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Thursday, July 5, 2012

About Iran

By Sam Huntington

In spite of the criticism I've received from Mr. Charles, I remain undaunted; the term "American Diplomacy" is an oxymoron.

I don’t see how Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can issue press statements about the status of our negotiations with Iran. There are no negotiations. There is no diplomacy because the United States has no diplomats. The United States has no diplomats because the political process in the United States is seriously askew.

Whenever people select the least qualified politicians to lead the nation, and those individuals in turn appoint the least suited cabinet officers —as a reward for supporting a newly elected president’s campaign, then we have no basis for expecting professional leadership from cabinet officers.  Compounding the problem, the Senate, whose cup runneth over with good feelings at the initial stages of a new administration, confirms the appointments of these laggards. This isn't about the Obama administration. This is about a problem involving both political parties for far too many years. While I personally believe the presidency of Barack Obama is a failure, John McCain is presidential material in the same way New Orleans is a bastion of free-market capitalism. At some point, we should wonder how in the world we ever arrived at the point of thinking Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush the Younger, and Obama represent our best and brightest.  If they do, this country is in serious trouble.

But we were talking about American Diplomacy [sic]. Our relations with Iran have been dismal since the 1950s, when the American CIA and British MI-6 conspired to destroy a democratically elected government. After the military coup d'état, James Bond and Matt Helm helped to install Shah Mohammed Ravi Pahlavi as authoritarian monarch. Before then, he served as a constitutional monarch. Under these circumstances, and those involving more recent “regime change” strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, why should Iran trust anything the Americans have to say? The Iranians know their history, but more to the point, they also know America’s history in the Middle East.

It is impossible for a nation to suffer more than 300,000 casualties in a conflict lasting eight years, realizing that the United States allied itself with Saddam Hussein, and then believe for a second that the United States gives a damn about the Iranian people. It cannot be lost on the Iranians that the United States then turned on its ally, Saddam Hussein. These factors illustrate that the United States has involved itself in conflicts that were not in America’s best interests and certainly in contravention to President Washington’s advice in 1796.

In essence, the United States finds itself in a self-imposed quandary. No sane person wants yet another war in the Middle East. No one wants Israel to launch nuclear missiles at Iran. But Iran is stubborn, America is effeminate, and Israel will not hesitate to defend herself should Iran’s leadership actually begin to believe its own propaganda.

If this is the best we can do, diplomatically, then I think we should withdraw our embassies until we learn something about diplomacy and national interests.


  1. Not to sound too much like a Conspriracy nut but the timing is very good. We have to go to war with Iran, then a move to suspend elections because of war.

    Every foreign policy actions has been a flawless asistance to the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhpas they are returning the favor???

  2. Our government has turned itself into a lunatic farce. Whatever else it may be, it's primarily THEATER -- I've been calling it a Punch & Judy Show for years.

    The trouble is, of course, that the meaningless, worthless, useless antics they indulge in have serious CONSEQUENCES.

    To ell you the truth I doubt very much if ANYONE in power really knows –– or cares –– what's REALLY going on.

    If they do, they are either very very stupid, or very very wicked.

    I'm betting on the latter.

    INTERNATIONALISM is at the root and heart of all these machinations. The OLIGARCHS (what else could we possibly call them?) have been scheming to take away our SOVEREIGNTY and frog march us into a Brave New World of THEIR making for THEIR benefit.

    It's not the MUSLIMS we need to fear, it's the loosely-knit cabal of International Bankers, Captains of Worldwide Industry and the Owners and Suppliers of vital raw Materials. The Muslims are only one facet of the monstrous evil we must face.

    ~ FreeThinke

  3. I agree with FreeThinke. Well, pretty much. Our biggest danger is not the Muslims or any other outside influence. It is our leadership. The current administration is the most ignorant in economics and the place of the USA i foreign relations. The idiots proactively give strategic things away BEFORE negotiating.

    They are stupid, not because they are intellectually vacant, but because they have bought into failed ideologies, all the way. That is their weakness, and our scourge.

  4. Sam,

    My disagreement with you about "American Diplomacy" is that you view the State Department and the hard work of Diplomats as a singular identity and the results as being that identity's fault. That you glibbly said that America should close its' embassies until they work out how to serve your nation just proves my point that you have no idea about what is diplomacy or what is the work of your embassies.

    Using your logic you may as well close down your Treasury department for destroying your economy, DHS for not protecting your country and every other public service department for each failure that has occured.

    The reality is far from what your have perceived, that is why I argue with you on this. Do remember that I agreed with your immigration item last month.

    In fact the US's State Depatment is a great example of what can happen when political influence affects the running of US Diplomacy and the hard working officials just have to do what they are told. The US, unlike most Foreign Services, allows politicians to not only appoint who they like as Ambassadors but everyone up from Assistant-Dep-Sec and above. The rest of us only squeeze in the occassional ex politician as an Ambassador and the civil service list remains the same regardless who has taken power.

