Get PJ Media on your Apple

Faster, Please!

The Myth of Iranian Partnership

October 6th, 2013 - 7:15 pm

Dexter Filkins is a good reporter and an honest man, but he’s been gulled by an American diplomat.  He’s bought into one of the silly myths that unfortunately define the way American policy makers and intellectuals think about Iran.

In his long essay about Quds Force commander General Suleimani in the New Yorker, Mr. Filkins quotes Ryan Crocker, one of our better diplomats, about dealing with Iran.  Crocker had been meeting with Suleimani on the eve of the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, shortly after 9/11.

“Crocker sensed that the Iranians were growing impatient with the Bush Administration, thinking that it was taking too long to attack the Taliban,” Filkins tells us.  Actually, it wasn’t too hard to sense their mood, since “the lead Iranian negotiator stood up and slammed a sheaf of papers on the table. ‘If you guys don’t stop building these fairy-tale governments in the sky, and actually start doing some shooting on the ground, none of this is ever going to happen!’ he shouted. ‘When you’re ready to talk about serious fighting, you know where to find me.’ He stomped out of the room. ‘It was a great moment,’ Crocker said.”

If you say so.  A bit too melodramatic for my tastes, but great moments are in the eyes of the beholder.  Anyway, Filkins-citing-Crocker tells us that we were getting along well with the Iranians (we were swapping “information”) until the cowboy in the White House wrecked everything:

The good will didn’t last. In January, 2002, Crocker, who was by then the deputy chief of the American Embassy in Kabul, was awakened one night by aides, who told him that President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union Address, had named Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil.” Like many senior diplomats, Crocker was caught off guard. He saw the negotiator the next day at the U.N. compound in Kabul, and he was furious. “You completely damaged me,” Crocker recalled him saying. “Suleimani is in a tearing rage. He feels compromised.” The negotiator told Crocker that, at great political risk, Suleimani had been contemplating a complete reëvaluation of the United States, saying, “Maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship with the Americans.” The Axis of Evil speech brought the meetings to an end. Reformers inside the government, who had advocated a rapprochement with the United States, were put on the defensive. Recalling that time, Crocker shook his head. “We were just that close,” he said. “One word in one speech changed history.”

Diplomats, like intellectuals, take words very seriously, and Crocker was furious that Bush had called out the Iranians.  But then, presidents take words seriously too, and Crocker might have understood the moment better if he’d asked himself if perhaps the president knew something that the dips didn’t.  He could have asked me, too, because this was one of the few occasions on which I actually knew something that most of the world, evidently including distinguished men like Crocker, did not:  that the Iranians were busily sending killers into Afghanistan with orders to assassinate American troops there.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
" Arab spring ", " charm offensive " - Who comes up with this nonsense?

What IS offensive is the attempt to charm. It offends both the eye and the intellect. As if a smile can distract from a knife held at your throat.

What is going on is nothing but crude propaganda. The mislabeling of obvious intention.

The Iranians and other muslim nations respect only brute force. That is not going to change over tea and biscuits whoever does the pouring.

47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (24)
All Comments   (24)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
my best friend's half-sister makes $72/hour on the internet. She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her pay was $17065 just working on the internet for a few hours. view it now........ WWW.Rush64.COM
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
as Debbie said I'm impressed that someone able to get paid $4020 in four weeks on the internet.. .......:>WWW.JOBS60.ℂOM
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nuke the Iranians first and all the other muslims second,
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"As one who acts weary, shooting arrows, darts, and death and says: I am only playing"

While King Solomon was directly referring to gossippers (a.k.a. journalists), the Rabbis also applied it to Ishmael. WAY before Islam.

(Yes, I know Iranians aren't Arabs. But the culture has sunk in.)
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
EDIT BUTTON!! YAY!!!!!!
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your article/reporting is consistent with my analysis then and now; and I'm just a country boy who watches actions and deduces intentions, and understands the meaning of words that are inconsistent with actions...What part of two faced...,that is at war with us, do people/authorities not understand? I do not believe naive explains the phenomena that we are observing....
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kindly pardon my confusion, but what does Iran hope to accomplish in the long run? World domination? Preposterous. A new ME caliphate? Also preposterous. They're a small country with a broken government and without the support of most of their citizens. And, their "evil" cousins, the Sunnis, are taking every opportunity to destroy their clients and would very much like to destroy them as well. I suspect that the illegitimate rulers of Iran are only trying to survive and are using every ruse in the book to obtain that end.... kind of like what's his name in NK.

Am I missing something?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
"World domination? Preposterous."

What time frame are you using? I'm assuming their goal of world domination is one they don't quite expect to happen before the end of the century, though they will be very happy if it does occur. In any case, they think they have Allah on their side, so it will happen eventually.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Persians have been a thorn in the side of all about them since time immemorial. Why should now be any different. It's what they do. It's who they are. If Leonidas had had nukes...
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Reading the news- the latest from Fars News (Revolutionary Guards' Pravda)= there was a tripatriate meeting in Kabul (Afghanistan-USS-Iran) whereby US asked for Iran's partnership in Infrastructural Projects in Afghanistan (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=1392071500040). Then US State dept. is launching soccer diplomacy with Iran (from Putin's Russia- http://en.rian.ru/sport/20131008/183995407/US-Iran-Soccer-Game-Ideal-for-Diplomacy-US-State-Dept.htm) Then from an unnamed source- Iran will be attending the Syrian Peace Talks as a participant.The problem is not with Suleimani/Iran- the problem is US policies of establishing relations with Iran that are not based in reality on the ground.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very disappointing that Mr. Ledeen takes Crocker's quote out of context.

I read Filkins' entire profile of Suleimani, and the only conclusion was that no one can trust Suleimani or Iran2013.

In fact, Dexter Filkins and The New Yorker did everyone a great service by publishing this just before Obama chased down Rouhani.

No one should only read "ideologically correct" media.

btw, The New Yorker stopped allowing comments on their blog posts because they got freaked out by all their very independent subscribers.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
We always seem to hear that the enemy was planning on changing its tune on Monday morning except for the bad things we said on Friday afternoon. While I have no doubt that Arab and Muslim pride are a continuing stumbling block if they decide that it's in their best interests to change their tune, they will do so.

In the run up to the war in Iraq there were two nytimes correspondents that I remember giving reports nearly every day: (old) John Burns and (young) Dexter Filkens. I was impressed a lot with Burns. Filkens, not so much.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's so refreshing to read you Ledeen in times like these: you exhibit the restraint and respect which indicate you are a serious person, and you uncover just enough truth to utterly dissolve silly statements like those from Crocker echoed via Filkins. They were such that I knew they smelled, but it was only until I came here and saw you looking at them, then shaking your head, that I realized why they were so ridiculous.

Thanks for that :-)
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All