Imagine There’s No Heaven in the Nuclear Equation with Iran?

Benjamin Netanyahu speaking today to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg about Iran:

Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they’ll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?

I think I’m with Netanyahu on this. I don’t think that you can remove HEAVEN from the nuclear calculations of Iran’s mullahs.

In other words, an Islamic Republic (unlike an atheist Soviet Socialist Republic) might bring its religious beliefs in another world and an afterlife into the equation of whether or not to use its nuclear weapon, thus putting “zealotry above its [this worldly] self-interest.” Seriously believing in a literal world “above” leads to unpredictability about how nuclear weapons might be used by Iran in this world “below.”

Those of us in the West have our fundamentalist equivalents, of course, as in this example below of a congressman making huge environmental policy decisions based on his naive and literalist readings of the Bible:

What makes us think that Iranian mullahs are any more sane or sophisticated than John Shimkus, or take their scriptures any less seriously? What makes us think that they wouldn’t use their scriptures to direct their thoughts and actions in the same way that Shimkus does? A theocracy with a nuclear bomb is something that we have not yet encountered in history—and we shouldn’t be complacent about encountering it.

Barack Obama needs to listen to Benjamin Netanyahu on this, and get really focused.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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