Iran and the Bomb. Does it matter if Iran eventually acquires a nuclear bomb?

April 23, 2010

I have a host of questions rather than answers about the entire subject of Iran and the bomb. Perhaps more intelligent readers of my blog [if that is not a contradiction in terms] can supply some.

First, is it inevitable that Iran will one day soon acquire a nuclear bomb? Many analysts have poured contempt on the naivety of Obama administration's contention that sanctions, yet to be applied, will somehow stop Iran's determination to go ahead. Sanctions did not work against North Korea, and there is no reason to think they will in the case of Iran. Will China and Russia back the USA? Would a blockade work? How would that effect the price of oil? Is Obama seriously leaving open the option of using force, or is it more "let me make it clear" and "I am really serious this time" kind of pusillanimous rhetoric?

Second, why should Iran not have the bomb? Is it just Western arrogance that conludes that only the West can behave responsibly? After all Pakistan, India, China and North Korea also have the bomb, along with the USA, UK, Russia, France and Israel, and they have not used them, even when they were engaged in military conflict in the last sixty five years. Would the acquisition of the bomb by Iran not encourage others in the region to try and acquire one? It surely would, and the more states with nuclear bombs the greater the instability, especially in a region already unstable.

Third, is it also inevitable that Iran will use nuclear weapons against the West, and Israel? It would be foolish for Iran to launch any attacks against the USA or any of the NATO countries, since Iran would suffer heavy retaliation with millions dead. How could it possibly attack Israel without annihilating the very people it claims to be protecting, the Palestinians? It would not attack Jerusalem since that would obliterate a holy Muslim site. And again, Israel would reply in kind with devastating results.

In that case, why on earth does Iran want the bomb? Prestige? Does the bomb make the Iranians less vulnerable to attack? It is pointless trying to get into the mind of people who do not think like we do.

French philosopher Christian Godin recently pointed out that Islamic totalitarianism is potentially far more dangerous than either the Nazi or Communist variety, since the latter, despite their exterminating follies, presupposed their own preservation. For the Nazi, the inferior race does not deserve to exist; for the Stalinist, the enemy of the people does not merit to continue living; for the Islamist, it is the world itself that does not deserve to exist.

A Holocaust survivor, a man in his late eighties, was asked what lessons he learned after so many years of reflection on the terrible events of the Twentieth Century, thought for a minute and then replied, "When someone tells you he is going to kill you, believe him".