Deterring Those Who Are Already Dead?

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Laurent Murawiec - Deterrence works because one is able credibly to threaten the center of gravity of the enemy. But deterrence only works if the enemy is able and willing to enter the same calculus. If the enemy plays by other rules, he will not be deterred. The religious believer accepts reality and works at improving it; the fanatic rejects reality, refuses to pass any compromise with it, and tries to destroy it and replace it with his fantasy. The politics carried out by the complex in power in Tehran - Ahmadinejad, the Pasdaran, the Basiji, the Ministry of Intelligence, Supreme Guide Khamenei - is apocalyptic and millenarian - but it also is autistic: nothing that contravenes their sense of what is and what ought to be, may be allowed to exist. Contemporary jihad is not a matter of politics at all, but a matter of faith. Consequently, attempts at dealing with the problem politically will not even touch it. The writer is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

2006-05-31 00:00:00

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