The pointless endeavor

The NROniks are all but wetting themselves:

President Bush’s speech is a landmark event. As John says, the president’s pledge not to allow a nuclear Iran is a major policy declaration that could well result in a clash before long. My piece today, “Kingdom Come,” gives an inkling of why a president, faced with the implications of a nuclear Iran, might feel that he has no choice but to act. But the horror of it is, the points I cover only scratch the surface of the many frightening implications of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.

I find it hard to take the bed-wetting over nuclear proliferation very seriously. What no one seems to grasp is that it is no more possible to prevent nuclear proliferation than it was to prevent hauberk proliferation during Charlemagne’s reign or rifle proliferation in the 18th century. Yes, there will likely be a hideous event or two, and yes, it’s more than likely that the reigning world power which believes it has a right to station troops in dozens of countries and forcibly occupy any country it likes will be the primary target.

But none of this changes the fact that technological proliferation is inevitable. If it were possible for the United States to prevent other governments from acquiring them, presumably the Russians, the Chinese and the Indians would not have them. Furthermore, logic strongly suggests that Iran does not want nukes in order to set off a few in Jerusalem or Washington, if they did they would have already acquired them from the Soviet Union, North Korea, Pakistan or South Africa and done so. They want them for the same reason everyone else does, to bring to an end the Lex Americana, which is applied at the whim of the President to any non-nuclear power. I think it would be very, very difficult to dispute the assertion that the Iranian regime is far more sane than its North Korean counterpart.

One need not be sympathetic towards the Iranian theocracy to recognize either of these two verities. And before anyone starts in on the “insanity” of the Iranian president, I would remind him of two things. First, the president serves at the pleasure of Ali Khamenei, who controls the armed forces. Even if he is crazy, which I seriously doubt, he isn’t in charge. Second, given that the international public enemy number one is always proclaimed to be crazy, one should harbor a certain amount of skepticism towards distant psychological diagnosis by the media. After all, there’s no shortage of Americans who claim that President Bush is also an insane religious nut who hopes to immanentize the eschaton by bringing about Armageddon.

If you want to play bully, (or if you prefer, world superpower), then don’t be surprised when people attack you at every opportunity. The Romans understood this. Americans don’t.