Pathological Iran

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was stated that “[t]he Obama administration and Iran, engaged in direct nuclear negotiations and facing a common threat from Islamic State militants, have moved into an effective state of détente over the past year, according to senior U.S. and Arab officials.”  The article portrays a softening of the U.S. position with respect to Hamas and Hezb'allah and a search for common ground with respect to ISIS.  However, the 800-lb. gorilla in the room regarding these negotiations is the U.S. position with reference to a nuclear-armed Iran. 

Further, for those of us who are red-blooded, all-American straight shooters, the idea of secret negotiations with a country with which we do not even have diplomatic relations is itself quite disturbing.  Yet the Obama-lovers do not find anything untoward in these negotiations.  The possibility of any limited nuclear accommodation is not bothersome.  Their reaction is, What’s the big deal?  What are you concerned about?  They tell us that we went through more than forty years of tensions with the USSR when they had a nuclear arsenal bigger than any Iran might get, so the concern about whether or not Iran gets nuclear missiles is just right-wing hysterics.  The world is a dangerous place.  It's old news.  Anyone who worries about that must be a "chicken****"!

But their argument does not end there.  They immediately jump to Israeli guilt as an excuse to be more lenient toward Iran than we have been during the last three-plus decades since 1979 (when the present cadre of mullahs took over in Tehran).  If it is legitimate for Israel to have nuclear weapons (as they are presumed by most pundits to have), then it is ipso facto all right for enemies of Israel to have them.  And besides, Israel is continuously provoking the Muslim world by building settlements and apartments.  So, of course, nuclear weapons threatening the lives of millions are necessary as a deterrent against “apartment aggression.”

Further, the wise leftists in the U.S.  government know that if the Iranians were even to think about using any nuclear weapon against the USA, they know they would be wiped off the face of the Earth.  With the American nuclear arsenal and its distance from Iran, the U.S. does not have to worry.  So let them have a few missiles.  Putin has over 1,600.  We have over 1,600.  So goes the reasoning:  other countries have pretty serious numbers of nuclear weapons and have had them for a long time, so a few more on the scene won't make that much difference.  We live in a dangerous world, so the increase in danger is minimal anyway.  And, at the same time, our willingness to accept this marginal increase in danger will be a way of winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world (especially the Shi'ite world).  They might begin to trust us more, and be less willing – little by little, of course – to call for our collective death or refer to us as "the Great Satan."   

What is wrong with this line of reasoning?  It is totally erroneous, because (1) it will set off an arms race for nuclear missiles among countries within the Muslim world that presently are not armed with those weapons – e.g., Saudi Arabia and Egypt; (2) it will increase exponentially the possibility (nay, the likelihood) that Israel will be attacked with nuclear weapons; (3) it will pose an existential threat to our European allies far greater than the threat now posed by Russian weapons, Israel's weapons, and China's weapons combined; and (4) Iran is a backward country morally, intellectually, and spiritually.  Therefore, its values, priorities, and mindset in politics cannot be understood or predicted by the West.

The last of the four points would be considered by the left to be the height of Western contempt for other cultures and other peoples.  This writer’s denigration of the Iranian mentality to those on the left suggests a racist mindset that is unacceptable in our “global village.”  However, this conclusion has been reached by this author by studying the political history of Iran going back all the way to the Sassanid dynasty in the 1500s as well as its 20th-century political machinations.    

Western Judeo-Christian ethics affecting our attitudes, dispositions, intentions, motives, principles, philosophies, behavior, and character do not exist in Iran and have not been in evidence since the 1500s.  Even in the 20th century, only a small minority of Iran’s elite classes had any Western education.  Those who have have often found themselves objects of scorn when they return to their home country.  Having lived in Iran, this writer has firsthand knowledge of a Western-educated Iranian who rushed to help an old woman carrying some heavy shopping bags onto a bus.  He was ridiculed and belittled mercilessly by a crowd of his fellow citizens who had gathered on the sidewalk.  The attitudes and habits of mind shown by the crowd are typical of the Iranian mind at all levels of society.

