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College, http://www.hillsdale.edu.
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