Iran is as military weak as was the 1938 Third Reich. But like Hitler’s Germany, Iran fancies that its ardor and brinkmanship constitute military assets far more valuable than mere carriers or planes. Like Hitler, the theocracy believes loud bluster and perhaps even feigned insanity offer real advantages against those who are sober, judicious, and intent on avoiding the use of force at all costs. Are “Death to America” and constant threats from Teheran — even as negotiations of the non-proliferation deal were still fluid — all that much different from Hitler’s scoffing that his interlocutors at Munich were “worms”? Acting as if one has nothing to lose is advantageous in geostrategic poker.
Do Iran’s various promises of ending the Jewish state in the 21st century sound all that much more unhinged than Hitler’s crackpot ideas in the mid-1930s of solving the “Jewish question”? The Obama administration has obsessed about American culpability in the 1953 Western overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh (and in typically ahistorical fashion forgets that mullahs rallied against the Shah-appointed Mossadegh, who had at times cut short elections and coerced the parliament to grant him emergency powers). Is a coup over 60 years ago now reason to overlook Iranian bellicosity — in the fashion that guilty Allied powers once attributed their soft responses to Hitler to unease over the Versailles peace treaty ? Note that in these cases, the Mossadegh affair and Versailles were used by aggressors to leverage Western appeasement.My modus operandi, one informed by history: when someone on the world stage promises to obliterate you for the "crime" of being Jewish, I'm inclined to believe him.
Update: In another--and related--piece, VDH wonders whether, in the face of this latest existential threat, Israel will do something about Iran.