The Corner

What would poor Leonidas say?

A bad media week for the West: Nancy Pelosi freelancing with a thug who has done his best to assassinate democratic reformers in Lebanon and destroy the nascent democracy in Iraq. British seamen, humiliated by Iranian hostage-takers, then return to Britain to sell their stories. British schools worried that study of the Holocaust might offend their Muslim students. Iran’s stature enhanced as the magnanimous kidnapper.And meanwhile Iran keeps plugging away to acquire nukes. Once that happens, Iran’s lunatic rhetoric and piracy become real assets in nuclear poker, since it can carefully and slowly reorder the Middle East-Lebanon, Iraq, the Gulf monarchies- and with it half the world’s oil supplies, as these future “incidents” escalate and insidiously weaken the resolve of West.

What Iran wishes is to supplant current Western worry over the “status” of their weapons’ program to  something like “do they really believe this ‘End of Days’ 12th imam stuff”. And if Ahmadinejad can soon convince Americans in Beverly Hills, Palm Beach, and Manhattan that he would prefer to take them all to Paradise with him-but might just consider a compromise about the new order in the Middle East, then what now seems crazy, ill-thought out, and self-destructive, might not seem so in the not so-distant future.

One of the advantages of going to a rough grammar and high school in the central valley of California was occasional brushes with I would call the “beserker”– these were those who appeared so down and out and crazy that they welcomed fights, arrests, expulsion, jail time — anything if they might take anyone who did not down with them.While they rarely were called on their facade of lunacy, they usually developed far more stature and reputation than otherwise warranted.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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