Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

February 28, 2009

I Love the Confidence of People…

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 3:41 pm

who will cling to their supposed ability to read the minds of religious fanatics, in order to tell us we have nothng to worry about. It seems to me that what we are witnesssing in this commenter is either fear or ignorance:

“Ron you have in the recent past advanced a theory about Iran inevitably using nuclear weapons against Israel.

Your subsequent posts have tried to justify your gloomy prediction.

What you don’t take into account is the ability of Israel to defend itself.

If Iran bombs Israel the Isrealis (sic) will retaliate with lethal force.

Even the Iranian ruling clique  while  capbable of sending others on suicide missions don’t themselves want to suffer such a fate.’

So this commenter apparnetly just knows how “the Iranian ruling clique” thinks and–surprise!–they think just like us rational types in the West, just like him. (I’m assuming it’s a male speaking, the know-it-all tone suggests so). So we and the Israelis can rely on his assurances, having read the minds of “the Iranian ruling clique” that they’d never do anything that seems crazy to his Western point of view.

This requires an ignorance or willed blindness to the apocalyptic strain of Iranian Shiite theology–the ideology of the “Twelvers”, the believers–very influential in Iranian ruling circles–that it will rquire apocalyptic nuclear warfare or its deadly equivalent to bring the Twelfth or Hidden Imam out of the well in the Holy City of Qom where he has taken refuge for centuries.

It requires ignorance of the statement of former Iranian president Rafsanjani on the matter, as far back as 2002–that Iran would welcome a nuclear exchange with Israel because although Iran would suffer great “damage” Israel would no longer exist, “there would be nothing left on the ground”. (quite specifically genocidal and not defensible as merely a euphemism like “wipe Israel off the map”. No a trade off, a few million artyred iranians, a billion and a half Muslims left alive, Israelis exterminated. Of course no rational person would think like that, but that’s the point.

Israel can’t “defend itself” by retaliating against an Iranian nuclear attack, it can only revenge itself posthumously with submarine based rataliatory missiles because Israel would be no more.

. It would be nice to pretend that old fashioned deterrence obtained, but it worked with the Soviet Union precisely because their leadership had a sense of self preservation, were not apoclalyptic religious fanatics. Things would be so much more comfy and all if that were the case with Iran. People always like to believe there are easy answers and talk in know-it-all tones that there’s nothing much to be concerned about. It makes life easier for them and in a way I envy their willed ignorance. Ignorance is bliss, they say. . But at a certain point this degree of ignorance on this matter is inexcusable.



  1. well said, very well said

    Comment by charlie finch — February 28, 2009 @ 4:15 pm | Reply

  2. I agree wholely with the last paragraph. Israel can’t “defend” itself against a nuclear attack by responding with lethal force. Far too late by that time.

    However, through a phrase like “us rational types in the West” the earlier part of the article goes too far in characterizing Iranians (or at least their leaders) as irrational, unpredictable and unknowable. This kind of attitude is at the very core of human conflict and only serves to aggravate our differences. As long as Iranians remain an unknowable, irrational and amoral “other”, Westerners are going to be comfortable in acting as if they are inferior people. As a result, Iranians respond in kind by treating Westerners as inferior people and the self-perpetuating cycle rolls on.

    Rather than implying or assuming that Iranians are irrational, let’s make an effort to try and understand their different rationale. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with them or give their beliefs credence. Understanding something you disagree with is not the same thing as tolerating it. And while we shouldn’t tolerate it when we think people are unjust, hateful or willfully ignorant, we can try and understand them. I have no doubt that Mr. Rosenbaum understands them, but this article serves to aggravate rather than facilitate understanding for others.

    Comment by Kasey Rasmussen — March 2, 2009 @ 9:45 am | Reply

  3. The problem is that saying something isn’t the same as really thinking it, especially in international affairs. If you take a neo-Realist view that Iran is seeking to maximize its regional hegemony, its rhetoric makes perfect sense.

    By making loud noises about the destruction of Israel, Iran can co-opt significant portions of the ‘Arab Street’, particularly in the countries most likely to oppose its bid for expanded regional power, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

    Furthermore, the current regime thrives in an Us-Vs-Them atmosphere, even as their people suffer under it. Every time someone in the west threatens airstrikes against Iran, Ahmedinejad’s poll numbers go up.

    Finally, the crazier it seems, the more credible its threats appear, which can put them in a better negotiating position, both now and in the future, whether or not they possess nuclear weapons.

    I don’t claim to know what the Iranian inner circle is thinking, but I think its naive to take them at their word. The better thing to look at is what the regime actually does – and so far, its been acting in its own self-interest, arguably better than the United States has.

    Comment by Dave — March 3, 2009 @ 9:04 am | Reply

  4. Clinton hitting ‘the reset’ button with the Russians may be helpful. We may deceive ourselves but we may have more to offer them than the Iranians do and the Iranians might be characterized as the more aggressive spider.

    Comment by Michael — March 6, 2009 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

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