To Understand Iran’s Nuclear Program, Wake Up to the Falsehood of the Old Order

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Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran's nuclear agency and Iran's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi, in Vienna, in September.
Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran's nuclear agency and Iran's Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kazem Gharib Abadi, in Vienna, in September.Credit: Lisa Leutner,AP

Iran, if it truly wants to, if it decides to cross the abyss, and it’s doubtful whether it will ultimately seek to do so, will have nuclear weapons – despite the declaration by new Mossad chief David Barnea and all the other bombastic pronouncements we’ve heard. This isn’t a prophecy but a clear analysis of the impotent context this saga is taking place in.

It’s enough to consider Syria, Belarus, Afghanistan, China, Ukraine or Myanmar to realize how limited, if at all present, is the old order’s capability to really shape today’s reality. It’s enough to consider the Glasgow climate summit to understand how irrelevant the old order is.

When I say “capability” I don’t mean military capability or the power of money or anything else – the old order has these in spades. But the root of any capability lies in a mental state, aspiration, resolve. All these, as anyone can see, have long been unavailable to those still posturing as the people managing world affairs.

Maybe it has always been so. Maybe there has always been a huge gap between the posing and the realization of the goals. But now this gap, this show, the Western world’s impotence in the face of every challenge, is there for everyone to see. This, after all, is the great message of freedom trumpeted on social media.

We have to take this into account when considering the Iranian nuclear plan, this years-long saga that, apparently from its inception, has been an act on both sides. All the global community’s attempts to decide who can possess nuclear weapons and who cannot – this hypocritical game where some countries are allowed and others aren’t – attests more than anything to how broken the political game is.

After all, literature, which strives to explain the mechanics of reality, teaches us that everything that appears in this world will ultimately reach everyone. A world where there is one nuclear weapon is a world that will ultimately be completely nuclearized, one way or another.

All the rest is self-deception or manipulation, probably both, employed by power structures against themselves and the public that finances them. In our revolutionary times, shows that have gone on for a long time, well-engineered poses, big and empty words, no longer hold water.

This is true for the Iranian story as for the false prosperity created for us by central banks around the world in recent years, with promises that inflation won’t happen. I noted a year and a half ago that the illusion of a false prosperity created by central banks was aimed at blurring reality and denying the changes going on.

The column quoted the economic philosopher Joseph Schumpeter, who wrote in 1934 that a true recovery is possible only if it happens on its own. Any recovery that derives from an artificial blood transfusion leaves undone some of what a recession should achieve, adding more residues of old and new incompatibilities that will also have to be dismantled, leaving economies threatened with worse recessions in the future.

To a large extent, Schumpeter’s insight is the key to our epoch. It relates to our self-cannibalism. The need to wake up from the falsehood of the crumbling old order is critical for our survival.

Only those who achieve this will ultimately know how to manage human societies in a reality where the great powers have no poses, where everyone has nuclear weapons. This is the only reality we’ll have to contend with.

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