Lunatics Taking Over The Asylum

Tonight, while Channel 4 is showing Farenheit 9/11, BBC2 show a sympathetic profile of Natal Sharansky. Sharansky is one of those lunatics who divide the planet into 'free world' and 'fear world' - black and white, good and evil, us and them, no shades of grey. In his book The Case For Democracy, he advocates 'exporting democracy' from the Free World (i.e America) to the Fear World, 'by any means necessary".

This thinking is hardly new - whenever the leadership of a regime dream of a world empire, the same ideology emerges to justify the dream in ethical terms. What is surprising is how ineffective the usual checks and balances have been. Even when the political leadership is composed largely of lunatics, the military leadership can keep a cool head to counterbalance. George Bush and Condoleeza Rice are offset by Dick Cheny and (to some extent) Colin Powell.

So, why is Saudi Arabia being threatened with sanctions, and Iran with invasion or bombing, when Iraq is still proving such an expensive disaster? Is it just more sabre rattling - making threats to intimidate, to keep these countries in line?

Ordinarily, I would say it is. Iran can't be invaded, because there is no stable nearby base to invade it from, and because Iran has a sizable and well armed army which could inflict casualties reminiscent of Vietnam. Bombing Iran (possibly using Isreal as a proxy) would achive nothing. It would create massive hostility from the american people, plus the rest of the world, would upset the economy, and cirtainly not provoke 'regime change'.

Iran couldn't fight a war with America, but it could easily create and/or finance terrorist groups. Ironic, that the war-on-terror would create terrorism. As has been pointed out by much more astute people than myself, global power politics is only possible if only the superpowers have great destructive ability - right now, anyone can build a bomb.

Ronald Regan was paranoid that Russia was just about to attack, and funded Edward Teller's worthless 'Star Wars' project so he could get in his retalliation first, without fearing the consequences. But even then, I was pretty sure he wouldn't be allowed to push the big red launch button. Now, I'm not so confident.

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