Today vs. 1935: Hyperbole or Prescience?

The International Economy, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

Today vs. 1935: Hyperbole or Prescience?


Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representative Newt Gingrich can at times be brilliantly prescient but occasionally hyperbolic. Recently, he suggested the present-day global situation bears a striking resemblance to 1935, with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's pursuit of nuclear weapoins capability--not to mention his anti-Jewish sentiments--strikingly similar to Adolft Hitler's quest in the 1930s for weapons superiority.

Which is it? Is the Gingrich assessment hyperbole, with President Ahmadinejad merely one of a number of verbose, sometimes nonsensical dictators in need of diplomatic containment? Plus, Ahmadinejad may not be as politically powerful as many analysts assume. Or is Gingrich correct, with the civilized world, beginning with Israel, at serious risk from the whims of a madman perhaps as early as by the end of this decade? Or is there an alternative assessment of the situation in Iran?

Historic parallels always pose difficulties, but Ahmadinejad is clearly a loose cannon and an embarrassment.

JAMES SCHLESINGER

Former Secretary, U.S. Defense and Energy Departments, and former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Historic parallels always pose difficulties--for there are as many differences as similarities. Hitler never achieved weapons superiority. Germany's advantage lay in superior tactics and strategic surprise. Hitler actually failed to exploit Germany's industrial capacity for fear of its impact on German living standards. Late in the war, Germany developed the V1, the V2, and jet engines--but that was already too late.

Iran, by contrast, lacks the industrial capacity and technical expertise to compete with the West. Of course, nuclear weapons can, to some extent, be "a great equalizer." In terms of weaponry, however, Iran will always be seriously outclassed. Iran can utilize nuclear deterrence, terrorism, and, in addition, sheer boldness in dealing with the outside world. Moreover, Iran's immediate neighbors have reason to fear her. Still, Ahmadinejad himself is a loose cannon--and something of an embarrassment to Iran's real leaders.

A prescient observation.

ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE

Senior Adviser, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Worried about Iran today? Consider this 2025 scenario

JACQUES ATTALI

President and Founder of PlaNet Finance, and founder and first President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

News item, two decades from now: Never, since the Cuban missile crisis over sixty years ago, has the world come closer to nuclear catastrophe than at the beginning of 2025. It took courage, certainly, in the face of folly, for leaders of the Alliance to foil the most successful attempt at atomic blackmail in the history of humanity.

Everyone knew of course that nuclear arms would one day return to the scene: too many nations and groups had access. Yet no serious episode had taken place since six years ago when terrorists exploded a radiological bomb in Singapore.

The leaders of Iran, having swallowed Turkmenistan (the top gas producer in the world), and the Shiite party of the former Iraqi state (the second largest petroleum producer in the region), made clear their ambition. This ambition was first expressed twenty years ago by the current chief of the revolution, Ahmadinejad, when he was president of Iraq: Chase the West out of the Middle East.

To reach that goal Ahmadinejad first, over the course of a decade, did everything possible to destabilize the Arab regimes and destroy the state of Israel. Then, just last week, the Iranians entered the second phase of their project: taking control of the Arab peninsula, and, with that, a good third of the world's fossil energy supply. By announcing--at the same time as their troops crossed the Strait of Hormuz--that they possessed nuclear weapons (as had been rumored for more than ten years) and long-range missiles, Iranian leaders thought none would be able to resist them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Today vs. 1935: Hyperbole or Prescience?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.