Foreign Affairs

Iran: Dancing on the Needle’s Head

"All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts…"

—William Shakespeare excerpt from "As you like it"

Each time I turn on the television, listen to the radio, or read the news online I’m reminded of how little actual concern politicians have for human life. I watch as the world inches ever closer with the most polished statesmanship to a nuclear-powered Iran. I can’t help but wonder why this openly hostile regime is being afforded the time to develop and refine the world’s most powerful energy source at the courtesy of a global political process.

Are politicians so concerned about how their country is perceived by other nations that they would allow a violent and oppressive thugocracy to work to acquire the world’s most destructive power?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has set Iran on a collision course with the world powers over nuclear technology. The Iranian leader’s argument for his nation’s nuclear path is simple and even legitimate. Iran believes that any sovereign nation is entitled to pursue nuclear power to suit its purpose be it energy or weaponry. In this view Ahmadinejad is not alone. French President Chirac was quoted via a spokesman as saying that "France believes in the need for the demands of non-proliferation to be respected, but believes this does not in any way prejudice Iran’s right to civil nuclear energy within such a framework." France is not alone in this position as many European Union nations and Russia seem to believe Iran responsible enough to posses and wield the earth most destructive power.

Unlike Iraq, the world clearly knows where Iran’s nuclear ambitions are leading. The Iranian leader made his intentions clear that he views the destruction of Israel as an Islamic duty. Any world leader making such a statement is either fanatically insane or extraordinarily calculating. Ahmadinejad has publicly threatened the existence of another sovereign nation, Israel, and nothing has been done by Israel, the UN, or any other nation to curtail the probability of an actual strike. The world has known for quite some time that Iran has aggressively supported terrorism across the globe. Very much like a bully who needs to talk himself into action Iran has been building its courage as it builds its ability to make war. Once the bully feels his punch is great enough to back his mouth the fight ensues.

How could such a brazenly hostile statement serve Iran’s interests? Iran has reluctantly willing allies in Europe. History has already witnessed the ‘price’ countries like France and Germany were willing to pay for Iraqi oil and business revenues. Thousands of Iraqi civilians died as some members of the United Nations skirted the 1991 cease-fire sanctions to allow billions of dollars into former leader Saddam Hussein coffers to rebuild his weapons and regime. Former President Saddam Hussein did not care how many innocent Iraqi’s suffered and instead blamed the United States for Iraq’s hardships via the sanction imposed by the 1991 cease fire agreement. United Nations members who allowed for the Oil for Food scandal obviously didn’t care, or didn’t care to know, what this dictator was doing with the excess funds they allowed him to collect. Instead United Nations members pocketed billions of dollars as Iraqi citizens were butchered, tortured, or let starve by Saddam Hussein.

Ahmadinejad is gambling that the world is more interested in the flow of oil (and the potential of some nations to grossly profit from that flow) than Israel. After all, in Ahmadinejad’s mind, were not the Jews systematically exterminated in Europe not that long ago? Did not the re-creation of Israel occur after the Holocaust of World War II as a way to physically remove the Jews from Europe’s hatred? Isn’t there a sizeable and sometimes violent racial hatred toward Jews in Europe that continues to this day? Isn’t there a deeply paranoid and irrational distrust of the Jews resident in the American left today? Ahmadinejad is banking on distrust and hatred of Jews and is relying on greed to buy enough time to develop the power and weapons needed to fulfill what he sees as his divine purpose.

As the United States inches closer to war with Iran, the world frantically scrambles to negotiate some equitable, peaceful solution to defuse global chaos. A war with Iran would disrupt the world’s oil trade and drastically increase the cost of oil and oil related goods. To complicate matters further, Muslim populations throughout Europe have already been enraged by Dutch cartoons, which have sparked riots throughout Europe. A war with Iran (a known sponsor of terrorism and the suspected supporter of the Iraq insurgency) could mean Muslim violence of epic proportions across Europe. As witnessed in France recently, many European governments prefer not to confront rioters and instead choose allow angry mobs to exhaust themselves from feasting on the destruction of anything in their path. A massive Muslim uprising of potentially 88 million Islamic people in Europe could devastate entire countries. Widespread riots combined with seeded terrorist cell activity in typically apathetic European nations could provoke the failure of European government and leave millions of Europeans at the mercy of angry and vicious Islamic mobs.

To assume that Iran, once having attained nuclear capability, would launch a first strike on Israel is logical from an attrition point of view. Iran’s population of 68 million people greatly outnumbers Israeli’s population of 6.2 million people. Iran could, with enough nuclear capability, trade blows with Israel until Israel is no more. The Iranian Mullahs have shown little concern when it comes to the lives of their own people. It would not be much of a stretch to think the mullahs (who have been buying homicide bombers for years) would hesitate to sacrifice all of Palestine to obliterate Israel. In fact, the Palestinian people would be revered in Islam as martyrs. Iran would look like heroes to all of Islam despite the massacre of millions of Israelis and nearly 10 million Palestinians. A stretch of nuclear wasteland and a wandering cloud would be preferable to co-existence with the Jews.

From a Christian perspective the Iranian conflict could well be the beginning of the end. Iran is playing the part of the antagonist quite well. Consider this, Iran through wild accusations, an impotent Europe, a diplomatically timid United States, or a backdoor deal, manages to bide enough time to develop nuclear power and manufacture a nuclear weapon. Immediately the negotiating environment changes as anyone who is negotiating knows exactly where the single warhead is pointed. Wielding the ultimate destructive power, Iran would continue to threaten Israel with less concern than ever. Israel having an openly hostile enemy bent "removing Israel from the map" snubs Europe’s diplomatic efforts with Iran and seeks to remove the threat itself. If successful the Iranian nuclear threat is removed. The outraged Muslim world (and possibly self-serving European allies angered by Israel’s actions) would then declare war on Israel. This would set the stage for biblical Armageddon as told in the book of Revelation where all the kings of the earth and their armies would be amassed to destroy Israel once and for all.

If Israel’s attack were unsuccessful Israel would be struck by the Iranian warhead, which could potentially kill millions of Israel’s people. Israel having been struck would retaliate in kind. Diplomatic, geographic, and economic alliances form and the third world war would begin.

The United States can not rely on the United Nations. The United Nations and the European Union showed their mettle with the Iraq crisis and the Oil for Food scandal. Regardless of the weapons of mass destruction, Iraq did support terrorism and did have the mechanisms to produce chemical weapons in quantity on relatively short notice. Iraq was in possession of dual use chemicals and machinery and a variety of banned items from the sanctions imposed by the cease fire. Iraq was a logical threat with logistical value in the long term war on terrorism. How less of a threat is a country that has openly stated that they are pursuing nuclear power and possibly nuclear weapons with hostile intent? How much more suspect was Iraq for supporting terrorism in 2003 than is Iran’s support of terrorism today (or prior)?

Neither Israel nor America has the luxury of time with a diplomatic oil embargo. Considering the United Nations record in such matters and the time it takes to manufacture nuclear weapons, to wait allows Iran to grow stronger and increases the likelihood of greater bloodshed. Can the world afford to play politics and posture while literally millions of human lives hang in the balance? Europe stood by as Hitler grew to his murderous prominence on their continent. Will Europe will stand by, and possibly assist, as seventh century Muslim fundamentalist minds arm themselves with 21 century weaponry?

Tragically, if history is a teacher, the answer is yes.


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