Saturday, September 29, 2012

Let's Explore Rational Thinking

Iran's failure to recognize The Onion as a humor site rather than a news site is surely funny. But we should keep this in mind when a crisis with Iran arises and we think we can "signal" Iran with actions or words that will keep the crisis from spinning out of control.

Iranian government hacks believe ordinary Americans side with Ahmadinejad:

Still basking in the glory of his latest appearance at the U.N., Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now heads back to Tehran with his head held high after winning yet more American hearts and minds. As the Islamic Republic's official news agency, Fars, reports this morning, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday "the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama."

But there is a deadly serious side of this if Israel attacks Iran's nuclear programs. We appear to think we can insulate ourselves from Iranian anger based on an Iranian assumption that we'd help our ally Israel, and prevent a regional war. If we think we can signal Iran with statements and movements of our ships--in the middle of a crisis, no less--we're not thinking rationally. We have no idea how Iran will read our signals.

While we are saying and doing things we believe will calm the situation, it is highly likely that Iran will not hear or see those signals in the way we intend. And we will miss early opportunities to use our military power to knock Iran down before the Iranians can do some damage while they can get their shots in.

Remember, Iranian officials believed Americans like Ahmadinejad more than President Obama! They could talk themselves into believing--for some other farcical reason--that we are too weakened by such beliefs to confront Iran in a crisis.

In a hilarious addendum, The Onion article has been amended:

For more on this story: Please visit our Iranian subsidiary organization, Fars.

Face it, we have no idea what they believe is rational.