Sonntag, Februar 05, 2006

Growing a pair...

Well, it seems that a German politician of note has finally understood the threat. This politician has finally grown a pair.

Well, on consideration, perhaps she's grown a backbone instead.

While I don't necessarily see war as imminent, we are definitely in a pre-war situation that has all the potential of developing into a major conflict. It's not a conflict that Iran can actually win: for them, winning would be for the West to adopt dhimmitude as a way of life.

The question is whether it actually comes to military conflict. Let's play a review of the run-up to WW2: Germany occupies the Saar, Allies do not react. Germany pushes for the end to Czechoslovakia; the Allies, in order to avoid a war, appease the Germans (Munich). Germany then annexes Austria, who jumps at the chance to the eternal shame of the nation; since this was accompanied by a plebescite, it's "OK", even though Austria under the Treaty of Versailles was never to join up with Germany in a political or military union again.

So in the name of peace, in the name of avoiding the war necessary to ensure international treaties and to ensure that a violent ideology not grow stronger, those who wanted war were able to prepare in peace to commit violence never seen before.

This is the problem facing the West today: the appeasers are here today, exquisitely trained and educated, nuanced beyond anyone's wildest imaginations, appeasing an enemy that has no considerations for education and nuances, but is rather interested in expanding ignorance and enforcing behavior by threat of death. In other words, the appeasers, the intellegentsia of the West, in their nuanced understanding of history and the human psyche, fails to understand simple and thuggish behavior that seeks not to argue and convince, but rather demands blunt and blind obedience to a scripture that brooks no discussion, no differentiation and no criticism.

So we're in a pre-war phase. The question is when the West will realize this and start to react.

The next question is what can be done: the answers are getting more and more difficult as time goes on, because the options are shrinking as Iran moves closer and closer to getting at least a container bomb. I fear they are not that far away from this. For those who would point out that many analysts say that it will take many years before Iran is that far along, let us remember what these analysts are actually saying, which is that it will take that long for Iran to weaponize their bombs to the point that they will fit on their rockets. That's not the threat, nor is that the problem: the problem is that Iran doesn't need to weaponize in order to use their bombs: getting them to fit inside of a standard shipping container is enough to open the threat of covert delivery and detonation, which fits the Iranian modus operandi much better than waiting 10 years for them to weaponize. It's an illusion of the West that only nukes on missiles mean anything: what is important for Iran is the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon in order to destroy Israel if the West doesn't make Israel go away. That, at the end of the day, is what Iran wants, for Israel to simply "go away." That's what they've demanded, that the Europeans solve the problem that they've created (let's ignore the absurdity of this for the time being) and make Israel go away, to disappear from the maps.

What will the West then do when Iran tests a bomb in March of 2006? And then puts up an ultimatum demanding exactly this? That is the point where it's going to be very hard to not either kill large numbers of Iranians, either conventionally or with nuclear weapons. Would Israel, faced with a nuclear-armed Iran, with the potential of a second holocaust, really hesitate to do the regrettable, of ensuring that Iran never be able to make its threats come true?

We're not talking the oh-so-lovely theoretical world of the calculus of nuclear deterrence, but rather an existential question of survival. We've seen how Iran has clearly stated that Israel can be destroyed and any return attack would perhaps damage Islam, but never destroy it. Is Iran bluffing? Is Israel willing to commit mass death in order to prevent its own destruction?

Personally, I have no answers to the problems: all I see are options dwindling away. Just as before WW2, no one in the West wants the war. It's the other side that does. The tragedy is that by trying to avoid a war, actions by the West, persuading Islamists that they have nothing to fear, have brought us to the position where the options are dwindling. Dwindling options are never the way to avoid wars, but makes them more likely as polticians lose their ability to manage crises, especially when one side wants the conflict, is demanding the conflict, believes that the conflict is not only necessary but, like the Marxists of the SovUnion, absolutely necessary.

And yes, Germany has an especially critical role to play. The sins of the past - and they are many - can be in part be started to be redeemed when the Germans do the right thing: what they must do is to to be righteous among nations. This means nothing less than simply doing the right thing, regardless of what the costs might be: of saving lives where the astute thing to do would have been to let evil reign.

And here's a further link underscoring the seriousness of the situation: on the second page, de Borchgrave points out that we may well be facing someone with whom deterrence doesn't work.

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