Posted tagged ‘Iran’

Dialogue With a Neocon

September 19, 2008

What follows is the unedited transcript of an online dialogue between an Orthodox Catholic Neoconservative and myself. The conversation began with the following post and subsequent quip. What unraveled in the process is a revealing glimpse into the ideology behind the US involvement in the Middle East, and especially our policies toward Iranian nuclear technology.

 
“Iranian Majlis Ratifies Bill Requiring Death Penalty For Muslims Who Convert To Another Religion”
“The bill was approved by a majority of 196 to 7, with two abstentions.”

Neocon:  Sure, they murder Muslim apostates, depict the U.S. as “The Great Satan” and have the explicit foreign policy goals of completely dsetroying the US and Israel.

But let’s TALK to them! I’m sure they’re reasonable people!

 
 
Me:
Alright. So the Iranian Government is intolerant, and does pose a threat to Israel the United States, and Muslim apostates. But to equate the threat posed by Iran to that of Hitler as many in your camp have, and then to use the lesson from England’s experience during World War II that negotiating with aggressive rogue nations will only embolden them is a stretch. A good reason why diplomacy between the Israeli-US bloc and Iran has failed is that, as Amadinejad has continuously expressed,the conditions for compromise are overwhlemingly in favor of IAEA nations, and thus fail to be a basis for reasonable exchange. The underlying presumption is that the IAEA and its Western allied administrators should have the authority to determine global nuclear policy. Iran rejects this position in favor of the Nationalistic view that sovereign nations are by virtue of being sovereign free to determine their own energy policy. SO, despite the regrettable religious supression there does exist a framework for peaceful compromise between these competing interests. The United States and Israel both need to first adknowledge that the hatred toward the west has roots in the aggressive foreign policies of the last fifty years, and even deeper roots in the English occupation and “Holy” wars. The alternative to this is unspeakable bloodshed. The first and only lesson of diplomacy is that if the strategy doesn’t work, change the strategy. Yes, Iran’s religious intolerance makes this a difficult and nauseating task, but we must first remove the speck in our eye before we will be able remove that in our Persian brothers’. Diplomacy requires that both sides make concessions until an agreement is reached. As it currently stands what we have is not as much a diplomatic process but an authoritarian process; Submit or be sanctioned; Comply or be conquered. Iran is a willfull nation with a willfull President to say the least, and we in the Western world would be foolish to take her warnings lighty, but we would be far more foolish to escalate the rhetoric of conflict until our nightmarish depiction of the Iranian threat becomes an all too lucid reality.
 
Neocon:
My camp? Anyway, the threat of Iran is arguably greater than that of Nazi Germany, because of its satellite powers.Speaking of Nazi Germany, it will be “peace in our time.” (See Neville Chamberlain) That is, not peace at all, but a greater conflict and millions of lives lost because we desperately wanted to believe the fascists could be appeased. They couldn’t, and they won’t.

 
Wrong, wrong, wrong:But the fact is, hatred toward the west is simply rooted in the radical Islam concept of “jihad,” which holds that it is holy to kill unbelievers. Of course, they use many true and not true things to psyche themselves up to hate us. But if it weren’t for jihad, there would be no holy war on the West.

but just because it is prevalent does not make that position right.
 
ME:  
The Heritage Foundation made a mistake.( He applied for an internship at this Neoconservative think tank but did not receive the position) This is something that really requires a great deal of research to understand. I’m not saying that at some point diplomacy does not become naive. You make good points and make Cicero blush and all, but I think you cannot be a christian and take up the sword.
 
Neocon:
 
Don’t do a Sophist Jesus. You’re doing so well here, and I don’t want to see Sophist Jesus broken out.Make no mistake– it is jihad, not Western aggression, that is the cause of terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism like Iran.

 
ME:   even assuming all of what you are saying is true… even the waspy William F. Buckleyesqe 1945 drawing room at Yale speak about “we being a superior civilization”– what about the good people of Iran. What about that college student who was arrested for protesting.
 
