Monday, October 28, 2013

Bernard Lewis and Norman Podhoretz on Iran and MAD

Peter Robinson:
Norman Podhoretz,  in an interview in Arutz Sheva, how is it pronounced?  - 

Norman Podhoretz:
Aruttz Sheva 

Peter Robinson:
Quote, quoting you .. If Iran gets the bomb it is hard , if not impossible, to see how a nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel could be avoided"  Close quote 
Now you know the answer to that . The Soviet Union had the bomb and we had the bomb and we sat facing each other for four and a half decades and did not engage in a nuclear exchange.

Norman Podhoretz:  
I will give you Bernard Lewis's answer to that question and than I will give you my own. Bernard Lewis points out that deterrence worked with the Soviets and the Chinese because the Soviets were not  suicidal and they knew that if they launched a first strike there would be a second strike tha    which would annihilate them   --- mutual assured destruction 

Peter Robinson:
And it worked 

Norman Podhoretz  
Mutual Assured Destruction can't  work in relation to Iran because these are people who are in love with  death 

Bernard Lewis:
For them it is not a deterrent, it is an inducement      

Peter Robinson:
Truly? Truly?

Norman Podhoretz:  
Now I will give you my answer to this. That's' Bernard's answer to the question    My answer to the question is  to imagine a scenario which most people are horrified . I've tried this in speeches  all the time, people shy away from it. Imagine that Iran gets the bomb. OK and the Israelis are siting there and asking themselves, do we wait for them to hit us and then retaliate out of the rubble or do we preempt it first?   The Iranians are asking themselves the same question. Do we wait for the Israelis to hit us or do we hit them first . We've never had a hair trigger situation like that  since the invention of  nuclear weapons . If you just imagine the rulers of Iran asking themselves that question . Somebody is gonna beat the other to the punch . And I can't see that unstable situation lasting for very long, maybe even as along as a few weeks or months

Peter Robinson:
And you would agree ,here is what I find so striking 

You  will hear it said among people who are not deep students of this situation that the notion that  glorious death is an inducement to the the radicals in the Muslim world, not a deterrent,  and here I sit across the man who has devoted his life to the study of Islam, who is universally regarded as the greatest living historian in the world of Islam, and he says, yes as a matter of fact , that's exactly right, it is an inducement, deterrence would not work. You confirm that

Bernard Lewis 
Yes I would do , yes, with those who are committed believers in the old sense  

And here is the whole interview: 

Bernard Lewis and Norman Podhoretz discuss the Middle East on Uncommon Knowledge

Peter Robinson: 

Throughout the Cold War there was a base of expert knowledge and through most of the Cold War a high degree of public debate on the issues.  And when I talk of the base of expert knowledge  I mean that we have right from the get-go George Kennan’s Long Telegram which lays out what became the Containment  Policy, as I recall  1946, it is right from the get-go  because there were scholars  who had been studying the Soviet Union, we had scholars of Russian history. There were lot of people who understood what was going on, and they had to reflect on it. From the get-go there was an understanding in this country of the nature of the treat, and then throughout the Cold War in every presidential campaign right up until the fall of the Soviet Union Cold War Policy was the a central aspect of the debate. That was then. Now we come to the struggle against radical Islamo-Fascism . It has been more than a decade since they hit the Twin Towers and I would argue that there has not been a Long Telegram . We have the two of you, there are a few others, but we have no consensus in the State Department and the foreign policy apparatus.