Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu lays it out:
I think to fully translate understanding into actions, we must address the question of whether the world can live with a nuclear Iran. For a lot of influential people, and I suppose for some of the people here today, a nuclear-armed Iran would certainly be a danger, but perhaps I think it wouldn’t be a new danger. After all, the Soviets had nuclear weapons. They were contained. So, too, it is argued, a nuclear-armed Iran could be also contained.
But the Soviet Union is far different and was far different from what we see today in Iran. The Soviets certainly had global, ideological ambitions, but in international affairs, they acted with supreme rationality. Every time the Soviets were faced with a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose survival: in Berlin, in Cuba and elsewhere. And to the best of my knowledge, there were not many Soviet suicide bombers.
The Iranian regime is different. They’re driven by a militant ideology that is based on an entirely different set of values, a value system that may seem entirely irrational to us but is pervasive, very powerful, among those competing for leadership among the Islamic militants.
Look at what happened nearly a decade ago in another part of this militant world. The Taliban allowed al Qaeda, operating on its soil, to dispatch terrorists to bomb New York, this city, and to bomb Washington. Now, what were they thinking? Did they think that the greatest power in the world would simply ignore mass destruction in its cities? Did they think that the United States of America would ignore an attack on its financial center, on its military headquarters, on its capital city? Were they that stupid? Or were they instead driven not by cool reason but by a fiery fanaticism that overcomes normal logics?
Iran sends children into mine fields. Iran denies the Holocaust. Iran openly calls for Israel’s destruction. Iran empowers Hezbollah with rockets and has overtaken half of Lebanon. Iran empowers Hamas with rockets, has overtaken Gaza and half of the Palestinian polity. Iran has sent saboteurs and terrorist squads into Egypt. Iran sends tentacles into the Yemen and threatens directly Saudi Arabia. Iran sends weapons into South America. This is what they do today when they don’t have nuclear weapons. Think of what they will do tomorrow when they do have them.
It is very hard for modern men and women to come to terms with the role of irrationality in human affairs. We tend to think that people and states are driven solely by interests, by a sober calculation of cost and benefit. We must recognize that those who glorify death and those who dispatch hordes of suicide bombers are not driven by grievances which can be addressed or by a despair which can be alleviated.
We must recognize that there are wide-eyed true believers, even mad believers in the world. There are fanatics who subscribe to a twisted creed and they are willing to pay any price of its realization. And they are driven by a fervent hope that they will succeed at any price.
Shakespeare advises to see the method in the madness. But facing today’s militants in the Greater Middle East, we should be well-advised to see the madness in the method — to recognize that not everyone is constrained by the calculus of cost and benefit that has been associated with nuclear weapons; to recognize that some people, organizations and regimes might act in ways that no one has acted since the advent of the era of nuclear peace that has followed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We must not allow the world’s most dangerous regimes to possess the world’s most dangerous weapons. This is the single greatest challenge of our time, and we must not fail to address it.
Full interview here.