Saul Singer at PostGlobal

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer, a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post, is co-author of the forthcoming book, Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle. He has also written for the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, Middle East Quarterly, Moment, the New Leader, and bitterlemons.org (an Israeli/Palestinian e-zine). Before moving to Israel in 1994, he served as an adviser in the United States Congress to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Banking Committees. He is also on Twitter. Close.

Saul Singer

Jerusalem, Israel

Saul Singer is a columnist and former editorial page editor at the Jerusalem Post. more »

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Drop the Defeatism, A United West Can Triumph

This must be a trick question. But I'll take it straight.

I wonder if the polls in the 1930s showed that Europeans thought Winston Churchill was a bigger threat that Adolf Hitler. Churchill wanted to stand up to Hitler, after all, when many thought that one more concession would satisfy the Nazis, while confronting them would surely bring disaster.

Europeans need to get this straight: the mullahs are not going to go away even if the U.S. dropped its opposition to a nuclear Iran entirely. Bush is not driving this contest, the mullahs are. The mullahs believe that the West does not have the will to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that once they have them, the path to expanding their influence through the Middle East and the world will be straight forward. One day, one way or another, they believe they will even be able to destroy Israel, should they so choose.

They will not, of course, have to fire a nuke right away. All they have to do is start creating crises that raise the price of oil, engineer a radical Shiite regime in Iraq (after driving the U.S. out in defeat), use Hezbollah to take over Lebanon and ensure that the Palestinians will never cut a deal with Israel, start bringing down moderate Arab regimes, watch people and money flee an Israel under terrorist attack and a nuclear shadow.

Some Europeans evidently are content to aim for being the last one eaten by the crocodile. But why? Why the defeatism, when America and Europe have the power to face Iran down without firing a shot? Even limited sanctions are having an impact and causing opposition to the regime to grow. Imagine if the two companies, one Indian and one Dutch, providing Iran with 40 percent of its gasoline, were to cut off that supply?

There is no escaping that confronting Iran entails risks. But not doing so guarantees that Iran will impose much greater pain on the West at the time of its choosing.

Before Ayatollah Khomeini took over from the Shah, Western leaders and experts assured everyone that he was not a politician, would not install a clerical regime, and would not impose Shariah law on Iran. These experts neither read, nor would they believe, the Persian tracts that spelled out what Khomeini would do, and did.

Today, the same people assure us that Iran just wants to defend itself and will actually become more moderate if it obtains nukes. This is nonsense. When they say they want to dominate the world, they mean it. And why shouldn't they, if no one will stop them?

The longer we wait to stop Iran, the harder it will be. We are still in a window when non-military means may work. If the U.S. and Europe lead together, Russia and China will not be able to stand in the way. All we have to fear, as one great president said, is fear itself.

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