Wednesday 11 February 2009

Mutual Respect

Yesterday Ahmadinejad declared that Iran was open to the idea of talks with the US, provided there was 'mutual respect'. His audience continued their well-drilled chants of 'Death to America!'.
Clearly, to demonstrate full mutuality, Obama should deliver his response in front of an audience chanting 'Death to Iran!' Or is there perhaps a double standard at work here?


  1. No, no double standard. America is the evil empire and everything we do is wrong.

    Take Iraq for example:

    According to most liberal-minded people, we were wrong to go in and started a war that we shouldn't be involved in.

    When the last American troop pulls out and the countriy breaks down into a 3-way civil war, with Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, and Kuwait all chipping away at pieces of it, the same liberal-minded people will then condemn the United States for allowing that to happen.

    That's a double-standard.

    As far as Iran (and I know a little about it) overtures have been made since Bush senior was president to try and normalize relationships, but the Iranians have refused, either becuase they thought they had the power to back us down, or were afraid their powerbase with their own people wouldn't sustain open relations with the Great Satan.

    Since many (most?) Iranians are still pro-Western (Syrians, also, its just the governments who use anti-American rhetoric), the Ayatollahs are afraid that normal relations will lead to a breakdown in fundalmentalism, as happened in the mid-90's.

    To finally get to my point, the Iranians aren't interested in really talking with the US. Bush tried and they wouldn't respond. They're feeling pressure from the rest of the world, and this is an anti-Bush slap. They couldn't talk to him, but they could talk to Obama.

    Bull. It's only happening because he wants to pull out of Irag and they want to get on our good side when they get involved in Iraq. Which is exactly what Bush tried to get them to do.

  2. Thanks Ron - interesting stuff... And isn't there that Iranian thing that if a deal's about to be made, they'll suddenly shift their ground to try and get more? The TV series Iran and the West (Sat. BBC2) is v illuminating. Worth catching...

  3. I'll defintely be watching that. It's all about jockeying for position. Bush (rightly or wrongly) took a hard line, but did want Iran to be more involved.

    They've refused all along because they had no leverage. It will be interesting to see what happens now that Obama is in office. I think they'll make a series of silly proposals that don't really mean anything, and when he won't bite, use the opportunity to say the US doesn't really want to talk.

    I might be wrong, always possible, but I don't think so. I don't see things changing much unless Obama roles over to accomodate them.

  4. Well, I guess we'll know in a week or so what kind of new government Israel has and so whether Dinner Jacket's audience should have been chanting "Death to Israel". Obama is in a tricky spot. If he edges closer to Iran, he risks Israel going it alone with a strike on Iran. There are "elections" (er, yeah) in Iran in June, so the strike could be rather soon. Just in time for us all to spend the holiday money on an Anderson shelter.

    But if Obama stays close to Israel, he risks being unable to start any kind of rapprochement with Iran and so dial down the whole Al Quaeda / Warren Terr thing. Horrid choice and no easy answer. As I'm sure Dinner Jacket and co are well aware dangle dangle.

  5. Part of the problem is that the Iranian leaderships (N.B. plural - there are many competing factions) are genuinely (a) paranoid and (b) ill-informed. They "know" that the Americans are secretly chanting "Death to Iran". The fact that they do not do so openly is itself proof of how much they hate Iran and of how devious (and therefore dangerous) they are.

  6. To Welsh Jacobite, I'm just curious?

    I didn't quite pick up the tone of your comment.

    Was it compelte seriousness?
    Tounge in cheek?
    A little bit of all?

    Just so I can undersand.

  7. Serious, but expressing myself picturesquely.

  8. that's interesting. I've never met a single American who hates Iran, or in deed, actually has much of an opinion either way.

    As far as the devious part, I'm really curious about that. Aren't ALL governments by nature devious?

    Why does one country get singled out over another? The US isn't the only country involved in what's going on in Iran. You're government, the EU, is heavily involved.

  9. I wasn't suggesting that was what Americans think, but what many senior Iranians think Americans think (as I said, they are both paranoid and ill-informed). That was why "know" was in inverted commas.

    Again, objectively all governments have devious tendencies, but senior Iranians (and indeed leaders in many countries) do attribute to the U.S. (and to the West generally) an extraordinary degree of both deviousness and power. This may objectively be ludicrous, but they genuinely believe it.

    An assumption which follows from this belief is that anything hostile (or perceived as hostile) done by any Western government must really be done at the bidding of the U.S. Hence the singling out of the U.S. for criticism. (In fact Britain gets a fair amount of stick in Iran too because of her historical involvement in the region.)

    (P.S. You refer to my government. Wales hasn't had a government since 1282. Cymru am byth. I lawr gyda Saison!)

  10. My mistake. I misunderstood what your reference. My apologies.