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We also live in circumstances where people like Ahmadinejad, who is a fanatical Muslim, has nuclear powers – is at least aspiring towards getting one. Pakistan has one. Egypt wants one. Turkey wants one. Under those circumstances, if they succeed in acquiring these weapons of mass destruction, then we are facing . . . we’re facing terrible times. Meaning if you look at the western evolution towards modernity and the progress that we have reached now, those weapons were not there. There were mass murders. There were genocides. There were lots of, you know, all those things that human beings do to each other; but having nuclear weapons just makes things so much more dramatic. It’s not easy times. That’s the very pessimistic and most urgent thing that we need to look at now. Another observation is if you look at all the conflicts in the world today, you will be surprised at the number of Muslims entangled in conflict among themselves, with China, with Prussia, with the west. We are only one-fifth of the world population. Having so many enemies all at the same time is very self-destructive. Now if the fanaticism within the Muslim world that is now being fed by the fact that if we die, the hereafter is going to be a better place, then it’s very difficult to stop that. But if that is diluted – I always like to see the cup as half full – that there will be voices, and that they will be strong enough to say that it’s madness to commit . . . to kill and to be killed because of this belief in the hereafter, and make the belief in the hereafter relative when things could look better; but on the very short term it looks like things will look bad. I think for people to understand it, they should probably see pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that was pretty much a primitive bomb. The bombs that they are trying to make now are far more advanced and can kill far more people, and with consequences for decades for the places that are . . . that will be affected. Someone like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current President of Iran, has made it very clear that he is able . . . he is willing and he is able to acquire that bomb, and he is going to use it. He has declared war on the state of Israel. When the leader of one country tells the leader of another country, "I’m going to wipe you off the map," that, according to international declarations, is a declaration of war. Ever since he came to power, he made it very clear – pretty much like Hitler when he came to power – that he was going in that direction. Now the first reaction was understandable, where you see, "We should negotiate this man. Let’s understand what he has to say. Let’s talk to him. Let’s use sanctions," and so on. But you always have to have that military option – the option of force on the table. And my criticism of the European Union leadership is that that is off the table. Yes. He has made it very clear that he is going to use it. And not only that. He is already financing and disrupting the U.S. policy and western policy in the Middle East. And he is trying to become very dominant in that region. And so he is someone who is very much . . . He’s very self-assured because the usual mode of detriment, you know . . . deterring someone from doing something, which are always material and worldly, are things he doesn’t believe in. He welcomes death. And in that region, it’s not the . . . I’m not saying that everyone there believes that; but part of the radical Islamic doctrine is to believe that things will be better in the hereafter. So people welcome death. Not all of them, but many of them and those engaged in that welcome death. Which means the old forms of deterring people from doing things such as acquiring a bomb or using it – that the old methods – the sanctions and so on – that’s not something that’s going to make any impression on him. Recorded on: 8/15/07


Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Iran and...

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