Neocon:
  ANY THOUGHTs?

 

We are not talking about “the good people of Iran” but the authoritarian fascists that run the country.
 
 

 

Quite simply, they are barbarians, and we are a superior civilization. I know such “ethnocentrism” is against what is being taught to college students and good progressives these days

 

This is not a Christian nation. It is however a nation based on Christian morality as enforced through political rationalism, and the freedoms we have are seen as necessary because of a Christian understanding of human dignity.

Islam, or at least

its radical wing, does not share that understanding of human dignity. Even at its lowest point, when Christianity mistakenly thought that fighting and killing Arabs (and other Christians) had a good purpose, never did it reach the level of thinking that The Other was less-than-human and not worth love and respect. This is what radical Islam believes and this is how they justify jihad.

 

 

We in the West respect human rights, freedom of speech and religion, the equality of women and all racial groups.

Iran will never respect us in negotiations until they stop believing what they believe, that is, radical Islam. To them we are demons. There is no negotiation in the face of that.

Of course, we can avoid war. But to do that we must not talk to them (a sign of weakness) but sanction and pressure them, always with the threat of military force. If we presume to have obtained peace, through some concession, it will only embolden them to greater misdeeds and increase the likelihood
of a much greater conflict.

“The United States and Israel both need to first adknowledge that the hatred toward the west has roots in the aggressive foreign policies of the last fifty years…”

This is just not true. It is comforting for us Westerners to believe, because it means all we have to do is change ourselves and the mean men won’t hurt as anymore.

 

The other alternative, that they are bent on our destruction no matter what, means we must fight them, and we don’t want to have to do that.

 

I can’t believe you’re actually citing Ahmenijad’s complaints. Of course the conditions for compromise don’t favor his nation. His nation is bent on genocidal destruction. The reasonable exchange is, “cease all nuclear activities, or

we will use force against you.” That is the only possible debate with a homicidal regime like this one. Any other “negotiations” that do not have force behind their words are empty and pointless.
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Barack Obama: The Change World Tour

July 24, 2008

If you have been feeling down and blue with no explanation lately don’t fear. Not yet President Barack Obama has left the country. He recently embarked on a world tour, focusing on the Middle East and Europe. That explains your recent sadness.

Also if you somehow realized that Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson have been replaced this week, well Barack invited them along. What about me Barack? If you want St. John’s University’s most influential blogger on your side you damn well better take me along next time!

Now there is a lot of media attention to this tour. If he screws up it’ll be everywhere. I recommend he doesn’t eat the Wendy’s Baconator in Baghdad. Let’s see if he screws up.

So Senator Chuck Hagel went along with Barack Obama to Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai. Below is a picture of Senator Hagel with President Karzai.

So his meeting with Hamid Karzai went well, he didn’t screw anything up. But surely he’ll make some sort of mistake, maybe he’ll screw up the name of a city or a country.

Yea… like that. The Iraq – Pakistan border. Otherwise known as Iran…..

(more…)

Hate to Say I Told You So

July 17, 2008

Well well well…after being laughed at and disrespected in public by both John McCain and George Bush, Barack Obama has proven (once again) to be correct: Diplomacy is indeed the best option. The Bush Adminstration has decided that they will send diplomats to Switzerland where they will meet Iranian diplomats the discuss the escalating tensions between the two nations.

Could it be that our founding fathers were actually intellegent? Could their philosophy of non-interventionism actually works? Could I ask any more obvious questions? People describe Barack Obama as an insane liberal who is going to raise your taxes and let gays have rights. Yet, what could be more “conservative” than returning to a foreign policy of reason? No more wars of agression, no more manipulation, no more unnecessary spending on governments that supress democracy.  Barack Obama is apparently no more radical than the Declaration of Independence.