    So if your going to blame failures of US diplomats and foreign policy, blame the leadership and not the diplomats that actually work very hard every day not only protecting your interests but in fact suffer trying to clean up the mess your politicians and appointees make.

    Clarity, context and a huge reality check Sam and you'll make eventually a fine blogger.....

    Damien Charles

  5. As for Iran,

    yess your political masters screwed up Iran so badly that they are in some way to blame for the bad relationship with Iran from a modern-historical point. They did cause a coup, they propped up one of the worst meglamaniacs in the Shah and even Obama does not realise that the best way to battle Iran's leadership is by creating normality and let western culture, money and freedoms tantilize its' population.

    Churchill correctly attributed the best way to tackle radicalism is with normality as "when normality shines a light, the radicals go blind with embarassment".


  6. Odd, every Iranian I know in Los Angeles would give anything to have the Shah back....i'm just sayin'.

    Mr. Charles, are you a blogger? I have to say that I don't think what makes a "fine blogger" is agreeing with Damien Charles, right?
    I think you're right about not labeling everyone in diplomatic service for the sins of what's happening now, but a good writer can't single out the excellent and call them by name; Sam uses the term "American diplomacy" as a generalization and it works for these purposes..there are excellent diplomats around, I'm sure. I hope, anyway.

    You are correct about Europeans and diplomats. In America, we select ambassadors from a list of the new president's college buddies...In Europe, it was my experience that those who are in diplomatic circles studied for the diplomatic life. How they solve the problem of politics not jiving with a new president is beyond me, but something seems to work.

    I could not agree with more on this : "Obama does not realise that the best way to battle Iran's leadership is by creating normality and let western culture, money and freedoms tantilize its' population."

    I'm not sure we have time for that anymore, but it was a good idea and I believe it was one Bush Jr used.

    Do you think Obama should have helped the Iranians when they were protesting a couple of years back? There were many who thought Obama erred in ignoring them; seemingly siding with Ahmedinejad.

  7. I have taken most of the day off from the web. Still recovering from the recent storm and its aftermath. My house is totally out of order right now with the fridge out from the wall, various coping devices all over the place, etc. To top it off, I misplaced my driver's license -- finally found in the wrong place in my wallet before I got to the DMV counter (I was in line outside in the miserable heat)! Sheesh.

    Anyway, enough whining.

    Our nation's so-called diplomacy is more Sam's area of expertise than mine. But I have to say that several things that she mentioned in her comment I have also found to be the case.

    Iran may be bluffing right now. I don't know. But I AM certain that Iran will not be bluffing one of these days. Then, what?

  8. FT said:

    Our government has turned itself into a lunatic farce.

    To the tune of our Congress recently spending a boatload of time debating the definition of "catfish." I kid you not!

    You can't make this stuff up.

    It's ineptocracy!

  9. We've been infecting Iran's computers for a few years now. No need for a traditional war.

  10. Blogginator

    Few people enjoy a conspiracy theory as much as I do. Commencing unprovoked hostilities with Iran would be insane. I hope we haven’t digressed that much.

  11. FT

    I do share your concerns. Whether or not these government oligarchs are wicked is for God to decide; I think there is a simpler explanation. These so-called diplomats care more about a successful career than they do what is best for America. A republic demands that the people trust their officials to do the right thing. Based entirely on our history, I have a difficult time with the trust part of this arrangement. I also agree with you about the Moslem World. I have less concern about the radicals than I do our own officials. How sad is that?

  12. Mr. Charles

    I do admit to a results oriented bias. How hard diplomats work is less important to me than the results of their labors. Were you to argue that diplomacy is an art form, I would heartily agree. I simply lament the fact that the U. S. State Department is devoid of artists. Or so it seems. Alarm bells should begin to sound whenever our diplomatic failures begin to exceed our successes. Adequate proof of our failed diplomacy does exist; it is the numbers of war dead, the seriously injured, and the perpetually angry—both ours as well as theirs.

    Proof of Hillary Clinton’s ineptness comes from the fact that she apparently has never heard the expression “quiet diplomacy.” She is but one in a long line of inept diplomats. I think we can do better, but I respect your view that we are at the pinnacle of our diplomatic efforts.


  13. @Z

    I do agree with Mr. Charles that we should strive to normalize our relations with Iran. Sadly, I believe Iranian leadership has become a victim of its own propaganda. President Ahmedinejad’s political success depends on his being able to oppose the “Great Satan.” This is not a new strategy, but apparently, we have no one in the State Department intelligent enough to deal with the problem effectively.

  14. AOW

    Our greatest danger isn’t whether Iran is bluffing; it is the consequences should Israel not be bluffing. I believe that Clinton’s public acknowledgement that we joined with Israel to upload viruses into Iranian computers was a ploy to mollify Israel. In doing so, we once more failed to heed Mr. Washington’s advice. In my opinion, we only fuel extremism by publicizing our alliances.

    PS. I wonder when Israel will tire of being an American lap dog... Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own two feet after 64 years of independence?

