Saturday, February 04, 2006

Deconstructing nuclear equivalence

A statement often heard by leftists goes along the lines of "why shouldn't Iran have nuclear weapons? America and Israel have them!"

Lee Harris shows why this is flawed reasoning.

There is an important law about power that is too often overlooked by rational and peace-loving people. Any form of power, from the most primitive to the most mind-boggling, is always amplified enormously when it falls into the hands of those whose behavior is wild, erratic, and unpredictable. A gun being waved back and forth by a maniac is far more disturbing to us than the gun in the holster of the policeman, though both weapons are equally capable of shooting us dead. And what is true of guns is far more true in the case of nukes.
Even in a world where every nation possessed the same nuclear arsenal, those nations with the most bellicose and unpredictable leaders would still have the power to blackmail other nations simply because they could convince the rest of the world that they were actually willing to do the unthinkable, and to risk nuclear war. The Swiss could not pull off such an act of blackmail, because no one would believe them capable of carrying out their threat; but the Iranians, under Ahmadinejad, could.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a populist demagogue of quite exceptional talent who has instinctively grasped the law of power that so many in the West have forgotten: Just as it is the squeaking wheel that gets the oil, it is the shrieking madman who gets his way.


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