Somewhere on A1A...

Monday, April 21, 2003

I've seen a lot in the blogsosphere lately about comiing reforms in Iran. I hoep they come quickly. The recent arrest of an Iranian blogger has many, like Kathy Kinsley bringing attention to the reform side of the collective Iranian psyche. Then there is the contribution by Armed Liberal and his commentors that show us maybe we should be cautious in imputing our values on freedon loving Iranians. Then too, there is the scariest angle to the Iranian situation,

There are some parallels between the emerging Iranian-Israeli balance of deterrence and that between India and Pakistan. They are not especially reassuring. Last year, South Asia came close to a nuclear war, and was restrained only by fairly desperate American diplomatic intervention. In seriously contemplating such a war, there were cold-hearted strategists in India who doubted Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities and calculated worst-case scenarios in which, even if Pakistan could use nuclear weaponry and kill tens of millions of Indians, an Indian nuclear strike could utterly wipe out Pakistan.

The existential concern for Israel relates to similarly cold-hearted strategists in Iran, calculating whether, in a nuclear confrontation, they might be able to wipe out Israel while sacrificing only a proportion of their populace. However unthinkable that may sound, with Iran now so dangerously empowered, and the West unwilling and perhaps unable to counter that threat, the only factor preventing such a scenario is the purported pragmatism of the regime in Teheran. In short, those who, despite the accelerating nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programs, want to discern in Iran a movement away from state terrorism and fundamentalist revolution, and toward reform and greater democracy, had better be right.


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