Monday, October 29, 2007

Krugman speaks sense (again)

Paul Krugman is a reliable source for sensible commentary on both US politics and economics. His newest op-ed in NY Times is another example of that.

Fearing Fear Itself

Consider, for a moment, the implications of the fact that Rudy Giuliani is taking foreign policy advice from Norman Podhoretz, who wants us to start bombing Iran “as soon as it is logistically possible.”

Mr. Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a founding neoconservative, tells us that Iran is the “main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11.” The Islamofascists, he tells us, are well on their way toward creating a world “shaped by their will and tailored to their wishes.” Indeed, “Already, some observers are warning that by the end of the 21st century the whole of Europe will be transformed into a place to which they give the name Eurabia.”

Do I have to point out that none of this makes a bit of sense?

For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn’t. And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 — in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

Beyond that, the claim that Iran is on the path to global domination is beyond ludicrous. Yes, the Iranian regime is a nasty piece of work in many ways, and it would be a bad thing if that regime acquired nuclear weapons. But let’s have some perspective, please: we’re talking about a country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose military budget is roughly the same as Sweden’s.


Europe doesn't consider Iran a threat - maybe that should make the US stop up and think for a moment? Iran is after all much closer to Europe than to the US, and while Israel would be the closest target, Europe is certainly a much more likely target for Iranian nuclear weapons than the US, if nothing else, then because of geographic reasons (distance). Of course, other Middle Eastern countries are more likely targets for a Iranian attack, given the very real political and religious differences between Iran and a number of its neighbors.

Yes, Iran should be pressured to not get nuclear weapons, but that should be done through political paths, and based on a realistic evaluation of the threat they create, not through threats and ridiculous claims about the dangers Iran process.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Paul said...

Even supposing the Iranians get the bomb, it's difficult to see why deterrence would not work with them.

November 05, 2007 10:55 AM  
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November 07, 2007 7:45 PM  

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