Iran is rational?

Rich Lowry:
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, thinks that Iran is a “rational actor.” He is indisputably correct. 
Iran has, quite rationally, concluded that if it spins thousands of centrifuges to enrich enough uranium, it will soon have the bomb. Just as rationally, it believes it can string along the West. Then there’s its airtight chain of cause and effect in the alleged plot against the Saudi ambassador to America: If it hired a Mexican drug gang, and that gang blew up a Washington, DC, restaurant, and the Saudi ambassador was dining there at the time, the ambassador would die. Q.E.D.

Gen. Dempsey said too little and too much about the Iranian regime. Tehran couldn’t have made itself into the world’s foremost exporter of terror and extended its tentacles throughout the Middle East without resorting to rational calculation. That’s obvious. What Dempsey is implying, though, is that a regime capable of such calculation can necessarily be deterred if it gets a nuclear weapon. That’s an unsupportable leap. 
If there’s one thing we should have established beyond doubt during the past decade, it is that involvement in terror attacks on American soil is extremely costly to the perpetrators. Nonetheless, according to the US government, the Iranians hatched a plot against the Saudi ambassador where the risk bore no relation whatsoever to the possible reward — from our perspective. 
More fundamentally from our perspective, there is no point in establishing a theocracy, killing innocents abroad, pursuing sectarian war, crushing protesters, denying the Holocaust and threatening Israel with annihilation, either. From the point of view of the Western liberal tradition, the Islamic Republic itself makes no sense. Yet there it is, withstanding punishing economic sanctions to pursue the weapon that the regime wouldn’t want in the first place if it accepted international norms.

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Iran's leadership is made up of religious bigots who think they are on a mission from God.  They think they will go to hell if they do not complete their mission.  To expect such people to act rationally when they perceive they can destroy their enemies is irrational in the extreme.

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