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More on Iran

This is a response to a comment by occam to a previous post:

One of the things that struck me about Lieberman's interview with NPR was his comment that Iran isn't like the USSR was. Which I threw a flag on because I remember the rhetoric of the Cold War pretty damn clearly, and I recall distinctly being told by our government that the Soviets were ideologically motivated zealots who would not stop until they spread their Red tide over the entire Earth and the hammer and sickle waved from every rooftop. So, to me, this vilification of the Iranians is just more of the same.

I sincerely hope that I'm not wrong about this, but I do very firmly believe that the regime in Tehran is composed of rational actors. Very few states have been led by truly irrational actors (e.g. Nazi Germany under Hitler, North Korea presently), and even some of them have come around (e.g. Qaddafi in Libya). So, I maintain that the government of Iran will realize the inherent hazards of being a nuclear power, and that will be a brake on their direct actions. It won't, as history shows us, be a brake on their indirect actions. Decades of US / Soviet proxy wars in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America make that quite plain. But, despite some terrifying episodes of brinkmanship, we and they never had World War III because there were rational actors on both sides.

The greatest threat in the current situation is not, IMHO, the government of Iran. It is the dubious rationality of the President of the United States and his cadre of ideological zealots. Wait, that sounds familiar...

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
0ccam
Nov. 3rd, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Had the icon already...hafta use it.
I don't want to get into a war of any kind with Iran. I didn't want to get into a war with Iraq. Afghanistan might have been necessary, but we certainly should have "finished" that before we started any other major military activity.
You may be right that the leaders of Iran will be rational enough to not attack anyone with nuclear weapons. But what if they just make 'em, keep some and sell the rest? Perhaps the various multi-nation organizations such as the United Nations should -promote- nuclear power generation and work together to set up power grids over the entire globe. That way everyone would have the benefits (and problems) of nuclear power.
If after that any country still wants to do research on nuclear science, then at least they won't have that as an excuse and their motives might be more clear.
netcurmudgeon
Nov. 3rd, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Had the icon already...hafta use it.
Nice nuke! <shudder>

But what if they just make 'em, keep some and sell the rest?

I really don't know how to assess that. Nation states have been the greatest purveyors of arms ... just look at all of the countries flying the F16 or the MiG 29. But, no nation state that I know of has ever sold a nuke. Perhaps there's some "red line" there that people with H-bombs don't want to cross...?
0ccam
Nov. 3rd, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Had the icon already...hafta use it.
Yeah, I hope so.
(Deleted comment)
netcurmudgeon
Nov. 4th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
Doesn't mean you shouldn't try to understand others, just dangerous to think you've got 'em figured out.

Indeed. But much of our behavior is driven by basic universals -- the want for food, shelter, safety and community. When those are met there are some more abstract things that also seem universal -- such as increasing one's prosperity. My experiences abroad and with people who have come here from foreign lands is the we humans are more alike than we are different.

One of the things we have learned since the Cold War was how thoroughly we misunderstood the motivations of the Soviet Union.

...Which is why I balk at accepting our leaders' claims that the regime in Iran is composed of irrational fanatics. We got that wrong about the Soviets (or our leaders chose to get that wrong) and, IMO, we're on the same path here.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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