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Iran and the Straw Man

July 1st, 2014 - 2:28 pm

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The estimable Sohrab Ahmari of the indispensable Wall Street Journal editorial page does some helpful reporting from London, telling us about leading British advocates of a deal with Iran.  Mr. Ahmari thereby confirms the durability of that famous line about the newspaper: “Interesting paper — opinion on the news pages and news on the editorial pages.”

He interviewed three leading proponents of making deals with the Khamenei regime, and they trot out the usual “arguments,” above all the presumed importance of giving international support to the  imagined moderation of President Rouhani, so that the presumed hard-liners around Supreme Leader Khamenei will be forced to make concessions.  Of the three, the best-known is former Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who talks about a recent trip to Iran as if it were a Western metropolis:

“Tehran looks and feels these days more like Madrid or Athens than it does, say, Mumbai or Cairo,” he wrote in a January op-ed.

“I know that Tehran is not Madrid,” Mr. Straw told me. “My point was that’s what the city felt like from the narrow perspective of the journeys that I was making. That was all. It feels more like those cities, Athens too, it felt to my entirely subjective judgment, than, I think, Cairo or Mumbai — what it felt like looking out from the car.”

Which gives a fairly alarming picture of strategic “analysis” by one of Great Britain’s most influential characters.

But then, we already knew a great deal about Jack Straw’s vision of the Islamic Republic.  He was the mastermind of one of the many failed attempts to set up a grand bargain between the United States and Iran, back when George W. Bush was in the White House and Condi Rice was at Foggy Bottom.  Straw convinced Rice that the time was ripe for settling matters with the mullahs, and he arranged for the secretary of state to talk to Ali Larijani, then the West’s favorite Iranian official.  After months of talks, the Americans involved believed they had reached an agreement with Larijani — the usual deal, the Iranians promise to stop enrichment and we lift sanctions — and the signing and/or celebration affair was scheduled at UNHQ in September, 2006.  Condi and her right-hand man, Undersecretary Nicholas Burns, flew up to New York for the happy occasion, but Larijani’s plane never took off.

So Mr. Straw has not only advocated a deal with Iran, but has vigorously acted in a very British way — manipulating his U.S. colleagues — to try to accomplish it.  Many thanks to Sohrab Ahmari for showing that Straw is a man of strong convictions.  Pity they’re so dangerous for us all.

(Artwork created using multiple Shutterstock.com images.)

Top Rated Comments   
Hitler had grandiose plans to rebuild Berlin. He told the Reich's citizens, "In a few years you won't be able to recognize our cities."
He got that right, courtesy of the US Eighth Air Force and RAF Bomber Command.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm fairly certain Berlin looked like an average European capitol too, while the Nazis were gassing people to death.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (25)
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The photo, Obama's modern style. lol
1 week ago
1 week ago Link To Comment
my best friend's mother-in-law makes $83 hourly on the computer . She has been laid off for six months but last month her payment was $16801 just working on the computer for a few hours.
learn the facts here now
➊ ➨➨ ➋ ➨➨ ➌ ➨➨ WWW.FOX87.COM
2 weeks ago
2 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is no shortage of folk in Europe who conclude that they are Greece, and the US is Rome, in the saying, "To the grace that was Greece, and to the grandeur that was Rome".

Well, as long as contradictions say more than strengths about folk in Europe, paying attention to them is a waste of time.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
The photo's hay but that's okay.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Riding in a Limo down a nice street in any city tells you exactly ZERO about anything except for the potholes in the road... Jeez, all we need are some more complete idiots in government....
Read the Qur'an and learn who in hell we are talking about... Islam can do anything regardless of what it is, lie, cheat, steal, commit murder, kidnap children, set people on fire, it does not matter what, as long as it is done in the furtherance of Islam - it is forgiven.
The first order in all war is 'know your enemy' and by and large we are ignorant of our enemy... Islam is a ideology of hate for all people who are not Muslim... And a Muslim who takes a Christian for a friend is an Apostate!!
NOW DO YOU ALL GET THE PICTURE?? WE ARE DEALING WITH TERRORIST OF THE WORST STRIPE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD!!
WAKE UP BEFORE WE ARE FIGHTING THE ENEMY IN OUR STREETS..
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
The British Empire gets a bad rap. It was the best thing that happened to most of its holdings. Would India be India or a bunch of third rate satrapies without Britain?

Empires in and of themselves are not bad but, because of their size and power they become the focus for the disaffected from everywhere...
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
The British Empire was a mixed bag. The Brits no doubt brought many benefits to some of their colonies in terms of political organization and modern infrastructrure, but they also brought about a great deal of misery. All while exploiting all of their colonies - both the natives and their own nationals who settled there.