From Barackobama.com

The Problem: The United States is trapped by the Bush-Cheney approach to diplomacy that refuses to talk to leaders we don’t like. Not talking doesn’t make us look tough – it makes us look arrogant, it denies us opportunities to make progress, and it makes it harder for America to rally international support for our leadership. On challenges ranging from terrorism to disease, nuclear weapons to climate change, we cannot make progress unless we can draw on strong international support.

A leader who looks at the world and sees oppurtunity, hope, and potential progress? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

Why Barack Obama is not electable

May 9, 2008

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on…Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me. There is a pattern emerging here.” Those were Senator Clinton’s words in an article in the USA Today.

She is making a case that she is more electable because she is getting the support of white non-college graduates. Claiming that Barack Obama can not and will not get the middle class white voters in a general election. She goes on to say: “These are the people you have to win if you’re a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election. Everybody knows that.”

Obviously! I mean, Asian, Black, Native American, and Latino voters aren’t really necessary. You just throw them on there to spice up that base. Oh Hillary, you should be a chef.

But wait, it’s not just Hillary Clinton who thinks this way, its also her Chief Campaign Strategist Geoff Garin. When questioned about her staggering 14 point loss in North Carolina he stated that it was: “also in an important respect represent progress for us” because Clinton won the white vote by “24 points.”

It is horrible to see that a democratic Senator, from New York none the less basically dismiss the votes of minorities. It’s even more shocking to think that her husband former President Bill Clinton has an office in historically black Harlem. It seems as if these are desperate swings taken in the death throws of a campaign.

I may not have agreed with Senator Clinton’s policy on health care, the war, the economy and other things. However she was still my senator and did what she could to represent me and my fellow New Yorkers with respect. However, these last comments are something which she should apologize for. We understand that she is trying to win a national election, however you can’t just ignore voters or say that you can win an election simply because you carry white voters. That is something shameful to say, what she’s basically saying is Obama won’t win because if white people don’t vote for him he has no chance.

But hold on, that’s just one of the reasons why according to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama is not electable. Let us face these issues one at a time.

1. Obama can’t win white voters
– Iowa, the first state of the race, which Obama won is, according to a 2006 census 94.6% White.
– White voters, like all other voters will vote with their wallets in November, they don’t like where they are now. They don’t want another four years of that.

2. Obama can’t win big states
– Now there are various ways she can mean that, i’ll address each and every one.
– He won Alaska which at 663,267square miles is the largest state in the union
– He won in Texas which has 23,904,380 and is the second most populous state in the union.
– He won “swing states” like Iowa, Virginia, and Minnesota

3. Obama can’t unite the democratic party
– The reason people are flocking to Obama is his message of Hope and Unity

4. He can’t win “red states”
– With Howard Dean’s 50 State program, and with his massive coalition of volunteers Barack Obama already has a foothold in all 50 states, including the “red” ones.

5. He can’t win “working class” voters because he’s an elitist
– Obama’s father was a shift worker at a water filtration plant who provided for his wife and children on a single salary.
– Barack Obama just finished paying off his college loans two years ago.
– Obama has gotten 1,500,000 people to donate to his campaign
– Hillary Clinton has loaned her campaign $11.425 Million Dollars out of her pocket, clearly a working class voter such as herself can relate to the regular people.

Hillary states that this race won’t end any time soon either. She said to a crowd after the reports of Obama’s massive victory in North Carolina “I win, he wins, I win, he wins, it’s so close.” To which Stephen Colbert said, “It’s true, he wins 12 primaries in a row, she wins Pennsylvania, this thing is a squeaker!”

Why doesn’t Hillary Clinton realize what she’s doing? She is isolating minorities from the democratic party, at a time when minorities are growing faster than ever, especially the Hispanic population of the U.S.

She’s gone from a Wellesley College Grad, Yale Law School Grad, 8 years as a first lady, a two term sitting Senator of New York.

To someone who is:
speaking with an accent (which came out of no where)
ignoring the advice of economists on the economy
pandering to voters
threatening to “obliterate Iran”

She’s become George W. Bush!

Link to USA Today article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/2008-05-07-clintoninterview_N.htm