Culture, Global, Politics

A New Cold War or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ahmadinejad

A long time ago, there was this thing called the Cold War. Two countries each had nuclear weapons to destroy their enemy along with the rest of Earth. However, for fifty years or so these two countries argued and fought and threatened and postured, but neither dropped a bomb. Why not? One famous theory is MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) In other words, since both the US and Russia knew that if either used nuclear weapons, they both would be destroyed, it wasn’t in anyone’s interest to use the weapons. For that MAD situation to occur, you had to have people on both sides of the border, which held power, and sent a message that they were crazy enough to destroy the world. That’s why for years you had American generals talking about the need to stop the Soviet threat (think Purity Of Essence) and you had Russian premiers banging their shoes on UN tables. Bottom line – no bomb, world’s still ticking.
Well, it seems that we here in the holy land are gearing up for our own cold war, and our own promises of mutually assured destruction. Everyone in Israel, and most everyone in the world knows by now that the president of Iran wants to destroy Israel. Now, Israel is making it clear that they are willing and able to do ‘everything in their means’ to fight back. So, that means that Robert Gates and Ehud Olmert ‘accidentally’ mention Israel’s nuclear capabilities. And, it also means that Israeli officers leak plans to use nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability. (reminds you of ‘first strike’ theories, don’t it?) Here’s a little tip you y’all at home. If you’re planning on attacking someone, there’s no need to let him know. Only reason you make this kind of information known, is if you don’t want it to happen.
Alright kiddies, relax about Iran blowing up Israel tomorrow, and relax about Israel finding yet another way to start World War III. It’s time to settle down to a nice new cold war. Think monster movies, tailfins, and everything else fifties, and just add a bit more chummus.

21 thoughts on “A New Cold War or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Ahmadinejad

  1. MAD is based on the assumption that both players are rational and whose desire to survive as their greatest priorities. I’m not so sure that can be said of the Iranian president.

  2. M, I think that’s exactly Sam’s point. There weren’t a whole lot of Soviet suicide bombers because they were rational enough to value existence over ideology. Ahmadinijinijinajinacrazyjad doesn’t seem to have that same sense of rationality.

  3. Frankly, Ahmadinejad seems perfectly rational to the Muffti. Any irrationality he displays in the public arena is comparable to Mussollini/Hitler who used apparent craziness as a way to get what they wanted at negotiating tables: a perfectly rational strategy.
    What worries hte Muffti, frankly, is who will come once he’s gone.

  4. Mufti, you are such an optimist. The Soviets never looked forward to receiving their rewards in heaven, more power and territory was
    their goal – the true believers in extremest Islam believe g-d will reward them for destroying Israel, with the 72 virgins and all that. What in Ahmad….’s personal history identifies him as other than a believer on a par with any of the suicide bombers?

  5. The “enemy” does not value life in quite the same way that “we” do? … Hmmm… I think I heard that one peddled somewhere else …

  6. Rationality on the stage of global power is based on the idea that gain out weighs the cost. Saddam, totally rational. Amamamamamamjjajajajda also rational. They both are bad people and evil and anti-everything we like, they are rational.
    Iran wants to be considered the counter balance to Israel and with the bomb they will be and with the perception they will be. Regardless of the number of idiots who are willing to strap bombs to themselves, you will never see the leaders charge up and make a bus go boom.
    The POLJ agrees with the Mufti.

  7. And think of this:
    How many fucking AWESOME movies came out of the Cold War?
    The Hunt for Red October, anyone? (yes, I know it was a book first)
    But more importantly, Rocky IV. Which, while not a good movie, was certainly an AWESOME one. Imagine it: Rocky VIII, in which an 80 year old Italian Stallion takes on Persian Thunder.
    I’m emailing Stallone about this.

  8. Nuke, Schmuke.
    All Iran has to do is keep smuggling arms to Hezbollah, Hamas, and that lot to achieve his stated goal. With US Aid to Israel cut in half by our “great friend” in the Whitehouse over the past 6 years, enough war will so weaken the Israeli infrastructure, that conventional weapons, lobbying for boycotts and divestment, and the usual array of propaganda will be sufficient to do the job without splitting a single atom.
    We would we do well to stop obsessing about the nukes and do more about the arms smuggling – a matter on which UNIFIL is doing its very best to interfere. Any time the IAF notices the smuggling that the French and Germans are doing their level best to ignore they papers get plastered with how the bad Israelis made threatening jesters at the good UNIFIL folk who would never hurt a fly.

