In my lifetime I've heard and read Christian apocalyptic preachers and writers portray Soviet armies surrounding Jerusalem in prelude to the End, sometimes Soviet & Chinese troops (Gog and Magog). I've heard and read the Antichrist and the Beast identified with almost everyone from Henry Kissinger to the EU to supercomputers. Now, books and lecturers are appearing with Iran and its current leader cast in the end-time roles. I am sceptical of the identification, based on past experience, but, durned if the times don't feel apocalyptic: the leader of a trying-very-hard-to-be-a-nuclear-power Muslim nation, who believes himself and his nation to have a God-ordained role in the revelation of the Hidden Imam, threatening to put Israel into a "permanent coma." We have been cursed with interesting times indeed.

It is almost enough to make me nostalgic for the Politburo. At least those atheists did not really want to die. For them the perks were all in this world with nothing beyond. MAD only works if both sides really, really do not want to die. For the Mad Mullahs of Tehran, on the other hand, the right kind of death increases the perks. Once they get nukes, the old models of deterence will not work. If not Armageddon, then at least a dress rehearsal.