Relax, Iran Is Harmless

Ahmadinejad is just a paper tiger, Roger Cohen argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2010 12:47 PM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listen to a question during a press conference in New York on Friday Sept. 24, 2010.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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(Newser) – When Ahmadinejad last visited in New York, he had breakfast with Roger Cohen—because, Cohen writes in the New York Times, “Ahmadinejad’s passion for the hidden Imam, whose imminent return he expects, is matched only by his passion for Western media.” Cohen didn’t even bother reporting the meeting at first—Ahmadinejad just doled out his usual helping of “headline-grabbing lunacy.” These pronouncements have made him a “media star and villain,” but what else have they amounted to? “Not a whole lot beyond unnecessary misery for 71 million isolated Iranians.”

“Ahmadinejad is odious, but I don’t think he’s dangerous,” Cohen writes. But plenty of people “find it convenient to find him dangerous.” They spout dire warnings about the Iranian nuclear program—which “like the Middle East ‘peace process,’ goes on and on and on,” without end. Iran will never actually build a bomb, because it knows it would be attacked immediately. “Iran is a paper tiger, a post-modern threat." Nor will US or Israeli hawks attack it preemptively. “A third Western war against a Muslim country is a bridge too far.”

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