Sunday, October 30, 2011

The debate about the death of MAD has finally begun.

Stephanie Spies, a  research intern for the Project on Nuclear Issues,  has written a piece  titled  “MAD” Still Works: Even with So-Called “Mad” Leaders where she disagrees with Prof. Raphael Israeli’s article MAD deterrence is being foiled by mad leaders

Stephanie Spies writes:

Israeli’s argument relies on the idea that “mad, unpredictable leaders” such as Ahmadinejad will decide to use nuclear weapons, despite the devastating repercussions, because religious national ambitions are incompatible with the rationality required for MAD. For Ahmadinejad specifically, the article claims that “the possibility to hasten the return of the Imam”, a religious concept whose merits are beyond the scope of this post, can prompt this “clinically mad” leader to use Iran’s nuclear weapons.  

Well, this religious concept of the return of the Imam Mahdi and the Shia belief in it is the crux of the argument and if Stephanie Spies says that the merits of the religious concept of the return of the Mahdi are beyond the scope of her post then why write an opinion piece at all?  

MAD is dead because Iranian mullahs believe that a nuclear war would trigger the return of the Mahdi.  This is what they believe in.  We are not here to asses whether the Mahdi really exists or not but whether the depth of Shia  belief in it is such that it could trigger a nuclear war.  

The problem is not Ahmadinejad alone but the whole regime which believes in Shia eschatology.   Prof Raphael Israeli is not the only one warning of the demise of MAD.   Prof Bernard Lewis has repeatedly warned that for the Iranian Mullahs

Western secular minds tend to disregard the depth of conviction of the Shia faithful.  Should not we in the West take more notice of what our scholars of Islam are saying?