70% of all American Jews voted for Obama. They are focused, not on Israel, but generally speaking on America. Many young Jews cannot tell you who Netanyahu is. They may offer Israel support on the Palestinians, but on bombing Iran they think as most Americans think, that is “you have to be joking!” There is no American Jewish desire for yet another war. (Peter Beinart in the The Observer).
That’s a relief! An assault on Iran is not like an assault on Iraq. Iran is a huge country with a good army and, despite a pitiless regime, a very nationalistic electorate (Iranian pride and touchiness is legendary). Attack Iran at your peril!
Epicureans don’t relish religious regimes, especially brutal and corrupt ones. Even less do they relish new wars about nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are totally useless – unless you are surrounded by them as Iran is (Israel, Russia, Pakistan, India). The best guarantee of regional peace is allowing Iran a modest nuclear force in the knowledge that, were ever used by the mullahs, Iran would be incinerated in minutes. But at least it would reduce their paranoia.
An important aspect of Epicureanism is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to understand their point of view and their constraints. The wild stupidities of the Iranian regime have domestic political roots – the fact that most Iranians are deeply insulted by Israeli West Bank settlement building. Ordinary people want something done about it – what they get is rhetoric. That is all they are likely to get. It is significant that even some of the mullahs (not known suicide candidates) want Ahmadinejad, blamed for the economic turmoil, to quieten the rhetoric. Netanyahu has kept quiet about Iran during the election period. He doesn’t even have the support of his own secret service for an assault on Iran. What he should be doing is to arrange a non-aggression pact with Iran, a deal. Calm the anxiety.
The Epicurean point is that you cannot solve problems if you cannot comprehend the motivations of both sides of an issue. Pretty damn obvious? Not in the Middle East, apparently.