The leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said earlier this week that the Iranian nation has never sought and will never seek nuclear weapons.
This came only a few weeks after another religious leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, said that Iran already has nuclear weapons and the United States have been too blind to see it.
Schizophrenia? You bet. The Iranian government is in a panic mode. It knows it is not strong enough to defend successfully against an American attack. On the other side, it knows it can not afford to speak as if it is weak – it will affect the morale of their own military and of their own people. So the Iranian leaders are frantically searching for the right combination of aggressiveness and restraint. As a recently declassified intelligence report by the Pentagon says, the Iranian government is focused on one strategic goal: its own survival. Hence all the self-contradictory and chaotic utterances by its leaders.
But which claims by the Iranian leaders should be taken seriously and which not? And can one really build an assessment of the real strength or intentions of the Iranian government based on a plethora of schizophrenic and arbitrary declarations? There must be other standards for assessment than the words of the Ayatollahs about themselves.
The experts on foreign policy and the intelligence experts have agreed so far that Iran’s self-contradictory claims must be taken as a sign of weakness. And therefore the conclusion is that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon, and has no intentions of doing so. US intelligence specialists have said it many times. Israeli intelligence chiefs have said it. And recently even Ehud Barak, the Defense Minister of Israel, said it in an interview. Iran, for all their propaganda, is harmless, as far as nuclear weapons are concerned. (Which doesn’t mean they don’t try to support terrorism. So does North Korea, by the way, and so do the American allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.)
But these are the experts. The amateurs in the Republican Party have a different idea. Their assessment of Iran is not based on any objective evidence but only on their desire to start some war, somewhere. (They don’t plan to fight in that war, nor send their children to fight in it. Chickenhawks, anyone?) In the light of that desire, only those declarations of the Iranian government which say that Iran has nuclear weapons are accepted as valid and true: “See, we told you. They want to have nuclear weapon to blow up the world.” When an Iranian Ayatollah says the opposite – like Khamenei above – it is not a valid and true statement. It must be taken to mean the opposite: “See, he denies it. It means they must have a nuclear weapon or they are trying to make one.” Either way, whether Iran says they have it or they don’t and never tried to have it, the conclusion is the same. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Amateurs, after all, never rely on common sense or professional experience. That’s why they are amateurs. They don’t understand Iran, they don’t understand Islam, they don’t understand the technological abilities of Islam, they don’t understand why the Ayatollahs are saying what they are saying. And they don’t try to understand. Who needs understanding when there is an agenda to be promoted?
But this lack of understanding may lead us to another war, in addition to the ones we already have. And it may lead to even more loss of Constitutional liberties for us here, in the US. And it may lead to more government debt and insolvency. And to more unemployment, and recession, and inflation. And to the final demise of this great nation.
It’s time to kick the amateurs out of politics. And return to the ideals of our Founding Fathers.