…then the American left would be less likely to advocate appeasement in a general sense.
Not that I wouldn’t agree that Phelps is scary, but as it is, the only person soon to be leading a nuclear weapon enabled theocracy is that wild-and-crazy Iranian – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For our more progressive thinkers, this prospect is not quite so worthy of condemnation as is some wingnut in Kansas making noise about a church-state merger based on foaming at the mouth homophobia. Homophobia being the common thread connecting fundamentalists in Topeka with those in Teheran, Phelps’ people could use some help from their Islamofascist counterparts in the protocol for throwing gays off of buildings when there is not a wall handy that can be collapsed on them.
Since discussing separation of church and state with such a party animal as Ahmadinejad (you did catch the dancers at his centrifuge success announcement ceremony supposedly carrying canisters of uranium hexaflouride?) would be imposing Western values at the risk of damaging Iranian self esteem, our left is advising diplomacy. You know, keep Cheney away from shotguns and make sure we get our EU allies on side… oh, right, that didn’t work.
So, we’re still dithering with our buddies the Russians for UN Security Council help, while they (the Russians) are selling uranium enrichment and air defense missile systems to the mullahs in Teheran. The condemnation from the EUnics has risen to a barely audible reprise of Dhimmi Carter’s, “tut, tut.”
The only good news is that if Dubya was right about being able to trust Putin, then the Russians are also selling us the codes to jam the air-defense systems they’re selling to Iran. Russian capitalism having progressed to the Al Capone stage, we can expect demand for continuing protection payments against both the US and Iran.
Back when nuclear weapons were an elite club of five relatively sane world powers, your average Western progressive was convinced the planet was about to go ka-boom any minute. The mushroom cloud was one of the most familiar images in the culture, a recurring feature of novels and album covers and movie posters. There were bestselling dystopian picture books for children, in which the handful of survivors spent their last days walking in a nuclear winter wonderland. Now a state openly committed to the annihilation of a neighboring nation has nukes, and we shrug: Can’t be helped. Just the way things are. One hears sophisticated arguments that perhaps the best thing is to let everyone get ’em, and then no one will use them. And if Iran’s head of state happens to threaten to wipe Israel off the map, we should understand that this is a rhetorical stylistic device that’s part of the Persian oral narrative tradition, and it would be a grossly Eurocentric misinterpretation to take it literally.