Barry Posen is a professor of Political Science at MIT. In this op-ed in the NYT today he explains why a nuclear Iran will not really be a threat. Obviously his years in the ivory tower of academia has softened his brain.
Iranian nuclear weapons could be put to three dangerous purposes: Iran could give them to terrorists; it could use them to blackmail other states; or it could engage in other kinds of aggressive behavior on the assumption that no one, not even the United States, would accept the risk of trying to invade a nuclear state or to destroy it from the air. The first two threats are improbable and the third is manageable.
He goes on to explain why he comes to that conclusion. But I don’t find it very convincing.
Underlying all his assumptions is the belief, an article of faith in liberal circles, that the Iranian government wants the same things that we do. That the foremost concern of Iranian leaders is the peaceful, prosperous life for all their people. He seems to forget that Iran is ruled by a group of religious fanatics who allow the pretense of a civil government but who actually hold all the power. The Iranian President is a radical that was selected by the Mullahs and elected fairly after the mullahs disallowed any real opposition. That may be representative government in Jimmy Carterland but not to me.
They want the same things as we do, if what we want is to destroy the “Infidel” and if we were willing to strap bomb belts on our children to accomplish this.
The 9/11 Commission Report left a lot to be desired. But one finding was squarely on target. They found that much of the failure to prevent 9/11 could be traced back to “a failure of imagination“. To Mr. Posen the thought of a nuclear armed Iran presenting a threat to us is unimaginable. So he doesn’t.