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Mission from God Fear?

Reader comment on item: The Mystical Menace of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Submitted by K.H. Ahmed (United States), Sep 9, 2006 at 08:44

Dear Mr. Pipes,

I agree it is a bizarre world view that Mr. Ahmadinejad presents. However, I would point out that he is not alone in expressing this type of mentality. We have a President who seems to believe he has a personal relationship with God and it certainly appears that this personal relationship injects itself into Mr. Bush's policy direction. It does seem to be a phenomena of the times. However, let us assume that both of these leaders think they are reincarnations of the Blues Brothers on a mission from God, this doesn't prevent us from engaging in serious diplomatic efforts to overcome the differences.

I would submit that the biggest hurdle that exists between our two countries is a complete misunderstanding on our side of what the Iranians really seek. I would hold that a deeper evaluation of two statements made by Mr. Ahmadinejad clarifies what his position truly represents.

First, (and I paraphrase) "The State of Israel should be moved to Europe", one could tie this to his wipe it off the map statement. How one takes either of these statements relates to how we view his thoughts as they relate to the issue of Israel. I would hold that he sees Israel as a European creation in the middle of the Muslim heartland that was based on European guilt. His feeling being if the Europeans feel guilty about the holocost then they should be reponsible for the reparations, but not at Muslim expense.This position while certainly not friendly to the State of Israel is not completely without merit. Being of Turkish origin I know that Middle Eastern memories are long and that the imposition of borders based on European decisions has not been forgotten. However, this does not prevent legitimate discussions regarding the existence of Israel; the fact its existence is a given and must be addressed, statements for political consumption do not make a policy and I doubt the Iranians are delusional.

Second, "The UN is one-sided stacked against the world of Islam", and other such statements relating to the nuclear issue. In context Mr. Ahmadinejad was asking the question, Why does the west hold the position that it alone is entitled to nuclear development. Again with our fear of nuclear proliferation a somewhat frightening statement. But again this question is not without merit. From the viewpoint of the Muslim and Arab world as a policy maker they would indeed question the logic of their exclusion. While the Iranian President can indeed make some outrageous statements in these regards, speaking to the heart of the Muslim masses of Iran for political purposes is not a policy. Where does the west get the moral standing to decide who does what. From the Muslim viewpoint the U.S. is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons and the only one who threatens with the use of nuclear weapons. And if they are to engage on equal footing with the west then fundamentally you can't come to a gun fight with a knife. So while many of his comments may be outrageous one can't say they are without merit.

In this regard being intrigued by Mr. Ahmadinejad's mystical side is not a reason to put him in a class with Adolf Hitler. To make this leap is to cut off any hope of rational discussion. While I may think the coming of the "Mahdi" is a joke, (and I am Muslim), I cannot look at it being any more of an outlandish idea than George Bush's belief in the second coming of Christ. In neither instance would I use it to classify the other as some sort of Rasputin. No, it would seem more logical to use either of the beliefs to inform my decisions as they related to diplomacy with either party.

Iran and the Muslim Middle East may indeed develop into a dangerous threat to the interests of the United States. However, our current policy of failure to engage and draw them into dialogues with the West is far more dangerous to our interests than any mystical dreams of Mr. Ahmadinejad. Better to engage him directly and allow the light of the west to shine upon him. I remember when I was in Viet-Nam one of the things we grunts used to say was to win in Viet Nam all we had to do was go home and let Coca-Cola and McDonalds have the place. Guess what, we went home and Coke and McDonalds have the place.


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