It was a phrase that seemed straight out of the movie “Dr. Strangelove”.
The Soviet Union had nuclear weapons and the missile technology to deliver them to targets in the United States.
The United States had just as many nuclear weapons and the same ICBM capacity to send them to Russia.
The reason that either side failed to use them?
If one side launched, the other would order a counter strike and neither nation would be left alive.
Both sides believed in the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” – or MAD.
This sort of “MAD”-ness kept the peace for nearly four decades of the Cold War.
Now it appears that Israel is taking a page from this very same play book.
Netanyahu adviser raises “MAD” nuclear scenario
JERUSALEM, July 9 (Reuters) – Israel must have “tremendously powerful” weapons to deter a nuclear attack or destroy an enemy that dares to launch an atomic strike, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted on Thursday as saying. National security adviser Uzi Arad, in comments to Haaretz newspaper, appeared to allude to what is widely believed to be Israel’s own nuclear arsenal and a standing policy of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD). He warned other countries they could bring about their own devastation if they launched an attack. Israel has never confirmed it has atomic arms. In excerpts on Haaretz’s English-language website of an interview to be published on Friday, Arad said he feared that if Iran became a nuclear power, five or six other states in the Middle East would follow suit. He called such a prospect a “nightmare” for Israel. “The defensive might we have must be improved and become tremendously powerful, and create a situation in which no one will dare to realise the ability to harm us,” Arad said. “And if they do dare, we will exact a full price, so that they too will not survive.”
Now when it comes to Suni Moslem nations like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, “Mutually Assured Destruction” would be a viable strategy.
After all, no rational leader would sacrifice their entire nation just to wipe Israel off the map, right?
But what about the not so rational?
What of the Shiite Muslims like Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad who believe that dying for their religion is the guaranteed way to Paradise and the martyr’s reward of 70 virgins?
What of those whose end of the world scenario includes creating a global war to hasten the coming of their promised messiah, the Mahdi?
What of those who believe the holiest act one can commit in this life is to die in such a way that you take out as many infidels as possible?
“Mutually Assured Destruction” only works if you assume the other side really doesn’t want to die.
This is what makes the fanatical followers of a death loving cult in Iran so dangerous.
Israel could have enough nuclear weaponry to destroy Iran 100 times over, but that prospect would not slow down for one moment those who have embraced violent death as the pathway to life.
This is why first of all, Iran must not be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
But second of all, it is also why the same old solutions to conflicts like diplomacy, economic sanctions, and even mutually assured destruction are hopelessly ineffective in dealing with this threat.
Until Israel, the United States and the rest of the world recognize the spiritual component driving the policy of the mullahs in Iran we are courting disaster.
And if the root of the problem is spiritual, so is the remedy.
Don’t get me wrong.
The political upheaval that has transpired following the less than subtle rigged elections in Iran doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.
The powers that be in the West need to do all they can politically to support this yearning for freedom.
But even if this protest movement is successful, all it will do is place into power a man like Mir-Hossein Mousavi who had no qualms about sending children to their deaths as human mine sweepers during the Iran/Iraq war of the 80’s.
And lest we forget, it was Mousavi who started Iran on its mad course for nuclear weaponry.
If the rulers of Iran, whoever they may be, continue their mad dash for the ultimate WMD, military intervention will inevitably be necessary as well.
But the ultimate way to change a nation is to change the hearts of her people. And the only hope for real and lasting change is for the Iranian people to have the opportunity to hear about the true Messiah, Jesus.
Let’s continue to pray for the radio and internet outreaches that share the message of Christ in Iran.
Even more, let’s continue to pray for the courageous Iranian believers in Jesus who are risking their lives daily to reach their own people with God’s liberating love.
Old Cold War style approaches to conflict management will simply not work in this religiously superheated region.
What is really needed is not the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Destruction” but the doctrine of “Mutually Assured Salvation”- the truth that can lead this region out of the valley of the shadow of death.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
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