  15. The sad fact is that America HAS been lacking a real leader for a long time. Leadership is doing the right thing even though it's unpopular and may hurt some people. The Last real Leadership we had was Ronald Reagan, and not just him but his entire office was composed of men who could make the tough decisions and stick to it no matter what.
    Now we have popularity contests when it comes to electing our leaders . Just look at the shit we got stuck with last time around, and all he had to do was yell out ..... Hope And Change ! Hope And Change ! And the stupid public who suffers from ADD bought it lock stock and barrel !

    This man is no leader..he's a worthless turd , more interested in furthering his agenda than really working to benefit our Republic.
    How did we get to such a sorry state in these here United States of America ?
    My opinion is the public has undergone social engineering by the media for so long, that they are no longer capable of thinking for themselves.
    We live in an age where everybody just wants to feel good.
    You know what happened to Rome?....it's happening here in America.

  16. Just kabuki for the proles. The Black Bush needs to look muy mucho macho for the elections.

    Neat timing though. Jesse Jackson Jr. is taking a leave from The House. He's exhausted. Probably since hearing a lot of bad words since Blago went down like "indictment", "grand jury" and "your mistress is on the phone and wants to know where the child support is at".
    In more bad news his bag man just got brought in.

    Obama needs to keep this guy in a freezer for a while.
    Don't know why Jesse Jr. doesn't resign and try Rainbow/Push shakedowns with his old man.

  17. Z/Sam

    I think there is a huge difference between policy direction (worked out by the Administration) and what the actual professional civil servants working for the State Department wish, work towards and even strive for. I have good friends in your State Department via my past work and even a distant in-law, they have told me of how hard it is and frustrating. Interestingly, they said that the two worst people ever to walk through the doors was Condaliza Rice and Bolton.

    As for Iran, yes it may be too late but then it can change in many fashions. I am sure your both aware that there is a battle between the Revolutionaries and the Supreme Council. The later is the theologists running the show and the former is the revolutionary youth movement that hijacked the revolution.

    When it comes to much of the rhetoric from Ahmadinejad it should not be forgotten that the anti-semitic and "we will destroy them" comments are very much for domestic political consumption - such as keeping the rural vote that keeps Ahmadinejad in. Also the Theocrats most certainly are not interested in a Nuke program, they simply consider it "unclean", so on that side, better the theocrats than Ahmadinejad.

    For me, as I undestand it, the most important thing is not to put the Iranians into a corner that they therefore must bite. Often the gamesmanship that they play is like North Korea in that they say a lot of hot things and threat so that they can have a bargaining chip on the negotiating block. Normalizing relations defuses that and puts not just feet through the door but also slaps in the face the most hard-liners who were shouting that "they want to destroy us".

    The other line is also the hard-liners and ultra-religous elements in Israel that want a conflict as it bolsters their positions in keeping America an "enemy beside them".

    I am not anti-Israeli by any stretch but there is to much blind support for Israel that needs to be chopped away. Do not forget that Israel will and has screwed the US on many occaussions, they will do whatever suits them and play whatever card they can get. They will draw the US into conflicts to suit them, steal your secrets as they have done so regularly (there are three prisoners in the US convicted of espionage for Israel and do not forget that all but one Nuclear spy during the cold war was on behalf of Israel, not the USSR or China).

    The US needs to join the rest of the world in dealing with Iran, not base it on antiquated and unbalanced past relations, in my honest opinion.


    Damien Charles

  18. Sam,
    I believe that Clinton’s public acknowledgement that we joined with Israel to upload viruses into Iranian computers was a ploy to mollify Israel.

    As I said earlier, I'm no expert in this area -- not by a long shot.

    However, it seems to me incredibly stupid to have told that bit about the virus attacks on the Iranian computers. Why blab it?

    Black-ops of all sorts have been going on forever in the history of mankind. Most of the time, those black-ops remain secrets, I think.

    Country saying: "A fish don't get caught if he don't open his mouth."

    As for Israel being to stand on her own, I rather imagine that she CAN.

    My mother (d. 1987) once said: "We've made so many alliances that pretty soon we're going to be fighting ourselves all the time."

    I grew up during the Cold War. I can't imagine that a similar "balance" is going to continue for very long -- with different big powers arming various lesser powers.

    I guess the good news is that I will be one of the first vaporized if something is launched against D.C. Frankly, I'm not much interested in living during the coming times, particularly if "the bad thing" happens. Sorry to sound so fatalistic, but there you have it.

  19. Damien Charles,
    Do not forget that Israel will and has screwed the US on many occaussions, they will do whatever suits them and play whatever card they can get.

    Actually, I cannot fault any sovereign nation for looking out after its own interests.

    As for Israel herself, well, I think this way....If my neighbor is lobbing grenades into my house, I will do whatever it takes to stop the attack.

    Israel is a tiny swatch of land. Why can't her neighbors just say, "Well, it's only 7951.6 square miles in size"?

  20. AOW,

    I also cannot fault any country that prioritizes for its' own interests, that for me is normal. What I can fault is the hypocrisy of pretending that they do not and giving that nation a special status above others evne though they do it.

