Boys will be boys....
If you think Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes outlandish comments, consider what Mao Tse-tung said to a visiting head of state in 1954: If someone else can drop an atomic bomb, then I can too. The death of 10 or 20 million people is nothing to be afraid of.
Nonetheless, 15 years later, a nuclear-armed China was not only contained by the world, it opted for normalization of relations with its archenemy, the United States. Today, it is fashionable to equate Ahmadinejad with Hitler, yet the lesson of the 20th century is that rash leaders can, in fact, be deterred. And Iran's president will prove no exception.
Remember that Ahmadinejad’s comments are not even unique in the context of Iranian discourse. In 2001, the former Iranian president and putative moderate, Hashemi Rafsanjani, declared that although Israel would be destroyed by an atomic bomb, the Islamic world would only be damaged by one and therefore such a scenario is not inconceivable. Nevertheless, four years later, when Rafsanjani was running for president, Washington and its European allies were eagerly hoping that he would win.
We should have ignored Hitler even longer, maybe we could have avoided the second world war.