Monday, July 14, 2008

"There are no rats in Oran"

Alan Johnson explains why we cannot afford not to take Iran's threats against Israel seriouisly:

Martin Woollacott also seems to think the plague vanished from temperate countries long ago. He writes that Iran will cut a deal "after a long and reassuring period, free from the threats that have helped to create the present crisis". His argument is faulty on two grounds. First, Israel does not "threaten" Iran. Israel seeks to defend itself against Iran, which threatens Israel with annihilation. The present crisis is not the result of any "threats against Iran" but of the dash for a nuclear capability by a regime that says Israel is a "black and filthy microbe", a "cancerous tumour", a "disgraceful stain", and a "stinking corpse" that is "heading towards annihilation". Second, the regime in Tehran is not a normal regime. It has not responded to the reassurances of the international community which have been issued by the bucketload. It is a revolutionary theocracy that seeks regional hegemony and which exports eliminationist antisemitism throughout the region. It organises Holocaust denial conferences. It funds and trains terrorist organisations.

This is not the scenario Albert Camus was imagining in his fable "The Plague" but as I said elsewhere, history never appears in the same garb twice. The lessons from history should factor in the likelihood that people like Stephen Walt or Juan Cole -- who appear qualified to make judgments of historical moment -- are at the very least mistaken, if not disingenuous, when they reassuringly tell us: "There are no rats in Oran". As well as our irresistible inclination to believe them...


Some of the comments to Johnson's article are well worth the reading, for their seamless continuation of Ahmadinjad's type of language, thinking and aspiration.


At 9:13 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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