Dawn of the dead

One of the insoluble difficulties raised by Iran’s nuclear threat is the impotence of deterrence against those who relish death, or think death but a small price to pay for the elimination of Jews from “Palestine.” The unworkability of deterrence against Iran has received remarkably little public attention, though it must have something to do with the assertion that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would be “unacceptable.” The Hudson Institute has posted the paper (in PDF) by Laurent Murawiec devoted to this topic of deterring jihadis such as Ahmadinejad: “Deterring those who are already dead?” It is an important exploration of the issue.

Michael Ledeen devotes his most recent NRO column to Ahmadinejad himself: “The Iranian challenge.” Ledeen notes the theme of “humiliation” in the Spiegel interview with Ahmadinejad:

“Why must the German people be humiliated today because a group of people committed crimes in the name of the Germans during the course of history?” The Spiegel journalist doesn’t have the wit to ask Ahmadinejad why jihadis like him base their actions on events that took place centuries ago, and then have the chutzpah to condemn the Germans for feeling guilt about the actions of their parents.

The use of “humiliation” tells us a lot about the way the mullahs think about the world; they look at international events as a matter of domination or humiliation, and he hammers away at this theme: “Saying that we should accept the world as it is would mean that…the German people would be humiliated for another 1.000 years. Do you think that is the correct logic?”

You can be quite certain that the mullahs are not going to accept anything less than the humiliation of the West, and Ahmadinejad’s hatred for the Europeans oozes from every verbal exchange. When the Spiegel interviewer asks him whether he wants nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad treats him with total contempt. If you know how to parse the language, you will see that he says “yes. Hell yes!” But instead of putting it in the context of the pursuit of Iranian national interests, he treats it as part of his hatred of the West:

In our view, the legal system whereby a handful of countries force their will on the rest of the world is discriminatory and unstable…there are a number of countries that possess both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. They use their atomic weapons to threaten other peoples…What we say is that these countries themselves have long deviated from peaceful usage. These powers have no right to talk to us in this manner. This order is unjust and unsustainable.

That ought to be clear enough for anyone who cares to see it.

Dr. Stanley Renshon also takes a look at the Spiegel interview in his Political Psychology post: “Iran’s ‘dignity’ and the bomb.”


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