Wednesday, July 19, 2006

“No one who believes he has anything to gain from war will be deterred by fear” - Hermocrates of Syracuse

Hermocrates’ words are very important to remember as we consider what to do about Iran. The cable news networks are frequented by various former ambassadors, foreign policy “analysts”, and Mideast “experts” who call for cease fires, agreed frameworks, conferences, anything and everything to keep the jaw-jaw going and prevent war-war. The first thing to consider is that as even the ancient Greeks understood, when one nation (or leader as the case may be) wants a war, they (he) will get a war whether we like it or not.

The next thing to consider is what would Iran gain from a war with America and Israel? The answer is, of course, many things. The Islamic regime is intensely unpopular in Iran. Unlike many of the TV commentators, I don’t think it’s possible to know which way the Persian people will go in the event of a war. There are good arguments both ways, but Ahmadinejad probably believes they will come back to the regime in the event of a war. The first half of this
article is a good summation of Ahmadinejad’s basic strategic beliefs. They boil down to Iran will reshape the Middle East into a new Islamic Achaemenid Empire, and either America will run away and accept this, or America will be fought and forced to accept it. Whatever happens in this world view, America will be laid low by Ahmadinejad the Great. War brings Ahmadinejad stability at home, empire abroad, and eternal glory. Who would let a trifle thing like war dissuade them?

Even when not including the messianic mission Ahmadinejad may believe he is on, there is more than enough to gain from war in his eyes to cause him to be unswayed by fear of what America may do. No amount of bluster or talks will stop Ahmadinejad from his appointed task. American threats are worth as much to him as Iranian promises are to us. He wants a war; nothing will keep him from getting it.


  1. Assuming he is even in charge and not the Mullahs, Ahmadinejad may simply be insane.

  2. Thanks for another comment, I almost missed it because it was an older post.

    Yeah, that's always a possibility. From what I've been able to gather that was the case initially. Like all Iranian presidents he had little power. Unlike the prior presidents he has a firm base in the Basij and Pasdaran which has been used to expand his influence into the middle levels of government by replacing various officials with military cronies. Apparently this along with his 12th imam fantasies has caused a rift to devleop with the ayatollahs but of course who knows for sure.

    It would seem to me he is not doing the ayatollahs bidding since Khatami and Rafsanjani were both ayatollahs men. They knew how to play the Europeans and, I'm sad to say, us like fools to get what they wanted. I also wouldn't think they are as big on twelver messianism since that essentially means they have no reason to exist. At any rate, however much power Ahmadinejad holds in the government, I would think it is enough to start a war if he wanted. If that is the case and he does want a war, he will have it regardless of what we or Israel do (well unless one of us nukes Iran of course, but I don't see that happening).