Further, the Western mind is leavened by a gestalt of rationality and framed by an understanding of the concept of “reason” and “reasoning” going back to the Greeks and extending for centuries up through the Cartesians, Lockians, Kantians, Hegelians, skeptics, existentialists, logical empiricists, and pragmatists.  There is no such tradition of rationality in Iran.  They are a deeply disorganized, primitive people with an oversimplified understanding of human institutions and power relationships, and no adherence to simple truths like those embodied in the Golden Rule.  The primitive cognitive organization of the country thus is reinforced by and reinforces the crude meanderings of Islam.  And why are they crude?  Answer: because they are devoid of an emphasis on grace, love, faith, or hope.  Instead, their theology is built around ideas of obedience to behavioral requirements devoid of saving value.   

Deception, glib talking, and sycophantic posturing to one's face, but hatefulness, rage, and utterly evil intentions behind one's back is the Iranian norm.  This utterly deceptive mindset is not merely a practical strategy to be applied in difficult situations; rather, is an everyday, encompassing ontological reality (operating at the deepest level of personality).  Because of the U.S. president's proclivity to similar posturing when dealing with others, he and some of the other "clever ones" around him may perceive themselves as being more than able to out-devious the devious Iranians.  However, Western deviousness is not really analogous to Iranian deviousness.  Western deviousness – say, for example, that of some of America’s leaders during the Vietnam War – is conscious of itself as manipulating the facts.  The Iranian mind is so given over to deviousness that it is not conscious that there is an ethical norm from which it is deviating.

If one reads the history of Iran's politics since the 1500s, one will not see even a hint of fair play.  One will find the political arena abundant with intrigues, power plays, and murders.  We do not find even a glimmer of democratic and humanitarian impulses expressed by Iran’s leaders.  Therefore, not even one iota of trust should be applied in reaching any agreement with Tehran’s mullocracy.  Iran must never – under any possible scenario – be allowed to get one single nuclear weapon.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, it was stated that “[t]he Obama administration and Iran, engaged in direct nuclear negotiations and facing a common threat from Islamic State militants, have moved into an effective state of détente over the past year, according to senior U.S. and Arab officials.”  The article portrays a softening of the U.S. position with respect to Hamas and Hezb'allah and a search for common ground with respect to ISIS.  However, the 800-lb. gorilla in the room regarding these negotiations is the U.S. position with reference to a nuclear-armed Iran. 

Further, for those of us who are red-blooded, all-American straight shooters, the idea of secret negotiations with a country with which we do not even have diplomatic relations is itself quite disturbing.  Yet the Obama-lovers do not find anything untoward in these negotiations.  The possibility of any limited nuclear accommodation is not bothersome.  Their reaction is, What’s the big deal?  What are you concerned about?  They tell us that we went through more than forty years of tensions with the USSR when they had a nuclear arsenal bigger than any Iran might get, so the concern about whether or not Iran gets nuclear missiles is just right-wing hysterics.  The world is a dangerous place.  It's old news.  Anyone who worries about that must be a "chicken****"!

But their argument does not end there.  They immediately jump to Israeli guilt as an excuse to be more lenient toward Iran than we have been during the last three-plus decades since 1979 (when the present cadre of mullahs took over in Tehran).  If it is legitimate for Israel to have nuclear weapons (as they are presumed by most pundits to have), then it is ipso facto all right for enemies of Israel to have them.  And besides, Israel is continuously provoking the Muslim world by building settlements and apartments.  So, of course, nuclear weapons threatening the lives of millions are necessary as a deterrent against “apartment aggression.”