    Equally so I not only understand Israel defending itself but I give that country credit for not only surviving but advancing and accomplishing so much at the same time.

    Damien Charles

  21. AOW,

    your last line regarding the "small slither of land" for me is a disturbing example of how much people do not understand or appreciate the situation.

    For a start, it is land. Would you give up your piece of land or ignore one square feet if you consider it yours or stolen? If anything the American psychie includes (as it is in your history) the freedoms of speech, baring arms and owning land.

    The fact that this land was claimed for Jews as their holy land and historic Israel, it most certainly meant a lot to them - should not the western powers at the time just say "Well, it's only 7951.6 square miles in size"? Obviously not.

    Now I am not arguing against Israel, that country has a right to exist, but there needs to be a standard and no hypocrisy when it comes to the issues of land and even history by any side. Calling for Israel's destruction is simply reprehensible, but so it fighting to sabotage or steal land from the future Palestine.

    Land is everything, as it is the subject of both personal and national ownership. The fact remains, as much as so many try and hide it, that Palestinian land, owned and farmed (even if not farmed) was taken from them and continues to be and without compensation or even acknowledgement. Simply put what would you do to defend your land and your own property? I know many Americans would sacrifice themselves for their land.

    I see the settler movement as being a terrorist organisation without guns, stealing land for a conceptual "greater Israel" under the claim that God gave it to them - when in reality it is just theft. The current government is riddled with supporters and to keep in fact a government of the Right, nobody is willing to tackle the problem head on. Look on the news even this week, they are struggling to agree if Orthodox Jews should be forced to serve like everyone else, the power based on "religion" is as evident as it is in conservative Islamic states. Settlers are divided into two groups, the same orthodox group that uses religion and then the American-funded groups that simply want land.

    The entire subject is riddled with abuse, phsyically, territorially and politically and just basic honest truth is the loser (as well as the majority of Jews and Arabs caught in the middle.

    One good example is the lable terrorist. Yes terrorists are there, the PLO embraced it and Hamas continues to, but do not forget that the first two Prime Ministers of Israel were terrorists. Shameer who just died was technically a terrorist and he along with a group of others assassinated Count Bernadotte the Swedish Diplomat because he favoured a different border. Apart from British and othere soldiers, civil servants and employees being killed, innocent civilians were killed as colatoral damage when cafes and hotels were bombed (including family of my own) and yet these "terrorists" are named on the wall of heroes in Israel.

    Frankly speaking, I do not care who is defending what, I care about simple plain honesty and as long as Israel does not base itself on honesty I find that nation to be only as good as its' neighbours regardless of the amazing things it has accomplished.

    That is my beef with that country.

    That "7951.6 square miles" is only part of the subject.

    Damien Charles

  22. some people just have too luckin fittle to say in too many words

    geeze louise!


  23. Damien Charles,
    I meant "sliver," of course.

    I was so tired when I typed that in that I could barely see what I was doing.

    Would you give up your piece of land or ignore one square feet if you consider it yours or stolen?

    Actually, I have done just that. I abandoned the second family homestead that my mother left me.

    Furthermore, my grandmother DID have her little farm stolen from her by her brother-in-law. Yes, a feud continued for about 10 years -- dead bodies and ruined lives all over the place there -- an for a couple of generations.

    Finally, good sense took hold, and my grandmother moved elsewhere. Eventually, my mother and her siblings left the area entirely. Visiting there even 50 years later was dicey. We had to sit with our backs to walls.

    I went to that part of the country to make amends of sorts -- more researching family history. I was shunned, and both Mr. AOW and I were afraid to stay overnight. This was in 21st Century!

    To this day, I will not go back.

    I'm not exaggerating at all. If anything, I'm minimizing how weird the whole thing was for over half a century.

    So, on a familial and personal level, I know something about feuds over swatches of land, poor soil that wouldn't even sprout black-eyed peas but did have some historical and cultural significance for the region.

    There comes a point that a truce must be called in the name of self-preservation and peace for living itself -- no matter if it means giving up on what is rightfully one's own (in one's own eyes, anyway).

    There's more to the story I'm telling, but I won't reveal it out of concern for revealing too much personal information.

    I am in no way suggesting that Israel should abandon ship. After all, the ancient nation of Israel owned much of that land before Islam ever came along.

  24. A bit of snark from me....

    What is THIS? More land that belongs to Muslims by order of the Prophet?

    Seven more terror arrests as police find 'weapons hidden in car' just a day after Olympic round-up that saw white Muslim convert captured

  25. Mr. Charles..the two worst, Rice and Bolton? Yes, because they're tough, believe in American exceptionalism, and don't suck up to terrorism. I'd be flattered if those diplomats said I was the worst.
    Or, we can apologize to Pakistan for NATO, effectively apologizing for nothing AND effectively constantly dissing India, our ally, through pandering to Pakistan. Great diplomacy on Clinton's behalf!!

    SAM "I do agree with Mr. Charles that we should strive to normalize our relations with Iran."

