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.