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Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Prof Bug Posting Very Soon
The buggy professor thanks those of you who have inquired of late why he hasn't posted anything on this site since late October 2006.
Nothing serious this time, happy to report: no big bouncy mood-swings, no major problems of any sort; just some sore hands, wrists, elbows, and upper arms that required a lot of massages, acupuncture, and careful stretching, starting some time in early November. As luck had it, the treatment took a lot of time --- more, anyway, than prof bug had hoped it would; but then it took years of work at the pc to create these sore muscles and joints, and in the end, when you get down to it, a couple of months of physical therapy of this sort isn't much compared to the lengthy time that went into the inflamed tissue.
And the therapy, as luck also had it, has helped. A lot. To the point anyway that the inflammation has now dwindled to a tolerable level, and so prof bug has been briskly busy the last few days writing a new article in the series on Iran and its nuclear ambitions --- specifically, whether a nuclear-armed terror-state led by clerical-fascists, whose top-dog president is a religious fanatic of massive megalomanical dimensions, can be deterred and contained the way the Soviet Union was in the cold war. That article will be posted here soon, most likely this week. Given its length right now, it's probable that the final commentary and analysis will have to be divided into two separate, closely linked write-ups.
When they're finished, these two write-ups will complete the strung-out series on Iran that began in early July 2006 . . . or was it, come to that, 1906? Hard for prof bug's mind, charged with fitful moody quirks --- at any rate, nearly always around its edges and now and then at its very core --- to be clear at times.
PART ONE: WHAT TO EXPECT
Among the New Topics?
Well, among them, these soon-to-appear buggy think-pieces will set out once more the concrete threats that an Iran with nuclear weapons will create for us and friendly countries, along with a reminder as well of the big information-gaps and hence uncertainties that surround any analysis of the head honcho mullahs, ayatollahs, and of course the frenzied apocalyptic-yearning Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the motor-mouth, half crazy president.
Among these information gaps are 1) the current distribution of power among the different factions at the top in Iranian politics these days; 2) the likely impact of this distribution on the lead policymakers' ambitions, motives, and Grand Strategy to put Iran at the head of the world Islamist movements; and 3) the problems we face of deciding whether deterrence theory as it has emerged since 1945 can be reliably applied to such a Islamist state.
And, For Good or Bad --- Whether Seen As a Bonus or a Blunder ---
Some Bugged-Out Advice for American Diplomacy
For what it's worth, the new commentary and analysis will also lay out some prof bug recommendations for American policy toward Iran, both now and in the near future.
Some of these recommendations, as it happens, will likely surprise many of you: among them, a suggestion that the Bush administration begin talks with the Iranian clerical-fascists, though not with Syria, and for reasons that the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group --- which heaved and hoed for several months and in the end reached a brain-numbing list of platitudinous inanities it dubbed a new strategy --- never even considered . . . any more than have the usual superficial and pontificating journalists who write about Iran with splatters of guesswork and little else.
As you'll see, just to touch on the buggy rationale for this advice, nothing more right now, there may be several motives at work in holding talks (AKA negotiations) with adversarial states . . . most of which have nothing to do with expecting a compromised negotiated settlement of the high-coiled conflicts that create such enmity. Prof bug doesn't expect such a settlement. Not now; not soon; maybe not for a long long time.
The hard fact is, whether Iranian policymaking is dominated by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cronies or by so-called more moderate clerical-fascists who started the country's nuclear program and deceived the International Atomic Agency inspectors --- and who have led the chants for Death to Israel! Death to America! in weekly sermons for decades now, while lavishly funding Hezbollah terrorism and more recently Hamas/s --- Iran will remain a major adversarial regime of the US and its allies until the religious fanatics of the Ahmadinejad faction are sidelined, and (more to the point), corrupt, money-grubbing clerical-fascists in power since 1979 learn how costly the pursuit of aggressive diplomatic, military, and terrorist policies are for their own personal well-being. Or so prof bug will argue.
A Longer-Term Perspective Needed Here
Sooner or later, as in the Soviet Union in 1991, Iran's venal, utterly inept dictatorship will collapse --- hated as it is by most of the Iranian people, especially those under 30 years of age (60% of the population), and presiding simultaneously over a ramshackle economy that, since the Shiite revolution of 1979, has impoverished nearly 50% of the country's fast-growing population. In the process, the country's vast oil-generated income has either been siphoned off by the rapacious clerical-fascist leaders and their cronies or spent on nuclear arms programs, while subsidizing the even more ramshackle Syrian economy and its dictatorship and throwing money even more recklessly to support radical Islamist terrorism.
Ahmadinejad himself, recall here, was elected as a populous presidential candidate in July 2005 because he promised the impoverished Iranian masses that he would reallocate resources to them, and not because his election would scare the world, isolate Iran, cause economic sanctions, and lead sooner or later to Showdown Armageddon with the evil forces of the infidel world, and possibly on a nuclear-level. So far, he hasn't delivered, and the results in the latest popular elections for local officials and the Council of Elders --- no, not free elections: the candidates all carefully vetted by the powers-that-be --- show that his hyped-up theocratic hokum and whipped up nationalism haven't staved off widespread mass discontent.
