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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, February 08, 2016

The "Existential" Threat of Iran

"A threat is stronger than its execution."

That is a cardinal tenet of chess.

In no other game that I know of are threats such a large element. A player tries to think of threats he can make with each move, while he also tries to remain just as constantly on guard against his opponents’ counter-threats.

 Usually when a threat is spoken of in chess, the term is modified only by an adjective denoting its strength.. Yet, in my nearly seven decades of playing and otherwise following the game, never have I heard or read any chess player or chess writer using B. Netanyahu’s pretentious and by him badly overworked modifier, “existential,” in connection with a threat or anything else.

 Isn’t it interesting that in this world filled with intellectuals, the term “existential” is bandied about as if everyone understands what it means, though I deeply suspect that nothing could be farther from the truth, and that the real reason why no one ever bothers to do the less enlightened of us a service by taking a moment to define it is because they’re actually quite fuzzy on that score themselves, and they’re just blindly following Netanyahu’s lead. He is the one who has popularized it, so they probably assume that  it must denote something highly important or else he would have long since been called out on it. However, it is quite likely that by this time even Mr. Yahu has forgotten that meaning, and he knows only that it has a certain ring and it has something to do with the ram's horn blasts that he regularly sounds out from the mountaintop, warning the world about Iran..

 In that connection I keep waiting, in vain, for experts to give a reasonable explanation of how other countries that have long had nuclear missiles bursting their britches can justify keeping the large, important, sovereign nation of Iran from having any. The 100 or so American embassy hostages that the Iranians held for a year without killing any of them and eventually released, way back in 1981, are just not enough, and after that what else does anyone have?

I have a neighbor up the road who considers himself to be well informed and highly moral, yet he, a true and “typical” American, believes that the Iranians should be prevented from developing a nuclear bomb, on the grounds that they would pass that know-how on to nearby local terrorists with less scruples – as if such a weapon could be jury-rigged in one of those roadside gun smithies that seem to abound in the Middle East.

 Those who are so taken with Netanyahu, like perhaps my neighbor, don’t seem to have noticed that Yahu’s needle is always stuck in the same old groove, and thanks to him the notion has spread that, if millions of their civilians are not summarily murdered first, by sanctions and by bombs, the Iranians will develop a nuclear weapon “this year.” But that awful moment is taking so long to arrive – over two decades now and counting – that now it is understood only in terms of geological time.


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