November 19, 2007
Dr. Mahmoud Strangelove, I believe?By James Lewis
The UN nuclear agency, the IAEA, just announced that Iran is within a year of getting enough enriched uranium for its first bomb. That is an engineering prediction, based on the confirmed enrichment capacity of 3,000 centrifuges.
And yet, the editor of the influential London daily, Al Quds al Arabi, was recently quoted as saying that "he would dance in Trafalgar Square if Iranian missiles hit Israel."
Well, he won't be dancing long before the horizon starts to burn.
The fact that a prominent Muslim newspaper editor doesn't get the simple logic of Mutually Assured Destruction shocking --- and also revealing. Israel-haters simply can't seem to grasp the basic lesson of fifty years of nuclear standoff during the Cold War.
That includes our own Leftwing bizarros, who think that it's only fair for the Khomeini cult to have nukes. If Johnny has a toy, why can't Sally have one? But if Johnny has a live hand grenade, does Sally really want one? Not in a sane world.
Nukes have only two uses: One is as a last-gasp deterrent, which is how sane nations view them. The second is to commit national suicide. Only the Jim Joneses of this world fancy the second option. The trouble is that a lot of radical Muslims talk like Jim Jones, like the London editor of Al Quds al Arabi, who might finally get it as he's dancing in Trafalgar Square.
There's another wrinkle to the logic of Mutually Assured Destruction. The first power to get nuclear weapons can stay safe, because it controls the ultimate deterrent. That is a stable situation. But when a suicidal enemy obtains its first bomb, that logic collapses and becomes unstable. Then the survival incentive is for the first possessor to strike.
Ahmadi-Nejad is said to have a doctoral degree in traffic engineering. He apparently takes a lot of pride in that Western-style degree. But he apparently can't understand the logic of MAD. A'jad seems to think that getting nukes will be just fabulous for the Islamic Republic of Iran. It would fix that historic inferiority complex in a single strike, right? But as soon as Iran gets a single nuke, all bets are off, and it will be automatically threatened by other powers who have a lot more nuclear capacity, better delivery and targeting, better defenses against Iran's untested missiles, and decades of training. That includes Israel, the United States, and Iran's near neighbor, Russia. All those countries have life-or-death incentives to deprive an unstable nuclear infant of its brand-new toy.
That was the message the Israel Air Force sent in September when it was able to send half a dozen jets undetected all the way across Syria to destroy that nuclear plant on the Euphrates River. Those jets are equipped and trained to drop nuclear weapons in the worst conceivable scenario. Syria's brand-new Russian radars never noticed a blip. Those are the same radars the Khomeini regime just bought. So that was a test and a demonstration. Having shown that IAF jet bombers can penetrate Iran's defenses, there are no military barriers against striking Natanz and Isfahan. (That doesn't mean the political decision will be made, obviously.)
The case for a preemptive nuclear strike by Israel is becoming more and more compelling. Israel has been openly threatened with Holocaust for three decades by the Khomeini cult. Their expressed intentions couldn't be clearer. If you yell, "I'm going to shoot you, cop!" every day for thirty years, and finally aim a loaded gun, any cop will open fire.
Israel has an estimated 200 nuclear weapons, three decades of experience working with them, and nuclear-armed submarines, jet bombers, and cruise missiles. So it has both a preemptive and a second-strike capacity through its submarines. Once that Djinn is out of the bottle, the rational course is to destroy all of Iran's aggressive capacity as fast as possible, leaving not a wrack behind. Be careful what you wish for, Mahmoud.
In the Middle East, the Saudis and Egyptians are looking for nukes of their own if A'jad gets his, and Pakistan can supply them off the shelf. Everybody who can afford it is getting state-of-the-art missile defenses. (Turkey, another Iranian neighbor, just decided to buy Israel's Arrow missile defense system.) So A'jad's vaunted solution for his inferiority complex could also mean a world of pain for his people.
A lot of Muslim figures haven't yet thought through the suicidal logic of nukes. They still think in terms of conventional weapons, or medieval sword play. The Bomb is still seen as Allah's Revenge in that fantasy-prone part of the world -- except in Pakistan, which started to talk peace with India as soon as both sides got nukes.
It's high time for the Muslim world to educate itself on the logic of mutual destruction. That goes for the newspaper editors and journalists, the teachers and the opinion leaders. It's one thing to thirst for revenge, and quite another thing to inflict Armageddon on one's own family and country.
When it comes to national pride, nukes are not the solution. They are the suicide option.
James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/