Several days ago, I was invited by One Jerusalem
, to attend a private briefing by Dore Gold
, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N., whose important new book, The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West
, has just been published.
There were about fifteen of us—bloggers mostly, including my good friend, the brilliant blogger, Omri Ceren of Mere Rhetoric
—gathered in the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Ambassador Dore Gold
Ambassador Gold, looking like a sleepy walrus, spoke in measured, diplomatic tones. But he was fiercely passionate and profoundly knowledgeable about Iranian history, culture, and diplomacy, past and present.
Point by point, Gold emphasized his main thesis:
The Iranian nuclear threat is not just a danger to Israel and the Middle East, but to the West. International complacency, as the Iranians reach the nuclear finish line, warned Gold, is deeply disturbing. This is a subject that should be in the headlines every single day, instead we are confronted with quietism, and yawns expressing an attitude of: “So what?”
The international community, explained Gold, points to Pakistan and North Korea as unstable regimes that possess nuclear weapons and yet they have been contained. Thus, why not view Iran in the same light?
The weakness of this argument reflects a misreading of Iran's long term strategic goals. Neither Pakistan nor North Korea are attempting regional supremacy. Pakistan is focused on its bottomless conflict with India, and North Korea has no plans to conquer Japan; the Norks, in fact, are focused on maintaining their iron grip on the reins of power.
Iran, on the other hand, is an imperialist Islamic theocracy seeking to export their Shia revolution.
For instance, the Mullahs consider Bahrain to be a lost Persian province, and they also lay claim to slices of Iraq that are home to a Shia majority, including the holy cities of Nadjaf and Karballah. And of course, Iran has threatened, numerous times, to wipe Israel off the map. Further, unlike Pakistan or North Korea, there is no deterrence with Iran.
The Mullahs are prepared to sacrifice millions in order to achieve their expansionist aims.
This was proven during the bloody eight-year war with Iraq. The Iranians recovered territory snatched by Iraq after just two years, but chose to continue warfare for six long years at the cost of hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives.
The Revolutionary Guard used children—wearing plastic keys to heaven around their necks—as human minesweepers.
A regime that so callously murders its own young—martyrdom operations—is, by definition, capable of anything in the name of Allah.
Hence, the calculus of Cold War deterrence—Mutual Assured Destruction—no longer applies.
“Remember,” said Ambassador Gold, “there were no Communist suicide bombers.” Contrast this to the Arab Muslim world where suicide bombers and their families enjoy enormous status.
Iran, emphasized Ambassador Gold, is the world's greatest exporter of terror. Through various, well-funded proxy armies—Hizbullah, Hamas, etc.—the Iranians have been kidnapping, torturing and killing Americans and Israelis since Ayatollah Khomenei's Islamic revolution in 1979. And the West has never punished the Iranians for their murderous behavior. Thus the Iranians are encouraged to keep killing for there is never any payback.
The West consistently views Iranian behavior and intentions through the prism of Western values. This is a mistake the West repeats over and over again, refusing to learn from past experience. Gold's book is filled with footnoted facts about countless Iranian outrages.
Ambassador Gold emphasized that, contrary to popular opinion, every American administration, from Carter to Obama—including George Bush—has engaged Iran in vigorous diplomacy. And every single administration has been snookered by the Iranians, who consider it perfectly acceptable to lie to the enemy. The Islamic doctrine of taquia, elevates this behavior to a religious duty.
And make no mistake about it, the Iranians are intractable in their belief that the West, Christians and Jews, are the eternal enemy.
Time and again, the Iranians have skillfully used dialog and diplomacy to buy time in order to achieve their regional ambitions.
Ambassador Gold would not comment on Israeli military plans for Iran. Nor would he be drawn into commenting on American military cooperation with Israel.
But Gold was quite adamant on two points:
1. Iran is determined to cross the nuclear finish line.
2. Sanctions cannot work.
On my notepad, I scribbled one word in bold script at the end of the briefing: Sobering.
I have always believed that military action is the only option that will be effective against the Mullahs. It's not a pretty option, but it's far better than allowing this cruel state to achieve nuclear breakout.
Ponder this scenario: if Iran achieves nuclear capability, transnational Islamic terrorism will be sheltered by a nuclear umbrella, a deterrence—military and diplomatic—that will shield them from any consequences of their terrorist outrages. Further, nuclear weapons—suitcase dirty bombs—will proliferate among non-state Islamic terrorists, and nuclear blackmail will become coin of the realm.
This scenario could easily tip the balance of world power in favor of the Islamist radicals who are determined to subjugate the West and bring about a barbaric 7th century Caliphite.
The laughter you hear over the soundtrack are the Iranians snickering at the credulity of the West.
Currently, the Iranians mock Obama, correctly sensing an administration whose only strategy is: “More talk.”
The Europeans, gutless appeasers, have turned a blind eye. The Russians and the Chinese enable the Iranians at most every turn.
So once again, as with Iraq's Osirik nuclear reactor, it's up to Israel to protect itself—and Western civilization.
Copyright Robert J. Avrech
Photo: Robert J. Avrech