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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Iran is not the Soviet Union

Lefty blogger Think Progress attacks Giuliani foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz for his appearance on the PBS News Hour last night.

On the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer last night, Commentary Magazine editor-at-large Norman Podhoretz, who is also a foreign policy adviser to Rudy Giuliani, repeated his claim that there is “only one terrible choice” left with Iran, which is to “bomb” their “facilities” and “retard” their nuclear program.

When Newsweek’s Fareed Zackaria asserted that deterrence was a viable option, Podhoretz repeatedly accused him of “an irresponsible complacency” that “is comparable to the denial in the early ’30s of the intentions of Hitler”:

PODHORETZ: First, I want to say that I think the attitude expressed by Fareed Zakaria represents an irresponsible complacency that I think is comparable to the denial in the early ’30s of the intentions of Hitler that led to what Churchill called an unnecessary war involving millions and millions of deaths that might have been averted if the West had acted early enough. […]

Let me respond to that. You know, similar arguments were made about Hitler in the early ’30s, and it appalls me that this kind of attitude can still prevail after what we should have learned from the words of despots.

After Zakaria suggested that “we do not need to launch a third unilateral invasion” to “contain the problem of Iran,” Podhoretz reacted incredulously, muttering “God help us if we follow that counsel.” Watch it:

[Sorry, I was unsuccessful at embedding it. Go here to watch. CiJ]

Instead of resorting to “calling names” like Podhoretz, Zakaria responded to the substance of his argument, pointing out that “the idea that” Iran is “not going to be deterred by Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons, including a second strike capacity on submarines, is just fantasy.”
Podhoretz is right - Zakaria and Matt at Thinking Progress are wrong.

Obviously, Israel doesn't believe its purported "200 nuclear weapons, including a second strike capacity on submarines" are sufficient defense against Iran. So it continues to push to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Moreover, Ahmadinejad is neither the Soviet Union or North Korea. The difference between Ahmadinejad and those countries is that he believes that by causing the death of his own countrymen in order to destroy Israel, he can bring about the coming of the 12th Imam, the Muslim messiah if you will. A second-strike capability will not restrain Ahmadinejad at all.

And that is the biggest difference between Iran on the one hand and the Soviet and North Korean government on other other hand. Mutually Assured Destruction worked as a deterrent between the US and the Soviet Union in the 70's and 80's because both sides were rational actors who wished to prevent the death of their own people, even if it meant that they could not attack their rivals. Mahmadinejad's Iran is indifferent to the death of its own people.

A madman's words have to be taken at face value. The world made the mistake of not believing a madman's rantings and ravings in the 1930's. Six million Jews paid the price. We cannot let it happen again.


At 2:47 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Let me guess- Matt is a secular Jewish liberal.


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