Does this generation possess the gravitas
to lead the world?
Considering the hysteria that greeted the request of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
to lay a wreath at Ground Zero, the answer is no.
What is it about this tiny man that induces such irrationality?
Answer: He is president of a nation that is a "state sponsor of terror,"
is seeking nuclear weapons, and is moving munitions to the Taliban and insurgents
But Libya was a "state sponsor of terror," and Col. Ghadafi was responsible
for Pan Am 103, the Lockerbie massacre of school kids coming home for Christmas.
And President Bush secretly negotiated a renewal of relations in return for
Ghadafi giving up his nuclear program and compensating the families of the victims
of that atrocity. Has Ahmadinejad ever committed an act of terror like this?
Richard Nixon went to Moscow and concluded strategic arms agreements while
Moscow was the arms supplier of the enemy we were fighting in Vietnam that used,
at Hue, mass murder as a war tactic.
Nixon went to Beijing to toast Mao Zedong, the greatest mass murderer in
history, responsible for the deaths of 37,000 Americans in Korea, who was, in
1972, persecuting and murdering dissidents in the Great Proletarian Cultural
Revolution run by his crazed wife, and transshipping Russian weapons into Vietnam.
And Nixon is today hailed as a statesman for having gone there.
In 1959, President Eisenhower rode up Pennsylvania Avenue in an open convertible
with Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's gauleiter in Ukraine, who, three years
before his tour of the United States, had sent tanks into Budapest to butcher
the patriots of the Hungarian Revolution.
What has Ahmadinejad done to rival these monsters?
It would be an obscenity, we are told, if Ahmadinejad were allowed to place
a wreath at Ground Zero. This is a public-relations stunt that should never
That the Iranian president has PR in mind is undoubtedly true. Much of
what national leaders do is symbolic. But that wreath-laying would have said
something else, as well.
It would have said that, to Iran, these Americans were victims who deserve
to be honored and mourned and, by extension, the men who killed them were murderers.
Bin Laden celebrates 9/11. So do all America-haters. By laying a wreath at Ground
Zero, the president of Iran would be saying that in the war between al-Qaeda
and the United States, he and his country side with the United States.
How would we have been hurt by letting him send this message?
To the hysterics, Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler and we are all at Munich,
and we should behave like Churchill and gird for war.
This is absurd.
True, as the Washington Times charges, Ahmadinejad invited David
Duke to Tehran to a conference of Holocaust deniers, and his minions chant "Death
to America" and "Death to Israel."
But every mob in the Middle East shouts such slogans. And Duke was the
Republican candidate for governor of Louisiana in 1991 and got a majority of
the white vote. And Holocaust deniers meet regularly in the United States. Yet
we seem to survive.
Far more serious was the threat of Khrushchev in 1956 to rain down rockets
on Britain in the Suez crisis and his "We-will-bury-you" rant. Still, JFK met
him in Vienna and negotiated a test-ban halt.
Far more serious was Mao's talk, after the Cuban missile crisis, of accepting
"300 million dead" in a nuclear war – talk that scared even Khrushchev. Fidel
Castro reportedly urged the Russians to fire their rockets rather than give
them up. Those were deadly serious times.
Hitler could destroy the Jewish population of Europe because he was able
to conquer Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals. Iran has no air force or navy
we could not dispatch in a week and no nukes. Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear
warheads and, if it believed its survival was at stake, could turn Tehran into
toast in 10 minutes.
Why does Iran want nuclear weapons if it doesn't want to use them? For
the same reason Israel wanted them: deterrence.
After seeing what America did to its non-nuclear neighbor Iraq, which had
done nothing to America, and after hearing Bush call them an axis-of-evil nation
and prime candidate for U.S. preemptive strikes, a not-unreasonable ayatollah
might conclude they need nuclear weapons, or the Americans will be dictating
to them forever.
America and Iran have great differences, but also common interests. Among
the latter, no Taliban in Kabul, no restoration of a Sunni Ba'athist dictatorship
in Baghdad, and support for the present governments. Iran cannot want a Sunni-Shia
war in the region, which would make her an enemy of most Arabs, and she cannot
want a major war with America, which could lead to the destruction and breakup
of the nation where only half the people are Persians.
That is plenty to build a cold peace on, if the hysterics do not stampede
us into another unnecessary war.
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