Blackadder’s Lair

The home of many a cunning plan

A Rationally Irrational Iran, Etc.

This week’s EconTalk Podcast featured Bruce Bueno de Mesquita discussing Iran, and the threat (or lack thereof) it poses to the United States. Some of the stuff in the podcast was old news to me: Ahmadinejad, while he gets a lot of attention, doesn’t have much actual power, and those who really are running things have proven to be fairly pragmatic.

Of course, the obvious question is: if the real leaders of Iran are so pragmatic, why do they let Ahmadinejad run around saying all the crazy things he does? According to Bueno de Mesquita, Iran’s actions can be seen as an example of the so-called “Madman Theory” used by Nixon in Vietnam. The basic idea is that if you act like you’re crazy (or, as the case may be, pick a President who really is crazy, but isn’t really in charge) people won’t want to mess with you. Continue reading

August 13, 2008 Posted by | Foreign Policy, Israel, Nuclear Weapons, Terrorism, War and Peace | 1 Comment