The Brits were, of course, throughout the 17th and 18th centuries extremely efficient African slave traders, lest they miss out on any profit opportunities as they built their vast plantations in the Americas. The Brits also industrialized the trade in tea ... but in order to come up with the necessary means of paying for the Chinese tea, they introduced tens of millions of Chinese to the joys of mass opium addiction, to the consternation of the Chinese Emperor, imported through their Hong Kong colony that was special-purpose built for that "trade". And of course the Brits had their hand in suppressing if not wiping out various tribes of American Indians in their American colonies .. at least many of the ones the Spanish hadn't already rubbed out in Florida.

Plus of course there is the matter of British rule over her American colonies, and the indignities of the Stamp Act and later on the Tea Act and other such King's actions that led to our Declaration of Independence.

A mixed bag. The only ones who clearly profited from British colonialism were of course the Brits themselves in the British East India Company ... and the enriched Members of Parliament from the "rotten boroughs" who dominated British politics for hundreds of years.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's an excellent thumbnail review of some very complex and brutal British History.

As a side comment, too many in Britain now can't accept that they no longer are powerful or very influential. That "pukka sahib" attitude of theirs still persists in the back-chambers of their thinking, out of sight.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes that is the case indeed...I have been to India and see what they have become but never saw how they were before the English stepped in...
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Any attempt to negotiate w/ the Iranians is simply a fool's errand. Which is why our idiot gov't keeps trying...
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
In September, 1938, Munich and Berlin looked like wonderful, urban, cosmopolitan centers of the arts, architecture, sciences, and generally advanced Western culture to Neville Chamberlain, just as he was completing his meeting with the Nazis and declaring "Peace in Our Time".

That was just two months before Kristallnact, the night the Nazis rounded up and beat and killed and imprisoned half a million German Jews.

They never learn.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
By the time of Kristallnacht, the Nazis had purged most of the Jews from university faculties. To this day, the German universities have not regained their former status as pinnacles of the academic world.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
They never learned then and will not be learning now....that is why History repeats itself my friend...
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
That reminds me of the Bourbons. They never forgot, and they never learned.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Methinks some Brits simply can't get over losing their Empiah. They're always looking down their noses at "our sort".
Hence, these quotes from time to time.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jack Straw is Jewish and has a history of making unpleasant remarks about my ethnic group. I suggest if you must use this man to smear a whole ethnic group you consider his ethnicity.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jewish? I think not. Hi father's last name was Straw. His mother was named, "Joan Sylvia Gilbey" which speaks for itself. His religion is listed as Anglican.

Apparently he has a great grandmother who was Jewish. But, she was on his Mother's *Father's* side. So he's not a Jew. But even by the most loose standards, he has, what, one-eighth Jewish blood? Hell practically everyone has one-eighth*something*.

What ethnic group does Straw have a habit of making unpleasant remarks about? Apparently he's said some nasty anti-Jewish things. I don't like the man myself. But I also don't really understand your comment frankly.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only ethnicity he has referenced as regards himself is Jewish: "I come from Jewish stock".

I am English. Look up (if you want to) what he has said about us:it is absurd to judge me on the basis of what this individual has said or done.

Please look at the comment to which I replied. Apparently Jack Straw is the embodiment of the British. He most definitely is not.

3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
Honestly, I have been surrounded by expats for years and only the Americans ever mention the empire...absolutely only!
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
An American Empire? Never heard of it.

But there was this quite accurate saying once:

"The sun never sets on the British Empire."

Sounds like you've been hanging around some pretty Leftist expats. I would suggest a change in company; to those who have reality, as opposed to a narrative, as their guide.
3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Of the three, the best-known is former Foreign Minister Jack Straw, who talks about a recent trip to Iran as if it were a Western metropolis:

“Tehran looks and feels these days more like Madrid or Athens than it does, say, Mumbai or Cairo,” he wrote in a January op-ed.

“I know that Tehran is not Madrid,” Mr. Straw told me. “My point was that’s what the city felt like from the narrow perspective of the journeys that I was making. That was all. It feels more like those cities, Athens too, it felt to my entirely subjective judgment, than, I think, Cairo or Mumbai — what it felt like looking out from the car.”

Which gives a fairly alarming picture of strategic “analysis” by one of Great Britain’s most influential characters."



Okay, it's early, and I've been working a lot of late hours, so my mind is a bit foggy and my eyes are already burning from fatigue, so take it easy with me while I ask what is probably a very stupid question:


Is this parody? He didn't really say that, did he? I mean, not seriously?

3 weeks ago
3 weeks ago Link To Comment
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