The assumption that the Iranians are “rational” in the way we normally understand that term is open to doubt. If promiscuous women can cause earthquakes, what kinds of human behavior, one wonders, might cause a nuclear bomb to detonate or be detonated?One of the most valuable observations I've read in the past few years came from Ralph Peters, who wrote that we should view citizens of other countries as though they're extraterrestrials. They may look like us, but they don't think the way we do:
The point isn't to argue that Afghans [or Iranians] are inferior beings. It's just that they're irreconcilably different beings - more divergent from our behavioral norms than the weirdest crew member of the starship Enterprise.That's the right approach, I think.
As an analytical exercise, try to understand Afghanistan [or Iran] as a hostile planet to which we have been forced, in self-defense, to deploy military colonies. How do the bizarre creatures on that other planet view us? What do they want? What will they accept? Is killing us business, pleasure - or both?