The President said today, in essence, that the military option would be on the table “if Iran produces a nuclear weapon”. The President’s always careful phrasing would indicate that when Iran does in fact produce a nuclear weapon, then and only then would a military option be on the table. You can be assured that is how Iran will gleefully interpret the President’s comments. Students of the situation might, in a fit of pique, label the President’s comments as irrational.
The combination of leaks by Mr. Panetta predicting an Iranian action against us in the spring, a stick in the Israeli eye by General Dempsey, the lack of support for the Iranian Green Movement, IAEA’s now frantic reporting and a constant drumbeat, attempting to beat Israel into self destructive submission all combine to make one wonder if Mr. Obama is actually concerned about the Iranian nuclear program.
The belief has long existed in European diplomatic circles that we can ‘live with’ an Iranian bomb. Europeans are firm in their belief that they can ‘live with’ almost anything, except of course Greece. The Europeans are not given to confrontation even in the event of their comprehensive failure to effectively negotiate with Iran. Saudi Arabia does not believe they can ‘live with’ an Iranian bomb. Their Pakistani surrogates have gotten the message; be ready to deliver a Saudi bomb as payback for early support of the Pakistani nuclear program. The Saudi’s unlike General Dempsey don’t believe the Iranians to be’ rational’ actors.
General Dempsey, however, labels Iran a ‘rational actor’. He went on in his testimony insisting that to assume Iran was irrational would be to underestimate them. Perhaps it’s about definitions. Our august Senate Budget Committee members did not press the General on his definition of rationality and therein lay the problem; definitions. Definitions are the foundation of any message; failure to address and clarify them is to deliver a weak message, which we have done, again.
The General’s definition of rationality would accept worldwide support of terrorism as rational. You accept that terror is a means to an end; by applying it as a self validating tactic it is, therefore rational. You accept an apocalyptic, end of days belief system that demands chaos and war as a necessary prelude to the global ascent of the next messiah as rational. When we encounter such cultish beliefs in America, they are immediately labeled as irrational, a product of misguided fringe beliefs. In the case of Iran however, where such beliefs guide the governing political infrastructure, the good General must believe such beliefs to be rational if his analysis follows his logic.
When the Supreme Leader and the President of Iran speak publically of being in ‘direct contact’ with the missing 12th Imam, he, the object of apocalyptic prophecy, dead or missing for centuries, the General’s logic demands that we must accept these guiding beliefs as rational.
The General is not alone; Foreign Affairs Magazine published an article some time ago contending that while we cannot contain Iran now, but that we actually could contain Iran once they get the bomb. You want the twisted logic of irrationality, there you have it.