Friday, October 20, 2006

Hey! I'm Insane, Too!

Sensing the world's attention focused on North Korea's Kim Jong Il, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has issued a warning to Europe, reminding us that Kim Jong Il is not the only rabidly crazy world leader.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned Europe that it may pay a heavy price for its support of Israel.

"You should believe that this regime (Israel) cannot last and has no more benefit to you. What benefit have you got in supporting this regime, except the hatred of the nations?" he said in nationally broadcast speech Friday.

"We have advised the Europeans that the Americans are far away, but you are the neighbors of the nations in this region," he said.
Does he really expect us to believe that Israel is the reason for this hatred? Or the hatred of the Middle East?


I think Steven Den Beste, back when he was writing on USS Clueless, exposed the real reason for the resentment and seemingly white hot fury aimed at the Western World. From his article written on 1 Aug 2002:
The problem is that Americans permit freedom of religion; Islam is tolerated and even celebrated here, along with many other religions. We certainly are making no important attempts to suppress it. But it doesn't seem to be dominating, and there's no sign that their attitudes are affecting us in any significant way. On the other hand, American ideas and attitudes are infiltrating their own societies and eating away at the foundation of Islamic practice. We offer things which are attractive to individuals, and they find them irresistible. Their young people want to wear blue-jeans. They want to listen to loud music. They like the idea of dating one another, just like young people do in the west. To reactionary Islamic zealots, it's not just that they don't seem to be spreading the faith, but that the faith is being eaten alive by a sinful attraction to our heathen ways. Islam is actually in retreat. It can't even be secure in its own nations, let alone try to take over ours.

The Q'uran also tells them that their nations should be powerful and important, and there was a time when it was true. The golden age of the Islamic empire was glorious. It also ended 600 years ago, and these days the reality is that the only reason that Saudi Arabia isn't a terribly impoverished third world nation is that it's sitting on reserves of oil. But among the Islamic nations, the only ones who have managed to succeed at anything other than selling natural resources have been those which have adopted western ways, western technology, western attitudes. The more devoutly Islamic a nation is, the more it seems to be a failure in all other ways. To be devout should mean being strong, but it seems to make them weak. It's almost as if the Q'uran was wrong – but the Q'uran cannot be wrong; it's the word of God.

So we (you and I) are a living, walking, talking heresy. We're not even trying to spread our culture to the Islamic nations; it just happens on its own because, quite frankly, they are not very fun places to live. Irrespective of whether a devout Islamic life might be good for the soul, it's boring and unpleasant for the body and mind. The people there prefer our lifestyle; they eagerly seek it out. We seem to have no interest at all in their culture, however, except as an intellectual curiosity. There's zero chance of American women adopting the abaya, for example.
In summary, we are an affront to their entire world-view. We are infidels, but worse than that we are prosperous and happy infidels with no desire to convert to the correct religion. And our prosperity is contagious. The hard-liners resent and fear this. The corruption, as they see it, of their culture is a deadly threat and they work tirelessly to eliminate its cause.


So when Iran says that our support of Isreal will cause a backlash, I say how can that be any worse than things stand now? Ahmadinejad's impetus is similar to Kim Jon Il's. He's simply being more subtle about it. His goal is to maneuver the situation so that the fear of the Middle East will soften or reduce the impact of any sanctions imposed by the UN over their nuclear program. North Korea was a wake-up call for the UN. It showed that a hard stance is needed at the outset, with tough sanctions that actually have teeth.

This is the last thing Iran wants or needs. After all this bluster and posturing, he stands to lose enormous face in the Middle East if the Western world manages to effectively castrate his nuclear program.

But this is exactly what we need to do. Ahmadinejad has shown that he is not the most... emotionally stable of world leaders. I truly fear what would happen if he manages to join the club of nuclear powers.

Do I think that Iran would bootstrap their program from energy production to weapons production?

Yes, I do. I also think that these weapons will end up in the hands of extremists. Iran has already shown it's willingness to arm terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah with large scale munitions and weapons.

It's time to make a stand.