In search of realistic realists

Unrealistic realists such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and John Mearsheimer think Iran a conventional power that can be deterred by mutual assured destruction. They do not seriously attend to the most obvious features of the Iranian regime, such as words spoken and deeds done. Caroline Glick examines the message of Ahmadinejad’s speeches during his visit to New York this week. Glick notes the inattentiveness of the media to Ahmadinejad’s words and concludes:

[T]here is a reason that the West ignores the dangers facing it. The Western media ignored Ahmadinejad’s message, just as it has insistently ignored the messages of bin Laden and Fatah throughout the years, because Westerners have a hard time believing that anyone would want to abide by the Islamic world view which denies mankind’s desire for freedom.

Dan Senor takes the Iranian bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires as a case study of deeds done. Senor draws four conclusions from his case study and arrives at a destination close to Glick’s:

Iran is not the Soviet Union and the post-9/11 struggle is not the Cold War. The deterrence camp is willing to stand by as Iran develops nuclear weapons, presumably on the model that Iran will eventually collapse as the Soviet Union did. But the Argentinean case demonstrates what Tehran was willing and able to do when it had no nuclear umbrella. If, as the 9/11 Commission Report argues, the U.S. suffered from a “failure of imagination” regarding how far terrorists would go, a nuclear Iran risks encouraging the terrorist imagination to take another quantum leap.

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