If ever there was a nation not to drive to extremes, it is Iran
This week's most terrifying remark came from the foreign secretary, Jack Straw. He declared that a nuclear attack on Iran would be "completely nuts" and an assault of any sort "inconceivable". In Straw-speak, "nuts" means he's just heard it is going to happen and "inconceivable" means certain.That sure sounds familiar doesnt it?
A measure of the plight of British foreign policy is that such words from the foreign secretary are anything but reassuring. Straw says of Iran that "there is no smoking gun, there is no casus belli". There was no smoking gun in Iraq, only weapons conjured from the fevered imagination of Downing Street and the intelligence chiefs. It is a racing certainty that Alastair Campbell look-alikes are even now cajoling MI6's John Scarlett into proving that Iran is "far closer" to a bomb than anyone thinks.
The new crusade
As for a casus belli, there was also none in Iraq. Tony Blair had to beat one out of the hapless attorney general before his generals would agree to fight. But Iran's casus belli was set out in unambiguous terms by the prime minister in his speech to the Foreign Policy Centre in London on March 21. Blair was updating his 1999 Chicago doctrine of global intervention. Then it was justified by humanitarianism and was optional. Now it is vital for the "battle of values ... a battle about modernity". Those who are not of our values are to be subject to pre-emptive attack.With all this insanity in the US and Britain is it surprising that Iran might want a few nukes?
Blair demanded that the west become "active not reactive" against alien values (obviously Islamic) as "we risk chaos threatening our stability". The crusade against them was "utterly determinative of our future here in Britain". He accepted that Britain should seek international agreement before going to war, but should still fight without it. People were crying out for democracy. We must bring it to them since "in their salvation lies our own security".
The speech was full of jihadist rhetoric. Blair's desire to wipe non-democratic values off the map is akin to Iran's view of Israel. But we know that when he says war he means war. The speech was the wildest by a British leader in modern times and was the clearest imaginable statement of a casus belli. He mentioned Iran three times. It was gilt-edged, copper-bottomed, swivel-eyed neoconservatism.
The more the west threatens, the stronger is the case of Tehran's hawks for a nuclear arsenal. Iran is within range of five nuclear powers, including the US. What army would not want a deterrent when the world is awash with crazies?I liked it better when I thought everything was being driven by politics, now it's driven by madness. I never thought the day would come when a military coup in the US would be one of the more attractive options but we may be getting close.