The Right Coast

December 14, 2005
By Mike Rappaport

According to the New York Times:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated his anti-Israeli rhetoric Wednesday, calling the Holocaust a ''myth'' used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
Some Israelis have responded:

''The combination of fanatical ideology, a warped sense of reality and nuclear weapons is a combination that no one in the international community can accept,'' Regev [a Foreign Ministry Spokesmen] added, referring to allegations that Iran is developing nuclear bombs.

Avner Shalev, the director of Yad Vashem, Israel's memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem, said Ahmadinejad's comments required a ''stronger response from world leaders.''
Indeed, the statements made by the Iranian President require a strong response. I, for one, simply don't believe the world is up to it. And that is tragic, because this may lead to war, even a nuclear war.

It is not clear what Iran wants. They might want to provoke Israel into attacking its nuclear facilities (and here Iran might succeed). Alternatively, they might be preparing to attack Israel on its own. (Of course, the Iranian government, along with millions of others, would then be doomed.) My guess is that Iranians simply want to be the big bad boy on the block. But that is a dangerous game, which could lead to bad (and unintended) consequences.

A very worrisome situation.

Update: My concern that the world is not up to responding to Iran is shared by Mark Steyn, who is rightly concerned about the US's rather tepid response:

So let's see: We have a Holocaust denier who wants to relocate an entire nation to another continent, and he happens to be head of the world's newest nuclear state. (They're not 100 percent fully-fledged operational, but happily for them they can drag out the pseudo-negotiations with the European Union until they are. And Washington certainly won't do anything, because after all if we're not 100 percent certain they've got WMD -- which we won't be until there's a big smoking crater live on CNN one afternoon -- it would be just another Bushitlerburton lie to get us into another war for oil, right?)

So how does the United States react? Well, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the comments of Ahmadinejad "further underscore our concerns about the regime."

Really? But wait, the world's superpower wasn't done yet. The State Department moved to a two-adjective alert and described Ahmadinejad's remarks as "appalling" and "reprehensible." "They certainly don't inspire hope among any of us in the international community that the government of Iran is prepared to engage as a responsible member of that community," said spokesman Adam Ereli.

You don't say.