  9. I was talking to my friend Kiarash, who is a native of Tehran, and whose family moved to Germany than the US to avoid being sucked into the army after the Revolution. When we were talking about Ahmedinejad a while back, and I was asking him why someone in the Guardian Council doesn’t tell him to shut his fucking trap before the Bush Admin. does something stupid, and he brought up a good point. When the council sits down and decides who CAN and CANNOT be eligible for the Presidential election the essentially chose Ahmedinejad (check the history, this lot LOVES fixing elections) specifically for the reason that he IS batshit nuts just they way the like it, in order to counter what they view as batshit nuts leadership in the worlds biggest power and their sworn enemy.
    My point is that Ahmedinejad is smart folks. The Mullahs are smart. They have a flagrant mouthpiece with VERY little actual power to “wipe Israel off the map” going around saying wild shit that he knows realistically can’t and won’t happen. And look at how the Admin. reacts…they puff their chests and start thinking about belligerent action against Iran, whilst Ahmedinejad accuses the U.S. of committing belligerent action (against Iraq, Afghanistan) and calling them out on some other pretty legitimate issues (preemptive strikes, human rights issues, nuclear issues, etc.) so that people actually forget that Iran has one of the worst human rights records in the region, which is saying something and has a history of supporting blatant acts of terrorism. Shit, no one cares for the most part! We have people at rallies in the U.S. and Europe waving Hezbollah flags and chastising Israel for it’s human rights issues.
    My point is, the best way to shut Ahmedinejad up is to take his legs out from under him. Cease the course of belligerent foreign policy, repair relations with the Sunni dominated middle east, and for the love of everything holy tell GW to shut the fuck up about Iran and aggression.
    Bleh, what a mess.

  10. In regards to the first few comments:, ie. “Except how many suicide bombers did MAD stop”
    It’s important to remember that MAD didn’t stop wars. Many, many people died during the cold war during all of the US and the Soviets proxy wars in southeast asia, afghanistan, the middle east, africa, latin america, and the like.
    And I think Elon has the point exactly of what I was trying to say. In order to achieve anything in this type of the wrold, you need to present a downright crazy attitude, otherwise no one will take you seriously. So, Iran makes threats, gets Israel all worried. ANd what does Israel do in return, it doesn’t actually attack Iran – because it’s scared, instead it makes crazy sounding threats, and even comes out of the nuclear closet. A world with scary people saying scary things is better than a world where your country is getting overthrown (that’s Iran’s t hought) or where you’r facing constant rocketing and war in your civilian population (that’s Israel’s thought: Israel is trying ot tell Iran that the crazier the stuff you do, the crazier we will react)

  11. And just how do you distinguish between the “pretend” crzzy and the “real” crazy. I wonder if you could find “realists” quoted from the 30’s saying Hitler was just play acting.

  12. I think one crucial point is being missed here. The real point of Israel “leaking” nuke threats is not, obviously, to “scare” Iran but rather to pressure the U.S. into attacking Iran for them – i.e. if George Bush and Co. don’t overthrow/destroy the Iranian regime, we’ll do something really insane, like nukes. And, tragically, this brinksmanship might work(it may even have the covert support of some in the current Administration; it undoubtedly has the support of the neo-con warmongers).

  13. I’m all for making light of insanity in order to stay sane.
    But this analysis misses the most important point: the nuclearization of the Middle East is the larger picture and the most important fact. This will be Bush’s legacy or our, daresay, cross to bear. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have declared in the last month that they will go nuclear. So while Dubya’s been playing out his daddy issues in Iraq, demonizing Iran, any “cold war” containtment model has been thrown out the window assuming Egypt and Saudi Arabia follow other stable countries like Pakistan and North Korea.
    But let’s no focus on little things like the tension bet. Sunnis and Shiites. And one the real shit goes down a decade or so from now, who thinks Israel will emerge unscathed?
    Hummus, shummus.

  14. Wow. Some shockingly naive posts, to say nothing of the original article. It would seem that we have learned absolutely nothing from Neville Chamberlain, and the comments regarding ‘hey, let’s just stop agressive foreign policy and all will be right with the world’ have left me shaking my head so vigorously that it may yet fall off if I’m not careful.
    Seems to me that, if we are looking for historical parallels, WWII is more applicable to the current situation and not the Cold War. I hate to have to reach for the Hitler analogies and/or parallelism with 1939, but history is indeed there to be studied and learned from. Hitler let the world know exactly what he thought of us well prior to 1939 and what he planned to do to fix the ‘problem’, yet the world still seemed shocked when the Allies liberated the camps.
    Look, this chap has said on more than one occasion that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. And now he has at least 50 centrifuges and could very well be enriching uraniuam sufficient enough to produce a deployable nuclear weapon by 2009. I’m not particulalry interested or keen to find out if he is prepared to carry out his threats. We cannot afford to take that risk, and I for one will shed no tears if the Iranian nuclear programme is eliminated.,,2089-2535310,00.html

  15. I don’t see how Matityahu can compare Iran to Hitler’s Germany. That defies common sense, history and reality.
    Just two weeks ago, Ahmad-psycho lost substantially in DEMOCRATIC elections in Iran. For a little history, Germany was, yes boys and girls, a fascist state and no, Iran is not. Yes, they have insane fundamentalists who want to destory Israel, but so does the rest of the Middle East. (as i’ve said before here, they also have a huge middle-class longing for change, buffered on both sides by reactinary classes, but nah, Muslims can’t be interested in the same “creative class” issues as us Jewschoolers).
    Screw it, nuc em all!!!! Poor little israel just might get burned a little. sound like neo-con. “military intelligence” again.