Further, the wise leftists in the U.S.  government know that if the Iranians were even to think about using any nuclear weapon against the USA, they know they would be wiped off the face of the Earth.  With the American nuclear arsenal and its distance from Iran, the U.S. does not have to worry.  So let them have a few missiles.  Putin has over 1,600.  We have over 1,600.  So goes the reasoning:  other countries have pretty serious numbers of nuclear weapons and have had them for a long time, so a few more on the scene won't make that much difference.  We live in a dangerous world, so the increase in danger is minimal anyway.  And, at the same time, our willingness to accept this marginal increase in danger will be a way of winning hearts and minds in the Muslim world (especially the Shi'ite world).  They might begin to trust us more, and be less willing – little by little, of course – to call for our collective death or refer to us as "the Great Satan."   

What is wrong with this line of reasoning?  It is totally erroneous, because (1) it will set off an arms race for nuclear missiles among countries within the Muslim world that presently are not armed with those weapons – e.g., Saudi Arabia and Egypt; (2) it will increase exponentially the possibility (nay, the likelihood) that Israel will be attacked with nuclear weapons; (3) it will pose an existential threat to our European allies far greater than the threat now posed by Russian weapons, Israel's weapons, and China's weapons combined; and (4) Iran is a backward country morally, intellectually, and spiritually.  Therefore, its values, priorities, and mindset in politics cannot be understood or predicted by the West.

The last of the four points would be considered by the left to be the height of Western contempt for other cultures and other peoples.  This writer’s denigration of the Iranian mentality to those on the left suggests a racist mindset that is unacceptable in our “global village.”  However, this conclusion has been reached by this author by studying the political history of Iran going back all the way to the Sassanid dynasty in the 1500s as well as its 20th-century political machinations.    

Western Judeo-Christian ethics affecting our attitudes, dispositions, intentions, motives, principles, philosophies, behavior, and character do not exist in Iran and have not been in evidence since the 1500s.  Even in the 20th century, only a small minority of Iran’s elite classes had any Western education.  Those who have have often found themselves objects of scorn when they return to their home country.  Having lived in Iran, this writer has firsthand knowledge of a Western-educated Iranian who rushed to help an old woman carrying some heavy shopping bags onto a bus.  He was ridiculed and belittled mercilessly by a crowd of his fellow citizens who had gathered on the sidewalk.  The attitudes and habits of mind shown by the crowd are typical of the Iranian mind at all levels of society.

Further, the Western mind is leavened by a gestalt of rationality and framed by an understanding of the concept of “reason” and “reasoning” going back to the Greeks and extending for centuries up through the Cartesians, Lockians, Kantians, Hegelians, skeptics, existentialists, logical empiricists, and pragmatists.  There is no such tradition of rationality in Iran.  They are a deeply disorganized, primitive people with an oversimplified understanding of human institutions and power relationships, and no adherence to simple truths like those embodied in the Golden Rule.  The primitive cognitive organization of the country thus is reinforced by and reinforces the crude meanderings of Islam.  And why are they crude?  Answer: because they are devoid of an emphasis on grace, love, faith, or hope.  Instead, their theology is built around ideas of obedience to behavioral requirements devoid of saving value.   

Deception, glib talking, and sycophantic posturing to one's face, but hatefulness, rage, and utterly evil intentions behind one's back is the Iranian norm.  This utterly deceptive mindset is not merely a practical strategy to be applied in difficult situations; rather, is an everyday, encompassing ontological reality (operating at the deepest level of personality).  Because of the U.S. president's proclivity to similar posturing when dealing with others, he and some of the other "clever ones" around him may perceive themselves as being more than able to out-devious the devious Iranians.  However, Western deviousness is not really analogous to Iranian deviousness.  Western deviousness – say, for example, that of some of America’s leaders during the Vietnam War – is conscious of itself as manipulating the facts.  The Iranian mind is so given over to deviousness that it is not conscious that there is an ethical norm from which it is deviating.

If one reads the history of Iran's politics since the 1500s, one will not see even a hint of fair play.  One will find the political arena abundant with intrigues, power plays, and murders.  We do not find even a glimmer of democratic and humanitarian impulses expressed by Iran’s leaders.  Therefore, not even one iota of trust should be applied in reaching any agreement with Tehran’s mullocracy.  Iran must never – under any possible scenario – be allowed to get one single nuclear weapon.