    I don't disagree with that, but can one have normal relations with a country whose leadership has promised destruction of Israel and us, if they could.
    If a country doesn't mean what it says, it had best not promise destruction of another country to appease its village voters. Most of whom don't vote, by the way.

    We cannot deal with Iran on any normal basis; we are "the Great Satan" and Ahmedinejad takes every chance he gets to threaten and lie about his nukes, etc. Once they are set up, there will never be negotiations again.

    Mr. Charles, let me ask again: should we have ignored the student revolution as we did, when they were asking for help?

  26. some just love to throw in a quick whinge but never actually bother to add anything..... sheeesh.


  27. AOW,

    a snark would be a close word for it, why do you bother to post such mindless links? they represent nothing, certainly just themselves. In the end, using phrases like "command of the prophet" only makes you a sucker for radicals or at worst a provoker of hate. My advise and opinion, of course, is simply stick to subjects you actually know about.

    Damien Charles

  28. Z,

    you say "because they're tough, believe in American exceptionalism, and don't suck up to terrorism."

    Frankly speaking they were not tough they were partisan political hacks pushing a line that run the wrong way with everyone. They insulted those that disagreed and put back American diplomacy decades that your hard working State Department employees are trying to patch up.

    American Exceptionalism is a concept that frankly is arrogant and even to other western countries makes America look like the international "big jerk" rather than anything else or more positive. We should add, of course, that the term is laughable as it is illogical (considering that it is most certainly not exceptional except in some believing it is).

    As for them being "hard against terrorism", Bolton's rhetoric has actually done more damage to the war on terror than in fighting it. Every single bigoted, naive, condescending and spiteful phrase he made only galvanized the arguments put up by terrorist supporters about westerners and in particular Americans orchestrating a clash of civilizations, crusade and desire to exterminate Muslims. In the end even the Republican leadership under bush realised that the jerk Bolton was a walking lunatic that made hawks look like doves.

    Condaliza Rice is a good piano player, articulate and dedicated, I have no doubt, but she was also an Administation hack who did not care about the effort or advice State employees gave her and she insulted her way around the globe.

    Damien Charles

    ps, re Iran and the students, a separate answer is merited.

  29. Z,

    sorry I missed the question and am happy to give my view.

    yes I think that the student/middle-class revolt was abandoned and the pressure should have been kept up. An opportunity was lost.

    The argument was that any more support would have resulted in bloodshed and that there was still too much support for Ahmadinejad in the areas that he targets (the poor, industrial and rural voters). In political terms, Ahmadinejad is pretty similar to Hugo Chavez.

    Though that argument sounds logical nevertheless it was the support from the US that encouraged much of that revolt and thus they must take some responsibility for the failure of it.

    Also that failure strengthened arguments used by Ahamdinajad about foreign influences, targetting, unjustified sanctions etc.

    On the positive side, it pushed him into a corner that the Supreme Council was uncomfortable with and that level of brovado Ahamdinjad used put him into direct conflict with them.

    I still think there is a chance to bring down the pressure and deal with Iran if they push the correct buttons. Deal with the country in a fashion that is suppported by the Supreme Council and play-up how Ahmadinejad as the danger to the country and embarassing them. The SC does actually have some moderates (well they call them moderates whom wish to normalised relations with the west) that hate Ahmadinejad. If they can get rid of him and the door is open to economic and social ties then nobody in Iran can stop that commerce and the influences that it brings to that country - even if it takes ten or twenty years. Do not forget that the older generation of Iranians remember life beforee the 78-79 revolution and the teenage population is hungry for change.

    A last comment - those Iranians in the west whom hunger for a return to the Shah are almost all the wealthy class that benefited from them. I have seen at least three debates and studies that show that an almost total majority of Iranians would shudder and reject such a notion that life was good under the Shah. He simply was worse than Saddam or Ghaddafi.

    However, the previous royals that were "taken out" by the Pahlavis in 1925 have supposively a support base of about 20 per cent of Iranians (look up Qajari Dynasty)

    Damien Charles

  30. @Z …

    If diplomacy was simple, progressives could do it. This may explain the abomination of Obama foreign policy. In fairness, however, it is difficult to credit previous administrations, either. As one example, you may recall Dr. Rice decided it was time the Palestinians embraced democracy. We offered the PLO too many millions of dollars so that they would embrace democratic ideals. What did the Palestinians then do? They overwhelmingly elected a terrorist organization to lead them. They must have been laughing all the way to the bank. How insufferable was Dr. Rice’s arrogance to suggest that “American democracy” is a panacea for problems in the area of Palestine? In my view, this was an epic FAIL in American foreign policy. And by the way, did Dr. Rice not understand that Yasser Arafat was a terrorist of the first magnitude? What did she think the Palestinians would do?

