In a world where ideology appears to have no meaning, the continuing and escalating tensions between the United States and Iran merit careful scrutiny. These two great countries are heading toward a showdown over the nuclear issue which will incomparably benefit opponents of both nations. It is the United States that has accomplished a dream result for Iranian foreign policy. Every mullah in Iran should have a picture of Donald Rumsfeld on his desk, for the true great Satan who had tormented Iran for decades has been gracelessly removed by the United States. What Iranians fail to realize is that their newfound friend in Russia is actually up to its old imperial tricks. For Russian assistance on the nuclear installation represents the poison pill that will reduce the ability of Iran to project power in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Rumsfeld, Hero to Iran, “The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.” A recent text called Confronting Iran by Ali M. Ansari points out that it is the neocons in both the United States and Iran that have pushed these countries to the precipice. There is no question that adding Iran to the axis of evil shortly after Mohammad Khatami’s tentative reaching out to the west was a diabolical mistake. Here Ansari examines the troubling information gap between foreign policy realism and neocon ideology which continues to characterize the dialogue on Iran in the United States:
“A network of politicians, propagandists, and journalists have all been complicit in the creation of a consensus that has suffocated debate and obstructed knowledge. This consensus is far more than a military-industrial complex. Those who seek to challenge the consensus are dismissed as irrational, even though they adhere to the Western tradition of knowledge more resolutely than the carriers of myth. Few statements have exemplified this trend more clearly than Donald Rumsfeld’s comment that ‘the absence of evidence was not the evidence of absence.’ By such standards, one must conclude that the Western enlightenment is over and we have entered a post-modern age in which belief and conviction tolerate no scrutiny.” (p. 238)
It is Europe and the United States whose thirst for energy could literally be satiated by an Iran whose infrastructure was redeveloped and whose massive resources were mobilized. Only Russia’s energy imperialism could be threatened by an Iran moving toward some type of rapprochement with the west. The existential threat to Israel does not lie in Iranian bomb, but rather in an Israeli deployment against Iran of nuclear proportions that would only serve to further demonize both Israel and the United States (to Russia’s benefit). It is not a coincidence that this nuclear play is going on at a time when Iran, the United States, and Israel are all caught up in massive questions concerning the competence of their leadership and the moral fiber of their elite. Now is the time for leadership and creative intelligence, not confrontation.