Monday, February 23, 2015

so-called existential fears really just the apex of psychological projection


theatlantic |  After the jump I have a reader's note marveling at the way we've agreed to discuss Iran as a bottomless evil, rather than as a state with whom we should look for diplomatic ways to manage conflicts, as we have with China and the old Soviet Union—and as Begin did with Sadat.

A reader writes:
This whole thing has become so utterly surreal it's hard to talk about anymore. The entire kerfuffle is premised on an Iranian nuclear weapons program - a program we KNOW with certainty they do not have in operation. NO fissile materials have been diverted, IAEA inspectors routinely tell us that. Meanwhile, Netanyahu and his Likudnik colleagues have been telling us since the 1980s that Iran is SIX MONTHS away from having a nuclear weapon.
I understand that Netanyahu is using fear of a nuclear-armed Iran for domestic political purposes - primarily to frighten his citizens into keeping him in office. The use of a ginned-up external existential threat is a time-honored method for cowing and manipulating a domestic constituency, and clearly at some point the fear of the Palestinians had lost its punch.
But why do the US, UK, France, China and other nations go along with this charade? Why do the media always write the stories in such a manner as to indicate that Iran has an active weapons R&D program? Why did we pile sanctions on and make daily threats of offensive war against a signatory of the NPT is good standing, particularly in support of an illegal proliferator? How can we continue this ridiculous sham?
Over the last couple years, you wrote repeatedly about how the press covered Republican filibusters - and you were right. This is the same thing - we're going through all these massive machinations to address a problem WE KNOW DOES NOT EXIST. If I wrote this in a novel it would be rejected as "utterly implausible"...