Iran’s Madman Strategy Posted by: Jon Henke
on Thursday, April 20, 2006
I think a great deal of Iran's current geopolitical stance (read: Ahmadinejad's rhetorical excess) can be summed up by Richard Nixon's "Madman Strategy". Via Sadly, No!, I find Nixon's explanation...
''I call it the madman theory, Bob," Richard Nixon said to Robert Haldeman. [...] ''I want the North Vietnamese to believe," he went on, ''that I've reached the point that I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can't restrain him when he's angry, and he has his hand on the nuclear button, and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace."
But what if they're serious!
Well, that's possible. On the other hand, they know exactly what they're doing, so it's also entirely possible that keeping the United States either (a) off-balance, or (b) excessively militant serves the purposes of the Iranian regime. In which case, the sharp divisions between Left and Right and the militant rhetoric pouring from the Right are only helping the Iranian regime.
A few months ago, I suggested that "Crazy is a Strategy" for Iran and that they may also be pursuing their current course for one of two reasons...
...using the proximity of Iranian nuclear ascencion and apparent irrationality to angle for better concessions from the EU and the United States, or...
...trying to provoke an Israeli preemption, so Iran can respond.
In the first case, the regime would be internally strengthened by being seen as having forced concessions from the EU and US, and externally strengthened (presumably) by the security guarantees and easing of tensions that would go along with those concessions.
In the second case, Iran would be able to make a clear case against Israel for aggression — and might even be able to swing a military response. The regime would be strengthened internally by a common enemy, and strengthened externally by the rallying affect their martyrdom would have within the Muslim world. Internal or external attacks on Iran would be perceived as equivalent to support of Israel — clearly verboten in the Muslim world, even among those who don't want Iran to have the bomb.
I’m glad somebody dug up Reid’s old diatribe about not going it alone in the Iraq build up. I vaguely remembered that he had said something like that, so his current "We’re relying too much on others" tack set off my BDS alarm.
Honest to goodness, I think if Bush held a news conference tomorrow and said that eating elephant dung was bad for you, Reid and Pelosi would be munching elephant dung the next day and insisting that it was good for you.
The Iranian leadership collectively and individually don’t have the same view of war and casualties that we do. To understand the Iranian idea of warfare, all you have to do is to look at the way they wage war.
(1) Consider the human wave tactics that they employed against Iraq. The casualty figures were astounding.
(2) Consider the propaganda that is spewed daily - hourly - from their official press organs and repeated by their leadership. They are not only are okay about dying in order to kill a few Jews or Americans, but they actively seek this.
(3) Consider that Rafsanjani (a "moderate") called for a nuclear war against Israel several years ago. He sees a global competition between Muslims and Jews, and thinks that to wipe out a few million Jews, killing a few million Muslims would be acceptable, because the damage to the Ummah would be proportionately less. This IS insane - and it is the thinking of the whole corrupt Iranian theocracy. Ahmadinejad simply says what everyone else in his circle is thinking but doesn’t want to blamed for saying.
Crazy-as-strategy only works if your enemies have to walk on eggshells around you anyway. If your enemies are considering rolling over you, it’s a very self-destructive approach. Ask Muammar Khadafi, north Africa’s own crazy man.
Having an atomic bomb will give Iran a new, higher sense of security from military attack from the US, Isreal, and its other neighbors.
At its current level of security, Iran tried to spread Islamic Fundementalism accross the Middle East until they depleated their resources with their war with Iraq. Even after that they became a major sponsor of terrorism.
Does anyone actually believe their behavior will change for the better once they have a feeling of a new level of Security when they have the bomb? I expect them to become an even worse menace. Some situations are just simply lose-lose and you have to pick the option that is not the worst ’least worst’.