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EP PODCASTSXML

March 22, 2013

Going To Tehran

Going To Tehran coverNobody has been more correct about Iran than Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett. Their latest, Going To Tehran (Metropolitan Books, 2013), lays out the logic of successful U.S. engagement. Also the perils of failure. I may be slightly more neutral than the Leveretts as I think that absent a diplomatic breakthrough Iran could out-wait the U.S., thus avoiding a military confrontation, but I may be wrong. In any case, it was a great pleasure to talk with Flynt and I only wish he could become Secretary of State. Total runtime forty eight minutes. Fās est et ab hoste docērī.

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Comments


Excellent! I have a great deal of respect for both Hillary and Flynt.

I just cannot get why Iran is made into this tremendous enemy. I suppose it's because we're so deeply tucked in with the Saudis.

Really a shame. A natural ally against Salafi extremists.

Excellent interview, and obviously a decent man, as government types go. But such people are rarely fully and vocally condemnatory of their country's government criminality. Also, the dark role of the great rogue state in the ME--and a veritable taboo in US discussions--was missing as usual, save for a brief mention. Take Israel out of the area and suddenly there would be a very different environment (not forgetting, however, the dark role as well of the Saudis). The Zionist aims have never wavered: control of the ME and the realization of Eretz Ysrael. Their strategy is hitched to America's: redraw the map by fragmenting and destabilizing with bloody conflict everywhere. Divide et impera. I think it is indisputable that the Zionists exercise a tremendous influence on US policy: witness the standing ovation in Congress for Israel, the comedy of Brennan's appointment. And so on and on. And of course, only Israel and the US have full legitimate right to be nuclear powers in "the community of nations." Never mind that ability was stolen. Israel together with America's drive for hegemony, for "full spectrum dominance" amount to a global disaster. I believe the US gov't. has been thoroughly hijacked by interests that will eventually destroy it. Its military-industrial-security complex is out of control, and Wall St. is in the process of gutting it. The corporate state has risen its ugly head. The media are thoroughly bought and paid for, just like the Congress and even the Supreme Court.

As for Obama should be like Nixon, that is no great desideratum: the opening of China to corporations without brake or principle has contributed mightily to the hollowing out of American industry. The great problem of America is that at root it is without principle now; it is about power and money. Incidentally, regarding Nixon and Vietnam, the newly declassified documents show conclusively that already the US gov't was essentially criminal. All told, the country has been a tremendous force for evil and suffering globally--truly a predatory nation of self-righteous people, built on foundations of genocide, slavery, and theft. A true heir of "perfidious Albion," the great colonialist predator.

Fascinating conversation. The current relationship between the US and Iran is symptomatic of the US desire to maintain its global hegemony, and to maintain the US/Israeli hegemony over nuclear weapons. It's totally absurd: the US, the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons on a massive scale, has decided for the rest of the world that Iran cannot have the same weapons. Hypocritical imperialism is definitely not a sound or sustainable foreign policy, but it's unfortunately what we have in the US right now.

Well George, that was an outstanding interview; one of your best.

Flynt is obviously uber-informed and confirms my long held understanding.

Thanks so much and please, please bring him back soon.

As one who self exiled (expat), I have great respect for Flynt's integrity.

Apologies for not mentioning this in my previous comment, but I meant to add another point. What I find so truly abhorrent about the sanctions against Iran is not just that it grows out of the perpetual warmongering of the US government, rather than being based on any credible threat posed by Iran. What also should bother us immensely is that poor Iranians who have nothing to do with the way their government conducts things are suffering from these sanctions. As a result of the sanctions, many ordinary Iranians are having difficulty finding medications, leading children and others to die from treatable diseases such as hemophilia. How can Washington politicians sleep at night knowing that they're punishing millions of ordinary Iranians who have little to no say about how their government is run? Even more perverse is the fact that these sanctions actually empower the hardliners in Iran and make it harder for reformists to effectuate change there, as they can paint the reformists as being aligned with the imperialistic west. From both a strategic and moral perspective, these sanctions are a total disaster, and millions of innocent Iranians who pose no threat to the US are suffering in the crossfire.

The primary reason for the contemporary demonization of Iran is that that country's autonomy is no longer useful to ruling elements in the US, UK and Israel. From the 1970s onwards to 2003, all of the major Arab states that have tried to assert their independence vis-a-vis the US-UK-Israeli troika have fallen, starting with Nasserist Egypt, passing by Saudi Arabia under King Faisal, and finally with the destruction of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Technically there is Baathist Syria which holds out, but the Syrian government is being primarily being targeted because of its alliance with Russia and Iran. With the Arabs crushed, the Turks already firmly in the Western camp, and the Pakistanis too torn by internal problems and too focused on India to do much else, there is little tolerance for an autonomous and energy-rich Iran as it is no longer needed to neutralize any other Muslim power.

The only way that Iran could "redeem" itself in the eyes of the above troika would be to become a front-line state against Russia or China. In the 1990s, the Iranians did flirt with such a role by working with the US to bring foreign mujahideen to Bosnia during the wars of Yugoslav succession.

Again after 2003 when the Iraqi Sunni rebels were at their most daring, there was another period of accommodation with Iran to jointly suppress these rebels.

However, these tactical accommodations ultimately did not amount to a lasting partnership. On a regional level, the present ruling configuration in Tehran has decided that some measure of Arab sympathy is crucial. On a broader Eurasian level, it has decided that a long-term understanding with Russia and China is also indispensable. Having failed to bring to power other elements of the Iranian state and society that might have a different perspective and with direct military confrontation deemed (thus far) too costly to undertake, the US, UK and Israeli troika is left with little else but to wage economic blockade and psychological warfare against Iran.

Once again, as I have argued before, an Western alliance with Iran against Salafi-Wahhabi terror groups is a no-starter as these groups are already infiltrated by nearly every interested intelligence agency and have minimal political potential.

As for the West dumping the Saudis for the Iranians, that is also a non-starter because the Saudi regime for ideological, institutional and generational reasons (all the candidates for the throne are about Chernenko's age and vigor) is much less stable than its Iranian rival and therefore needs foreign support more and will make more concessions as a result. The only way such an alliance might work would be if there was a tight Sino-Pakistani-Saudi alliance formed that excluded Iranian interests. Yet it is highly improbable that the Chinese leadership would abandon its simultaneous cultivation of both the Iranians and the Gulf Arabs to pick one to the exclusion of the other. Frankly, China needs secure access to the energy resources of both.

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