Is that a surprise? It shouldn't be. At some point, oil won't be selling for $60 or more a barrel, and when that point arrives, Iran's raggedy state-dominated economy will prove to be one more Islamic basket-case, little else.
PART TWO: WAIT THOUGH!
A Worse Case Scenario Is Definitely Possible
If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad --- a manic egomaniac who sees himself as the personal vassal of the Mahdi-Messiah or Hidden Imam, with whom he has fantasized tête-à-têtes all the time --- does manage to dominate Iranian policymaking toward the outside world, then all bets are off.
How so? In plain language, he and his factional allies in the government --- and in the country's large militia and in the elite Republican Guard through whose ranks he rose to prominence --- are feverish dogmatists: manic, worked-up true-believers to the core, and not just another predatory and corrupt elite waiting to grab the center of the trough for themselves. Yes, they want that position too --- no two ways about it. Additionally, though, with the faith of credulous children, they are convinced in their hearts that the Savior-Mahdi's return is imminent, just over the horizon . . . and precisely thanks to Ahmadinejad's power as Iran's president and its soon-to-emerge nuclear force. What then? What, to be more precise, will happen when the peek-a-boo, figment-of-imagination Mahdi comes shooting out of his deep dank well in Qom near Teheran and lands in his personal vassal's lap, slobbering kisses and all?
Well, according to the theocratic mumbo-jumbo of Ahmadinejad's Shiite sect, the Hojatieh, the Mahdi-Hero will no sooner materialize and dry off from his 1000 year soggy hermitage than the long-awaited Apocalyptic Showdown with the infidel world will immediately ensue . . . a transitional period of chaos, violence, and major warfare that in the end, it goes without saying, will see Islam triumph everywhere on earth. Quite likely, to continue --- what with the fantasy-world the manic megalo seems to inhabit --- with the use of nuclear weapons.
Seems Utterly Preposterous to Us, No?
Sure, what else? In effect, when you get down to it --- seems little more than medieval abracadabra that's hyped-up with apocalyptic visions and lapped up, if at all, only by atavistic dim-wits who see witches and spooky demons buzzing about everywhere; these diabolic creatures, needless to say, the ultimate cause of Islamic misery, distress, backwardness, and what have you. The most vile and satanic of all of them? Needless to say again, vile Jew-pigs and -apes; the biggest bogeymen of all, more scary even than Frankenstein, Dracula, and George W. Bush combined. The Jewish cabal itself busy controlling the world and keeping Islam down-and-out . . . temporarily at least. That downside soon to be rectified and by none other than --- yes, you've guessed it! Our Arch-Hero President and his Hojatieh brethren, singled out by Allah and His Destiny to slay the demons, followed by lesser demons of other infidel faiths . . . at any rate, once the blessed Mahdi-Redeemer Returns from his dank hideout.
So yes, utterly preposterous . . . the mental stuff of psycho-ward loonies. But note: not an isolated case. When you get down to it, the only difference between Ahmadinejad's Hojatieh sect and mainstream Shiism is whether a great Strong-Arm Muslim leader can hasten Allah-designated destiny and hence facilitate the return of the Mahdi-Savior or, instead, wait patiently for Islam's triumphant destiny to be played out by angels, dead saints, and Allah's other emissaries like the Mahdi-the-Miraculous. Nor is that all. Muslims everywhere happen to believe in the Mahdi's ultimate incarnation and the Apocalyptic Showdown with the nasty infidels that will quickly follow on a cosmic scale. If Sunnis differ from orthodox Shiites here, it is in one minor respect and nothing more: the Mahdi, on their view, didn't appear about 1100 years ago, only to go underground and hide out in peek-a-boo fashion in a drip-drip well or somewhere else. No, the Mahdi-Savior will materialize for the first time in the future, Allah willing the moment.
Well, whether the stuff's crazed or not, those observers who think the rabid padded-cell rhetoric of Ahmadinejad is only for show --- part of his megalomaniacal motor-mouth persona, plus lots of demagogic doses of the theocratic mumbo-jumbo aimed at the credulous masses in Iran and other Muslim countries; nothing more serious, nothing to worry about anyway --- are like the numerous British and French appeasers in the late 1930s, whether in or out of government. These so-called hardheaded power-realists earnestly discounted Hitler's Nazism on similar grounds: in the crunch, surely --- surely! --- der Fuerher and the other Nazi homicidal honchos only wanted a good deal from the winners of WWI that would satisfy legitimate German grievances. Everyone wants peace after all, right? Were Germans so different? Are Iranians today, whether in or out of power? Obviously not. Only arrogant madmen like George W. Bush and his evil neo-con cabal are the exceptions, no one else.