by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

You write:

"Iran is a proud country with an ancient history; trying to bend it to America's will through force alone is unlikely to succeed. It sees itself as an equal, as a superpower – or at least a regional superpower – in the making. However far-fetched that may seem to Americans, treating the nation like a donkey, to be controlled with carrots and sticks, is insulting to many Iranians and politically strengthens anti-American forces inside the Iranian government."

Another way of looking at this statement, at least for those who think that the causes of WWII were not entirely rooted in anachronistic dynamics and issues with no relevance beyond their original applications, is that Iran has a lot in common with Japan of the 1930's. Ancient and highly advanced (albeit barbaric in many respects) culture? Check. Justification for seeing itself as rightful leader of it's sphere of influence? Check. Arrogance? Check. Might America have bended Imperial Japan to its will had we taken a less bellicose approach?

Perhaps had we abandoned our support for China, a nation that didn't do anything for us anyway, we might have gotten along better. But we insisted on taking their side just as Americans still side with (relatively useless) Israel. And after it became obvious Japan had lied about not building gigantic war ships we embargoed them which is an act of war. We haven't embargoed Iran but that's the direction we are going.

Well, perhaps had FDR charted a wiser less bellicose course would have steered us clear of at least the Pacific part of WWII but who really imagines so? Given the nature of man and culture what you are really saying is that war is inevitable. The only question is how horrible will it be?

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