The danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and the world is directly related to these weapons. Iran may never actually deploy these weapons or even threaten to deploy them against her perceived enemies, but having them might make her feel freer to embark on a more aggressive and expansionist foreign policy, including providing support to a growing assortment of rogue regimes, sectarian militias, death squads and terrorist networks under the belief that her nuclear arsenal would shield her from any serious repercussions.
Imperialism is product of power, and a manifestation of our lingering autocratic tendencies. There is an imperialist impulse inherent in every state and it manifests itself in ways commensurate with her power. Only free and empowered people acting inside each state can ever check that impulse. This is why empowering people is important. This is why the fight for democracy is important. Democracies can come together to establish real lasting alliances, but the best that can be achieved in case of autocracies is limited-scope agreements and temporary truces.
A rare point of agreement between the critics and advocates of a deal with Iran starkly captures the nature of my own disaffection with it and with the current state of affairs in our world. The point simply put is this: the deal is being inked with Syrian, Iraqi and Yemeni blood.
I was honored to take part in the launch of Freedom Matters! – “a supplemental curriculum developed to help high school students connect the foundations of freedom to today’s global struggles for liberty,” prepared by the wonderful people at the Bush Institute.
The answer to the extremism prevalent in Muslim communities around the world will not come from any allegedly “enlightened” or “moderate” set of religious scholars, but from the average Muslims’ changing attitude towards religiosity. Historical precedents have indeed shown that the religious establishment has often to play catchup with the people in this matter. In the meantime, however, establishment figures, motivated by a variety of ideological and parochial considerations, will often lead the fight against modernization using the pulpits and whatever social, economic and political institutions under their control.