    Mr. Bolton is not the bull in the china shop that Mr. Charles suggests. Given his resume, I seriously doubt State Department “area experts” would have known John Bolton well enough to make such assertions. If anything, Bolton realizes these two things: there must be an American position from which we will not move, and successful diplomacy comes from strength, not weakness. Whether he embraces the concept of a moral high ground, I can’t say with any degree of certainty. As regards Iran, Mr. Bolton knows that few nations in the world are as experienced in diplomacy as the Iranians are. He also knows when the Iranians are using delaying tactics. He knows the Iranians are masters of the bluff. He knows that Ahmedinejad is two bubbles off plumb. He suspects that the Middle East will become a miniaturized version of the cold war should Iran develop nuclear warheads and a reliable delivery system.

    That said, I do not think the situation in Iran warrants force, or even threats of force. I wish he would stop suggesting such things to the state-run media.

    Nations ought to keep to themselves information concerning the likely use of force against other nations. This is what I meant earlier about quiet diplomacy. Making public statements about such possibilities does little more than push Iran toward an obstinate position, which on its face defeats the notion of diplomatic relations. Even if we assume Iran has a nuclear capability presently, how will an increase in tension foster resolution of our differences?

    Successful foreign policy will result when Iran knows they can depend on American integrity and resolve. If our policies shift every four or eight years, then we play into the hands of our adversary. Make no mistake: all foreign nations are “adversaries.” This notion of having “friends” is naïve. Our closest allies only remain so for as long as their relationship with the USA is mutually beneficial. Finally, I do not desire a president so idiotic as to sign the death warrant of a useful resource (Dr. Afridi). I do not desire a Secretary of State who will gloat publically over our attack against Iranian computers.

  31. Mr. Charles wrote, “My advise[sic] and opinion, of course, is simply stick to subjects you actually know about.”

    This is a very good example of tactless behavior. It is difficult to imagine making such comments while a guest at someone else’s blog. Really, Mr. Charles, where are your manners? Shame on you for such loutish behavior; for all of your claims to the contrary, you do not behave as a gentleman.

  32. @Damien Charles...Here's a joke for you ol chap ----> What you call an Englishman 50 feet up in a tree ? Ans : A branch Manager ! Thats what you should stick to ol chap ! Cheerio ! :)

  33. Sam,

    I make no apology for my comments, they are in fact written for a purpose.

    As for tactless, I would call much of the comments and some of the items (I point out which ones) are not only tactless but I can add without context, blatantly illogical and in some cases borderline bigoted.

    Yes this is not my blog, but since it is open to the public for comment - that is what I do.

    I should also add that if we wish to talk about being civilized, then childish rants like Obama being a Muslim plant is most definitly far from it and I would consider that only a boorish and pissant lout would even go down that track such as snake-oil salesman and anyone else who tries to pronounce make condmenations and pontifications on something that they obviously have no idea about.

    With respect I am doing them a favour, trying to point out that they look stupid going down a particular path. Then again, they can and mostly do ignore me and as you like to point out, it is their blog.

    Manners requires a goal, what is yours?

    Damien Charles

  34. Sam, if someone does not behave as a gentleman, then he is not a gentleman. This is probably not Damien Charles’ fault because it is impossible to be a gentleman and an arrogant ass at the same time.

  35. Louis H,

    your consistant contribution and debate has been most exhausting and worthwile....

    "A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone's feelings unintentionally. " - Oscar Wilde

    "An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be." - Oscar Wilde

    "The only people mad at your for speaking the truth are those living a lie." - anon

    Damien Charles

  36. No one who would quote Oscar Wilde about gentlemanly behavior knows Oscar Wilde, or gentlemanly behavior. Nor could anyone find his way to the Queen’s Council who is not a gentleman.

  37. Sam,

    I would repeat the first quote again except that even you can go back and read it and contemplate.

    Oscar Wilde, as abrasive as he was, understood very well what is the nature of a true Gentleman and correctly, who deserves to witness it.

    Adding to your sad and feable attempt at a quib, I should point out that in my early days working at the Luton Council Chambers that the "L&B Loo" (the toilets for lawyers, barristers and magistrates) had a photo and list of quotes of Wilde in each cubicle.

    In fact the legal profession simply loves it and I would not be suprised if in fact every British judge worth his salt can quote him down to the letter. It probably comes from the fact that Wilde was Irish and was imprisoned.......!

    "Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots."

    Damien Charles

  38. Damien Charles,
    Oscar Wilde, huh?


    See football hooliganism + Oscar Wilde, as well as Oscar Wilde + anarchism -- particularly for the latter "The Soul of Man under Socialism".

  39. AOW,

    we all know who Oscar Wilde was.

    If I may be so bold as to summarize, a brillianet writer, someone who provokes thought, a perfect example of a period in late Victorian English social enlightment and personally an openly gay man at the wrong time who perhaps even used it to push his freedom of expression.

    My posting his quotes and my comments about how the legal system in Britian actually enjoyed them - was the dry and very blunt expressions of what is right and wrong. Remember that the Victorian Era has the most impact on British law and law enforcement even to this day and Wilde poked fun at it.

