Are Western Leaders Stupid or Malicious in Letting Iran Go Nuclear?

There are only two ways of making sense of such apparent myopia and stupefaction. We can chalk up such self-defeating behavior to the perennial human disposition to pretend that a crisis we do not know how to handle isn’t really that critical and will somehow filigree for the best. This tendency has been aggravated of late, to quote Peter Sloterdijk in Terror from the Air, as “modernity’s campaign against the self-evident.” Or, no less saliently, we deduce that nobody can be that stupid and posit an ulterior design that comes to fruition through deception and misdirection.

In other words, our political Illuminati may cherish a shadowy blueprint of which the rest of us are obligingly ignorant. Daniel Pipes makes a similar point in his 1997 book Conspiracy, where he refers to the “double doctrine” of the Illuminati, namely, “that the rank and file learn of anodyne goals, while the supérieurs inconnus know the organization’s true, and quite different, inner secrets.” We happen to know who our supérieurs are but we may not know their goals. And it is at least tenable that those of us who are suspicious of the professed aims of our political masters may not be suffering from galloping paranoia.

I am now beginning to suspect that this second alternative may well be the agenda furtively in play. If the Palestinians, the Syrians, and Hezbollah fail to do the job of reducing Israel to inconsequence, Iran remains the default option. I am coming to believe that the actual strategy at work in the official European and Western mind may be to encourage by every covert means, including endlessly protracted and fruitless negotiations, a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran, thus getting rid of the perpetual nuisance which is Israel, appeasing the Arab world, and moving in to rebuild a devastated Iran for eventual, unencumbered oil and trade. The loss in immediate economic advantage would be offset in spades by future economic gains.

This scenario would explain why Israel has been repeatedly warned against initiating a preemptive attack on the Iranian nuclear sites, why an Iraq overflight by the IAF has been turned down, and why the Israeli request for the sophisticated military assets and hardware it would need to facilitate the mission has not been granted. This in the teeth of the manifest insanity of the mullahcracy, its theological conviction in the imminent return of the Hidden Imam who brings a universal conflagration with him, its development of long-range solid-fuel missiles, and its threat to visit nuclear holocaust upon the Jewish state. Our only hope is that the Israelis will nevertheless find a way to neutralize Iran’s nuclear factories and, once again, do not only themselves but the world a favor, as in 1981 when they bombed Saddam’s Osirak reactor and in 2007 when they demolished Syria’s al-Kibar nuclear installation. But their hands are being tied by the Western powers for whom Iran looks like it has become the discretionary accomplice, the recourse of choice.

It is no secret that a nuclear attack upon tiny Israel would either annihilate it totally or at the very least render it a non-factor on the world stage for any foreseeable future. But as Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the orgulous Iranian Expediency Discernment Council, has stated, Iran is sufficiently large and populous to survive the harm inflicted by an Israeli second strike and the Islamic world could well absorb the damage. Moreover, from the Western perspective, a nuclear convulsion in the Middle East would remain localized and the cost in world panic and plummeting markets, as I have suggested, would be gradually amortized by the removal of Israel and by a severely weakened Iran, thereby killing a gadfly and crippling a pterodactyl with one stony policy. I, for one, do not think a nuclear firestorm could be so easily contained. But for our political elites, scheming and devising in camera, it would be a calculated risk presumably worth pursuing, clearing the decks for a “new world order.”

Unlikely? Nightmaring in Technicolor? Think again. On the face of it, these are not stupid people and it is almost inconceivable that European and Western heads of state, government officials, plenipotentiaries, and diplomats could be so blindly unaware that this is the destination toward which their policies, decisions, and enactments are inevitably leading. Such a terminus should be glaringly obvious to even the most frivolous and inattentive of observers and certainly to anyone who has studied the tactics, statements, religious culture, and actions of the Iranian regime.

Historian of religion Emmanuel Sivan warns of precisely this danger in Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics, a discussion of Shi’a belief and thought. In what is known as Twelver Shi’ite theology, God’s kingdom is to be brought upon earth by the Twelfth or Hidden Imam (or Mahdi), and “one should help precipitate its descent” (emphasis mine). The mullahs’ intention may well be to provoke the Mahdi’s arrival by kindling an act of apocalyptic violence, and Ayatollah Rafsanjani, as mentioned above, has no compunction against starting the nuclear ball rolling -- even if his plan is only limited to Israel. Why is it so difficult to connect the dots that literally speckle both the Shi’a scripture and the geopolitical map? Unless, of course, I am wrong and our political authorities are indeed stupid people, abusing by their irresponsibility and obtuseness the positions to which they have been elected or appointed.

Our leaders, naturally, would vehemently object to this allegation of complicity in disaster, discounting it as merely unwarranted hyperbole, conspiracy mongering, blatant cynicism, or outright defamation. The reply to their indignation can be found in Matthew 7:20: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Both explanations for current policy that I have put forward may appear implausible; notwithstanding, one of them must be right. In any case, should the event come to pass, we will all pay, whether for our leaders’ stupidity or for their canniness. Perhaps we are the stupid ones. After all, we put them there.