Tuesday, June 06, 2006

If Only Juan Cole Were Right About Iran 

I find myself a little surprised to say this, but I kind of wish Juan Cole were right in his analysis of the true level of Iran's nuclear threat.

The US media presented only a snippet from the speech of Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei of Iran on Sunday, in which he threatened to damage oil supplies to the West if the US militarily attacked Iran. He did say that, but he also announced that Iran had no intention of striking first, had not attacked and would not attack another country, and that it has no nuclear weapons program and does not want a nuclear bomb. I didn't hear any of those statements reported on television.
Who wouldn't want to be reassured that the growing concerns about Iran is just much Zionist ado about nothing, and that the Ayatollahs and Apocalyptic Presidential Prophets-in-Waiting are little more than harmless peaceniks who only want to be left alone to terrorize their own population and pose no threat to anyone else. How can I -- myself merely an amateur would-be Zionist world overlord -- complain when all Professor Cole asks is that people consider the full text of the Ayatollah's speeches rather than just the scary parts we bloggerbots would foist upon an innocent and unsuspecting population?

Well, since I am a Zionist dad who is raising his kids at the literal ground zero of this evolving nuclear crisis, maybe I should take Professor Cole's advice and look at more of the speech. Maybe if I study some of the sections Professor Cole has highlighted from the Ayatollah's peace-loving words, it will lead me to a deep and restful place of perfect inner peace and submission. Why not? So let's take a quick look at some of Professor Cole's favorite parts of the Ayatollah's speech and see what we learn:

To say that no country has the right to have access to nuclear technology means that in 20 years' time, all of the countries of the world will have to beg certain Western or European countries to meet their energy demands. They will have to beg for energy in order to run their lives. Which country, nation, or honest official is ready to take that?
Ok. Of course for the sake of peace we are going to ignore for a moment that this state of begging for energy is precisely what the Ayatollah envisions for the West. The rest of his point is a very intriguing wall of smoke that couldn't possibly conceal anything behind it if a history Professor thinks it doesn't.

Since most of us lack the Professor's omniscience, it would be helpful if he would remind us who exactly has claimed that "no country has the right to have access to nuclear technology." I'm sure George Bush must have yelled that out once or twice in the throes of a red-meat fever dream, but I just can't seem to find the quote. Of course some would have you believe countries that have carried on clandestine nuclear activity for decades in contravention of their Non-Proliferation Treaty responsibilities should have to deal with the fact that they will have to clear some trust-building hurdles before they are allowed the same nuclear lattitude as, say, Pakistan or India. But don't believe the hype. Juan Cole and the Ayatollah see right through that load of hooey. The fact that Iran preemptively rejects every reasonable compromise aimed at allowing them nuclear energy without nuclear bombs should be enough to build that necessary level of renewed trust, since what country intent on seeking nuclear weapons would be dumb enough to make it that obvious?

"The American and Zionist propagandists say Iran is a threat to the world. This is the second issue. Iran is not a threat to any country and everyone knows this fact about Iran. We have not threatened neighbouring countries. We have friendly and brotherly ties with all the countries of the region. Our government has healthy and good relations with European countries.
Professor Cole highlights for our attention the Ayatollah's claim that Iran is not a threat to any country. Presumably he does so with an historian's confidence that if this were a bald-faced lie, he would be able to detect it. So we will take the statement at face value for the moment. I can then only conclude we are being taught that a proper professorial study of any world leader's statements must be carried out in the complete absence of any context from other statements by that nation's leadership. Otherwise the truth of the Ayatollah's peaceful claims would be distorted and obscured by irrelevant statements made recently by the Ayatollah's Foreign Minister, that there is "no such country as Israel." If one fixated on that statement too much, it might lead the non-historian to believe that the Ayatollah was only carefully threatening entities which he considered not to be countries.

This is certainly not the case. Don't listen either to detractors who try to muddy the peaceful waters with President Ahmadinejad's seemingly threatening words either. Remember that at the same time Ahmadinjad threatened to wipe Israel from the map he also threatened the termination of the United States. Since the United States is clearly a country, at least for the moment, and since the Ayatollah promised never to threaten a country, logically this must mean Ahmadinejad's statement is untrue, or at least spoken out of the side of the mouth that must be ignored by the historically sophisticated.

And don't make the amateurish mistake of hyperventilating about the literal use of the word "neighboring" just because the so-called Israel is not an actual neighbor of Iran -- as if the Ayatollah is some sort of evasive Clintonesque witness under oath on the stand. Please.

Their other issue is [their assertion] that Iran seeks [a] nuclear bomb. It is an irrelevant and wrong statement, it is a sheer lie. We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary.
Here Professor Cole wants us reassured that the Ayatollah has very rationally decided not to pursue nuclear weapons after carefully considering each and every itemized cost associated with possessing them. Obviously this decision is a marvelous coincidence we all hope continues until eternity, that the Ayatollah never in the future revises his evaluation about the costs of building and maintaining nukes being necessary. In the meantime, Iran will not "seek" the bomb nor does it "need" or "aspire" to one. Should Allah choose to bring this about of his own merciful will, well, who is going to question the will of Allah? Until then, the Ayatollah and Ahmadinejad can see how far they get with nuclear extortion and blackmail and anything short of the use of an actual nuke, at least until they somehow have one. At which point the necessity of the cost of maintaining nukes might be more readily apparent. But let's not worry about that now, while words of peace still tickle our earlobes.

In order to threaten Iran, you (America) say that you can secure energy flow in the region. You are wrong. Beware that if you make the slightest mistake about Iran, the energy flow through this region will be seriously in danger. (Chants of slogan, God is great, Khamene'i is our leader, death to America)
Professor Cole is more aware than the rest of us of the traditional use of "death to America" chants as a mantra of peace, intended only to express vigorous approval of loud and angry religious rhetoric that isn't really supposed to be translated into English.

We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any government. We have a high aspiration and we will use all our energy to reach it. That aspiration is to build an Iran which provides this nation with moral and material prosperity.
It is reassuring to know that all of the moral aspirations of the Iranian government can be reached without starting a war. If those aspirations involve blockading critical energy flows or threatening nuclear annihilation of a nearby non-country entity until one of the threatened parties strikes first, well, it's then a matter for the historians to conclude that it was those other parties who started the war. Professor Cole indeed has a nose for highlighting the truth, or at least the potential truth.

So, to quickly summarize Professor Cole's wisdom in bullet points even historically illiterate, foaming-at-the-mouth Zionist bloggers can absorb:
As a resident of the non-neighboring, non-country entity in question, I now breathe a symbolic sigh of relief and gratitude for the Professor's wisdom at exposing me to the Ayatollah's true words of peace while not mentioning any other words which would distract me from my peaceful stupor.

Wake me if I suddenly become radioactive.

If you really, really liked this -- or even really, really hated it -- there's lots more: