Is Iran the 4th Reich?
In the fall of 1956, Nikita Khrushchev threatened to rain rockets down on London for the British invasion of Suez and sent his tanks into Budapest to drown the Hungarian Revolution in blood.
He blew up the Paris summit in 1960, banged his shoe at the U.N., and warned Americans, “We will bury you!”
He insulted John F. Kennedy in Vienna, built the Berlin Wall, and began secretly to place missiles in Cuba capable of annihilating every city in the Southeast, including Washington.
Yet in the Eisenhower-Kennedy years, living under a nuclear Sword of Damocles unlike any the world had ever known, we Americans were on balance a cool, calm and collected crowd. How then to explain the semi-hysteria over President Obama meeting with President Hassan Rowhani and possibly holding negotiations over Iran's nuclear program?
Is the Ayatollah Hitler? Is Iran the Fourth Reich?
Iran, we are told, is the most dangerous enemy America faces. But is this true?
Depending on one's source, Iran's economy is 2 to 4 percent of ours. After oil and gas, its big exports appear to be caviar, carpets and pistachio nuts. Inflation is unbridled and Iran's currency is plummeting.
Should Iran start a war, the sinking of its coastal navy would be a few days' work for the Fifth Fleet. Its air force of U.S. Phantoms dating to the Shah and a few dozen MiGs dating to the early 1990s would provide a turkey shoot for Top Gun applicants. In 30 days, the United States could destroy its airfields, missile sites and nuclear facilities, and impose an air and naval blockade that would reduce Iran to destitution.
War with America could tear Iran apart. Why then would Tehran want a war — and with a superpower?
Answer: It doesn't. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has attacked no nation and gone to war once — to defend herself against Saddam Hussein's aggression that had the backing of the United States.
In that war, Iranians suffered poison gas attacks. Iran has condemned the use of gas in Syria and offered to help get rid of it.
Last year, Iran's departing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who frightened so many, made a simple logical point about Iran's supposed bomb program: “Let's even imagine that we have an atomic weapon, a nuclear weapon. What would we do with it? What intelligent person would fight 5,000 American bombs with one bomb?”
Yet, still, the beat goes on. “There is no more time to hold negotiations,” says Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, Iran is only six months from developing an atom bomb.
Yet The New York Times reports Monday, “American intelligence experts believe Iran is still many months if not years away from having such a weapon.”
Rowhani has a checkered past. Yet U.S. presidents met three times with Stalin, three with the Butcher of Budapest, once with Chairman Mao. Compared to these fellows, Hassan Rowhani looks like Ramsey Clark.
Query: If Iran has the scientific and industrial capacity to build a bomb — and all agree it has — what could conceivably be the reason Iran has not yet done so?
Perhaps, just perhaps, Iran doesn't want the bomb.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”