    When he was carted off to jail after that court case because of his love affair with Douglas (the son of the Marquiss of Queensbury) he was heard by the mobs (supporters and those who wanted to linch him) singing in the back of the paddy wagon "chum, chum and swaddle" which is cockney for "friends, friends and corruption" - reminding everyone that it was because of the Marquiss that he is going to jail, not for anything else. It is ironic that he sang it in London's street language considering that he is Irish and spoke French, German, Italian, Latin, Ancient Greek and very good Spanish.


    Damien Charles

  40. Mr. Wilde wrote of socialism where, “…each member of the society will share in the general prosperity and happiness of the society." We can forgive him this error because in Wilde’s time, most of society had yet to recognize socialism as a stain upon mankind. We cannot be as forgiving toward its modern adherents, of course: they are snow blind.

    I do think Mr. Wilde, in comparing Jesus of Nazareth with Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin, was a bit disingenuous. Additional proof of his mental abnormality is that not long after reading the work of George Woodcock, Wilde promptly declared himself an anarchist. Had he feasted upon a DC comic book, he may have even declared himself Superman. We must not be surprised to learn that according to D. Charles the entire legal establishment of the United Kingdom adores the laggard, and write each other clever notes while sitting on the toilet. No doubt, they are doing this while on the public dole.

    I deduce Wilde belonged in an institution. Given his views of subordinating all of society to [his] art, the man was obviously deranged.


  41. Damien Charles,
    I have read some of Oscar Wilde's works. No doubt he was witty.

    an openly gay man at the wrong time who perhaps even used it to push his freedom of expression

    He may have been more than that.

    Was he also a pederast? I googled Oscar Wilde + pederast and found THIS, among several other hits in the search. I know you won't like that the essay discusses Islamic pederasty as well as Oscar Wilde, but that essay is on the list. Sources for the essay do not include "Islamophobes" as far as I can tell. Indeed, James Michener wrote a bit about the matter in Caravans, published in 1963. I has been ages since I've read Michener's novel, but I believes that he referred to "the dancing boys of Afghanistan." PBS, among other venues, have also covered that matter.

    Just to be clear....Pederasty isn't exclusive to Islam. Not by a long shot. History shows a very ugly trail of that perversion.

    Caveat: I am not accusing you of being a pederast.

    However, referring to Oscar Wilde as "a gentleman" may not be wise. Just sayin'.

  42. Louie,
    I deduce Wilde belonged in an institution.

    That may literally be so.

    In some respects, The Picture of Dorian Gray makes the reader wonder, "Does this author have two personalities?"

    One doesn't get that same feeling from Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    Overall, the women in some of Oscar Wilde's writings are disgusting creatures -- and mental midgets to boot.

  43. AOW,

    there is no evidence either way if Wilde was following that behaviour.

    As for James Michener, he most certainly concentrated his background information in Iran and further east.

    Such a link to Islam itself is simply nonesense and as usual it is confusing what is cultural to what is religous and attempting to read one into the other. If we go to actual Islamic scriptures, sodomy is considered amongst the most abhorent of crimes. All references, other than the confused argument about Aisha, puts marriage of children in 7th century Arabia to equate to modern day marriage ages in developing countries.

    It all comes down to the point of what is Islamic and what is cultural practice.

    Iran and Afghanistan historically well known for the rich to have both the wife and a young boy in the same bed. Dancing boys in Afghanistan and Pakistan is well known, but the media forgets to point out that they exist also in INDIA and NEPAL.

    This sad subject is cultural, not religous, that is the point.

    Life of a good looking young boy in Greece has since the times of Alexander always been risky.....

    Damien Charles

  44. AOW,

    Wilde is interesting, his penmanship amazing and nobody can deny his gifts.

    I quoted Wilde because of what he wrote.

    The majority who like Wilde and quote him either do so for what he wrote or because of the irony of his bad side, such as the legal profession in England due to his being Irish, anti-establishment and that he was put in jail for buggary.

    Having said that, almost every women that has ever met Wilde found him to be a true Gentleman in his politiness and when annoyed in using his wit and not his fists and as most would testify, beware of Wilde's wit.

    I put no more and no less in my using his quotes.


  45. Trying to have "talks" with the officals of the Islamic "Republic" of Iran in nothing but an act of futility. This is because the dictators and offical put in offic by them are all of the same hard core dyed in the wool Islamic fanatical mindset. It is impossipme to reason with religious fanatics. They will; not respond to reason. They will only fake being interseted in genuine dialouge with officals ofthe six world powers or IAEA for that matter. They will be very disingenous and will dissimulate. They will do all this not only to stall for time to work to obtain W.M. D. but alos to get as much sanctions lifted as possible. Not to make life more easy for the Iramian people but so that they may hasten in the evil schemes foe W.M.D.. That is what they really want either by going nuclear or by some other means. This is waht they want because in their Islamic delusion they believe that this is the way to get their Muhadi to come. They also want W.M.D. because they hate the State of Israel, which they call the little satan. They also hate the United States, which they call the great satan. They also hate all the other countries of the West and all the non-Muslim people in them.
    In short, even the idea of trying to have worthwhile constructive negotiations with the officals of this Islamic regime is both foolishness and folly.

