Powered by WebAds

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Iran won't just 'be sensible'

Melanie Phillips on why Iran won't just come to its senses.
Some think its belated show of strength is just sabre-rattling in a US presidential year. This is unlikely. What’s much more likely is that the west is putting on a show of strength to show Iran that the west ‘really, really means it’ in order to get Iran to ‘come to its senses’.

To which there are three points to make. First, this is all far, far too late. Tough sanctions that would really hurt Iran were being urged years ago, when some of us started warning that Iran’s nuclear programme simply had to be stopped before the situation became dangerously out of control – and were derided as ‘neo-con war-mongers’ for our efforts.

Nothing was done; the UK and EU vaguely wrung their hands and shook the occasional fist; while for his part, Obama advertised US weakness by extending his hand in friendship to the Iranian regime which at the time was busy blowing up American and coalition soldiers in Iraq. Obama’s catastrophic strategy gave the Iranian regime the one thing it needed above all else – time to bring its infernal nuclear programme to fruition. And now we read – surprise, surprise – that the regime has built at Fordow a secret nuclear plant inside a mountain where it is presumed to be impervious to bombing raids.

Second, even these tougher sanctions are likely to be ineffective as they will be circumnavigated by Russia, China and others. And in any event, what exactly is the outcome the west hopes that sanctions will bring about? That Iran shuts down its centrifuges, locks the doors on its nuclear plants and promises it won’t open them ever again and that the IAEA inspectors can set up monitoring stations at Fordow, Natanz and all the other secret nuclear locations which it will now make available for international inspection? Does anyone seriously believe that’s a realistic proposition? And if not that, then what, precisely?

But third, the deeper problem is the west’s assumption that the Iranian regime is capable of ‘coming to its senses’ – its assumption that these are rational actors who ultimately will act in their own interest. Few in the west understand that, on the contrary, the Iranian regime is impervious to reason. Educated, intelligent and cunning they may be – but they are religious fanatics driven by an entirely different set of considerations. That’s what makes this situation so terrifying.


What really threatens to bring the west to its knees is its own cultural hubris. Refracting everything in the world through the prism of its unshakeable faith in universal reason, it is incapable of recognising or understanding religious fanaticism – and insists instead upon treating the fanatic as a rational actor. Ironically, it is this belief in reason which has led the west to behave so irrationally in refusing to acknowledge the evidence of the mortal threat to itself posed by Iran -- and that there is no alternative to force if it is to be stopped. And now, alas, we’re about to discover the consequences.
Read the whole thing.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home