Ray Takeyh of the LA Times put together a comment piece explaining why we shouldn’t be so spooked by President Ahmadinejad of the Iran.
IF YOU THINK IRANIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes outlandish comments, consider what Mao Tse–tung said to a visiting head of state in 1954: “If someone else can drop an atomic bomb, then I can too. The death of 10 or 20 million people is nothing to be afraid of.”
Nonetheless, 15 years later, a nuclear-armed China was not only contained by the world, it opted for normalization of relations with its archenemy, the United States. Today, it is fashionable to equate Ahmadinejad with Hitler, yet the lesson of the 20th century is that rash leaders can, in fact, be deterred. And Iran’s president will prove no exception.
Oh, he’s not bad. We contained China, we can contain Iran, too. (Of course, Takeyh doesn’t bring about Iran’s strong terrorist ties and how we’re not so much worried about a nuke-tipped Scud as we are a suicide bomber with a 20 kt device in the back of his van.)
Ahmadinejad is considered nutty in the United States because of his denial of the Holocaust — but that’s nothing new in the Islamic Republic either. The foremost ruler of the country, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has declared: “There are documents showing close collaboration of Zionists with Nazi Germany, and exaggerated numbers relating to the Jewish Holocaust were fabricated to lay the groundwork for the occupation of Palestine and to justify the atrocities of the Zionists.” Yet today, it is quietly hoped in Washington that Khamenei will be the one to restrain the intemperate Ahmadinejad.</blockquote>When you have to hope that one lunatic will constrain another lunatic, you’re not in a happy place. It’s like saying, “Oh, we were hoping Himler would contain Hitler.” You can understand the worry in Washington over the current state of affairs.
Ahmadinejad’s behavior suggests continuity with his predecessors: incendiary rhetoric and restrained conduct.
Pursuit of a nuclear weapon wouldn’t be “restrained conduct”. And if he is a fundamentalist who wants to nuke Israel and bring about the Apocalypse, then what? We know he’s a hardcore believer, an extremist. Shouldn’t that send up some warning flares? If he’s trying to woo the Muslim world, why do it under the guise of a radical? Such polar positions have a tendency of bringing division, not unity.
Even the nuclear issue has to be viewed in the context of continuity rather than change. The decision to resume the nuclear program after a long period of suspension was taken not by Ahmadinejad but by the reformist government of Mohammad Khatami before leaving office in 2005. What’s more, Iran’s pursuit of the bomb has less to do with the destruction of Israel than with deterring a United States that has invaded two states that border Iran in the last five years.
So, the reason Iran is building a nuke? It’s the fault of the United States. Of course. That’s the same reason Pakistan and India developed the bomb, too.
It has nothing to do with a perceived threat of the United States. But it has everything to do with regional power. We’re cautious that Kim Jong Il is developing a nuke and could possibly launch an attack on the US, but those odds are remote. Even as nuts as some think Kim Jong Il is, we also know he’s instituting a power play. Iran on the other hand, backed by the dogma of global jihad, could easily distribute some weapons by terrorist networks and wreak havoc on its main adversaries– the US and Israel– through terrorist “small bomb” attacks. In fact, Iran was a sponsor of Al Queda and still is. Why wouldn’t they provide a WMD like a nuclear weapon to terrorists to support Global Jihad?
So then, why has Ahmadinejad persisted in his contemptible denials of the Holocaust and his repeated calls for the eradication of Israel if, in fact, they are more bluster than anything else? As a cagey politician, Ahmadinejad appreciates that his incendiary denunciations actually enhance his popularity in the Middle East.
What a load of bollocks. Cagey politician? Somebody’s got a crush on Ahmadinejad! Seriously, the guy is now bringing in his best buddy as the theocratic component of the ultimate Jihadi state.
Back in the late 30’s there were plenty of people saying, “Oh, Hitler’s not that bad.” And look what happened. Now Takeyh is saying, “Ahmadinejad isn’t that bad.” Excuse me while I take that with a grain of salt.