  46. Walter,

    With all respect, I suggest you actually look a little into the subject and perhaps your analysis will change accordingly.

    For a start, are you are aware of the political make up of government in Iran? A bit of reading will tell you that there is a make up of a Supreme Council and then there is the Presidency followed by a Parliament. The Supreme Council is theologically driven and thus they are religous Ayatollahs. You will almost never see them making public speeches but when you do it is mostly on religious basis.

    All the rhetoric you see comes from the President, Ahamdinjad. Just a cursory glance will gain you the knowledge that he is more political than religous. He is a troublesome hardliner in the political sense, akin to say Hugo Chavez. He currently runs the party that is make up of the Revolutionary Guards, the group that took over the US Embassy back in 1979. It is a safe-bet that any desire to have nukes would be from his party.

    Further research, easily found on-line via news items, will point out that there is a huge difference between the goals of the Ayatollahs of the Supreme Council in comparison to those of the Revolutionary Guard. Previously any dispute was kept behind closed doors, both groups have given up on that and it is very public now.

    Interestinly, and in sharp contrast to your comments, the ideo of actually having WMD is totally counter to the policies, instructions and religous decrees of the Supreme Council. You may dislike them, hate them, consider them all sorts of things, but theocratically they are not hypocrits, even issuing a fatwa against having nukes. Simply put, it is Ahamdinejad, not the Supreme Council.

    Walter, in light of some reality checks, it becomes a bit futile to follow the outdated and questionable lines about "Islamic delusions", the Mahdi and even about Israel. Though run by theoligists, the rhetoric about Israel is simply all political simply because the Revolutionary Guard requires a boogey-man and a vain (really vain) attempt at garnering Arab symapathies by playing the pro-Palestinian card.

    The Israel issue is in fact another tit-bit that is forgotton and lost, especially to those on the bloggosphere - given half a chance and a coup, Iran would open an embassy in Tel Aviv almost instantly considering the history of commerce between Iranian Bazaaris and Jewish traders. This, yet again confirms that it is almost totally political and not actually anything to do with religion.

    Now having eliminated the foolish notion that somehow because of "Islamic delusion" that Iran cannot be talked to, constructive engagement with Iran is in fact the only logical and workable solution - unless one actually wishes to have a conflict. The best example is that even the hint of such a reproach the last time actually caused the still recent student-revolution.


    Damien Charles

  47. Walter,
    Just a note to thank you for stopping by and to let you know that I am seeing your comments -- even if I don't respond to each of them.

    The schedule here in this household has been particularly busy the past few days and will remain so at least through the weekend.

  48. Damien Charles,
    Ahmadinejad is indeed more political than religious in many respects.

    I recall when he first came on the election scene in Iran and spoke of "Westoxification."

    From what I have gleaned, most Iranians would like him gone.

  49. It's an act of futility to try to have talks based on reason with the dictators and officals put in office by them in Iran. This is because they are all hard core dyed in the wool Islamic fanatics. It's impossible to reason with religious fanatics. They will not respond to reason. in any so called "negotiations" they will be very disingenous and will only dissimulate. They will fake being instrested in geniune dialogue to get as much sanctions lifted as possible. Not to make life more easy for the Iraian people but so they may hasten in the wicked quest for W.M.D. that is what they really want to obtain. Either by going nuclear or by any other means. This is because in their religious delusion they are not rational. The want W.M.D. for use because they believe that is the way to make their Mahdi come. that is their irrational deluded Islamic mindset. They also want W.M.D. because the hate the State of Israel, which they call the little satan. They hate the United States, which they call the great satan. They also hate all the other countries of the West in all the non-Muslim people in them.
    In short, the very idea of having rational talks based on reason with those of this regime in nothing bur foolishness and folly.

  50. This Islamic regime of Iran is so cruel that Reza Kahlili in his book A TIME TO BETRAY noted in the first chapter of this book said that he observed Iran's Revolutionary Guards who "paraded teenage girls " who were inoccent in eveyway and "bearly out of their childhood, barely old enough to think for themselves" taken to a place to be raped and then murdered. To think that Obama and some other leaders of the six world powers even think that they may be able to have any worthwhile
    "talks" based on reason or anykind of shared values with the wicked fiends who are in power in Iran is both fooliahness and folly.

  51. Walter,
    In short, the very idea of having rational talks based on reason with those of this regime in nothing bur foolishness and folly.

    Thus, is the State Department's brand of diplomacy.

    In 2009, I had occasion to speak with an ex-patriate from Iran. She told me some personal details about the rapes of girls in Iran. Grim stuff, to put it mildly.

  52. If Sam Huttington is suggesting that America withdraw its embassy from Iran, I think it is a good idea. Anyway, if any country is unable to protect its own interest or unable to improve diplomatic relationship, there is no point having any embassy.

    I agree with Sam Huttington, Paladin and Louis H regarding the pompous ass Damian Charles.

    And regarding Z query (though not directed to me) regarding Iranian student revolution. I think Iranians should not expect any support or intervention if they want to start any type of revolution. Iranians should sort out their own Iranian problems.



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