  16. Thanks for your lecture on ‘history’ Lewis. It always amuses me that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the leftist view of the world is automatically labelled a ‘neo-con’. Firstly, I don’t understand the label of ‘neo-con’ as the definition seems to shift based upon whatever world view the left is currently railing against. Secondly, I don’t ascribe to labels and was merely presenting the argument as I see it.
    As a student of history, my view is that there are far more parallels with WWII than with the Cold War as events relate to Iran. You may not share that view, and hey…good for you. I live ever so slightly closer to Iran here in the UK, so please do forgive me if this incovenient fact colours my analysis. I don’t for a moment doubt Iran’s desire to lob nuclear weapons into Israel, and I also don’t doubt their sponsorship of domestic terrorism in the UK. I’d really prefer that this chap not have access to nuclear weapons which could find their way on the Tube, thanks very much.
    It may interest you to know that Hitler was brought to power in 1933 through democratic elections, but this fact may be inconvenient to your desire to school me in all things Lefty. Indeed, it could be argued that the German people brought Hitler to power as they were seeking a ‘strongman’ to lead them back from the embarassment of WWI. That he was a raving lunatic bent on destruction was overlooked, perhaps. Sound familiar?

  17. Hitler was not brought to power by democratic elections. He grabbed power in a putsch, because the weak chancellor let him take over the parliament and void the elections.
    In your post you blame Israel for Achmadinijad’s nuclear ambitions and for enabling this “cold war.” Given that A. has been making these threats against Europe as well, and given that Rafsanjani said the same thing in 2003, and that Iran has been trying to run the Middle East at least since 1979 — why not blame the guy who is actually doing it?
    One more example fo the left having to blame the US and Israel for everything instead of the real actors. Like they have no motivations of their own, which objectifies them and makes them a manipulatible symbol for your agendas, instead of real people. Looks racist to me.
    Maybe Hitler was “crazy” but he did do what he did. “Crazy” doesn’t mean you can’t do a lot of damage, rather the opposite.

  18. Thanks Mobius for the character defense. But, I think yehudit missed the point. I am not blaming Israel for Ahmadinjad’s actions. They’re his actions, he’s responsible for them. The Iranian people are responsible for electing and supporting him. I was jusst trying to dissect Israel’s strange policy in the past few weeks, of “talking loudly and carrying a whiffle bat.”

  19. I’ve enjoyed this debate and want to respond to Matityahu pigeon-holing me as subscribing to some “Leftist” view of history. Since I don’t know anyone personally and don’t feel comfortable being labeled (in the same way I’m arguing that there is no ONE, TOTAL, MONOLITTHIC IRAN, when in fact, like every modern, globalized society, it’s incredibly diverse, complicated, and heterogeneous), I don’t consider myself a leftist. On cultural values, I find myself becoming more conservative in terms of criticizing the “left” for their avoidance of a spiritual discussion and their embrace of the “consumer go[o]ds of all things Web 2.0, now 3.0.” On military matters, I consider myself a pragmatist, fully support Israel’s right to defend itself and take unilateral action.
    What I find emblematic of one strain of neo-conservatism is this simplistic binary opposition between us and them, freedom fighters/axis of evil, good guys/bad guys. This logic is incredibly dangerous and ignore the basic fact of our world: that there are multiple networks of social agents, in the same society, at tension with each other, excluding and including at the same time. If people haven’t read George Packer’s NEW YORKER article “Knowing the Enemy” on the importance of a network analysis when fighting terrorism, I highly recommend it. It’s particularly powerful when talking how CIA analysts have determined that Bin Ladin added some environmental concerns to his list of grievances in ’04 to directly hurt Kerry and “scare” Americans into the simply “us/them” binary and support Bush.
    Thus, to return to the point at hand, I am most interested in what actions Israel, as a Jew, and the US, as a citizen, can take to contain Iran and prevent further nuclearization. I don’t deny that some people in Iran have a “desire to lob nuclear weapons to Israel.” Unfortunately, so do some people in Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. The Bush policies have increased the nihilistic, radical fundamentalist Islamic camps across the Middle East. Iran certainly has been the leader in challenging the US’s hegemony, and Israel itself, for the last two decades. But we can only focus on the present.
    It’s not just access to big nuclear weapons on the Tube that’s scary, but as the whole Russian diplomat “nuclear” assasination thing showed, most likely, it’ll be larger dirty bombs that hit Europe, and maybe the US. Meanwhile, we’ll be back to the present: how can we empower the democratic forces within Iran society, contain the fundamentalists strain and not exacerbate the fucking messy present day?
    I’m for a big stick AND pubilc, intelligent diplomacy.

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