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Iran and the Straw Man

July 1st, 2014 - 2:28 pm

iranian_straw_man_7-1-14-1

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.)

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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.
29 weeks ago
29 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.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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The photo, Obama's modern style. lol
27 weeks ago
27 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.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The photo's hay but that's okay.
29 weeks ago
29 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..
29 weeks ago
29 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...
29 weeks ago
29 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...
29 weeks ago
29 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...
29 weeks ago
29 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.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Honestly, I have been surrounded by expats for years and only the Americans ever mention the empire...absolutely only!
29 weeks ago
29 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.
29 weeks ago
29 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?

29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment

The power of self-delusion is awesome to behold.
29 weeks ago
29 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.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Au Contraire, Berlin looked even *more* modern than most cities. Germany was considered one of the most sophisticated and "civilized" countries on the planet. Hence the resulting shock....

(in other words, good point!)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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