A high-stakes game of tom foolery unfolded last week over Iran's decision to break United Nations seals on research facilities there capable of pursuing bomb-grade enrichment of uranium. Iran's leaders pretended to have no interest in developing nuclear weapons, and the Western world pretended to be shocked by Iran's behavior. Mr. Bush, Germany's Angela Merkel, and Britain's Tony Blair failed in their public statements to take any responsibility for Iran's decision to take the nuclear path, and the mainstream media missed the story too. Although Iran has not yet violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Americans and Europeans moved toward imposing economic sanctions through the UN Security Council that could inflict significant suffering on the people of Iran. A prominent hard-line cleric, Hojatolislam Ahmad Khatami, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "Thank God, our enemies are idiots. They threaten us. Their threats and sanctions have made us independent."
Once again, Jesus has proven himself to be the greatest political prognostician of all time. Threaten someone, and they are likely to respond in a like fashion. The Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003 placed a huge, permanent American military presence in the country bordering Iran. Mr. Bush further fanned the Iranian flames by repeatedly and publicly insulting Iran as being "evil." Members of his Administration made no secret of their desire to accomplish in Iran what they had already done in Iraq, though Iran has a population that is three times as large. In other words, Iran feels threatened by the behavior of the Bush Administration, and the Iranians have responded in kind.
The larger issue, of which no one is speaking, is the deep hypocrisy of an Administration that criticizes the clear Iranian initiative to develop these weapons at the same time that Mr. Bush is planning to develop new nuclear weapons of his own. The "robust earth penetrator" class of weapons that is under discussion for development would enable the Administration to destroy deeply sequestered underground bunkers using a field-authorized nuclear device. And who is the US Military likely to use such a weapon against? Iran and North Korea are the clear likely targets. Is it any surprise that both are now determined to develop nuclear weapons of their own?
Add to this the Administration's disregard for international agreements, even as they complain about Iran's unwillingness to abide by international agreements, and one begins to see new heights of accomplishment in the hypocrisy department.
In other words, the act of threatening others rarely makes one safe. It only makes one elicit reciprocal threats from the threatened party. The Bush Administration bears virtually 100% of the blame for the new militarism in Iran and North Korea, by virtue of the threatening posture they have taken in Iraq, in their rhetoric, in their military budgeting, and in their Pentagon planning. Jesus got this one right. "Love your enemies" is the only strategy that insures security. Or as he said to Peter, "Those who live by the sword are destined to die by the sword."