“Iran and American Foreign Policy: Where Did the US Go Wrong?”— Noam Chomsky and The Leveretts at MIT


Earlier this week, the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT sponsored an event, “Iran and American Foreign Policy:  Where Did the US Go Wrong?”, featuring Noam Chomsky and the two of us; for a video, see here, or click on the video above.  The event was moderated by Prof. Ali Banuazizi of Boston College.  (For those wanting to cut to the substantive chase, Hillary’s presentation starts 18:20 into the video, Flynt’s starts at 37:00, and Chomsky begins at 54:00, followed by Q&A with the audience.) 

As Hillary notes in her opening remarks, we are especially grateful to Prof. Chomsky, and not just for appearing with us—though we do thank him for that.  More importantly,  

“We thank him for prodding us…In his famous essay, ‘The Responsibility of Intellectuals,’ published in the New York Review of Books forty six years ago, Prof. Chomsky pointed out that ‘when we consider the responsibility of intellectuals, our basic concern must be their role in the creation and analysis of ideology.’  For more than half a century, Prof. Chomsky has been both fearless and, it would seem, tireless in rigorously scrutinizing the claims of intellectuals who, in the service of power, ascribe universal validity to what are, in fact, very particular interests.  Above all, he has been unrelenting in his critique of what he sees as the ‘fundamental political axiom’ of American foreign policy—‘namely that the United States has the right to extend its power and control without limit, insofar as is feasible.’” 

It was in this critical spirit that we came to MIT.  We left deeply inspired by Prof. Chomsky, an incarnation of that spirit, whose comments were simultaneously powerful, profound, and delightful.  One example: 

“It’s now sixty years since the U.S. overthrew the parliamentary government in Iran.  And since that time, not a single day has passed in which the U.S. hasn’t been torturing Iran, constantly.  Jimmy Carter was asked about this, and he said, ‘Well, it didn’t really matter, it’s ancient history.’  Obama’s standard line is, ‘Let’s not look to the past; let’s look to the future.’ 

That’s a very convenient position for criminals.  ‘Let’s forget everything that happened.’  Somehow, victims don’t feel that way.  They have memories.  You see this all over the world.  The victims have memories which the perpetrators don’t know about, or like to forget:  ‘It’s all in the past; let’s forget it.’  I think it’s useful to remember a quip of William Faulkner’s, who said, ‘The past is never dead.  It’s not even past.’  And that’s true in this case.  For victims, the past isn’t past.”         

But, while deeply appreciating the past, Prof. Chomsky is also very much forward looking, telling his audience that Americans have the power to demand different policies from their government.  In that regard, we will always treasure Chomsky’s verdict on our book, Going to Tehran, offered at the beginning of his remarks: 

“The most important thing I can say tonight is actually very brief.  Three words:  Read this book.  That’s good advice.  You’ll find a lot of information that’s not generally available, some that’s not available at all, also very valuable insights and understanding which is sharply different from views in the United States, attitudes in the United States that are so conventional and unchallenged they can fairly be called a ‘party line.’  [You’ll also find] perspectives that may help, if they’re widely enough understood, to halt a very clear drift towards what could be a terrible war.” 

Pray for peace, and thank God for Noam Chomsky. 

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett


144 Responses to ““Iran and American Foreign Policy: Where Did the US Go Wrong?”— Noam Chomsky and The Leveretts at MIT”

  1. Neo says:

    Great debate. The Q & A session after the presentations was quite interesting too.

    Chomsky is a great asset to honest intellectual debate in the US, a space that seems to be getting smaller by the day.

  2. nico says:

    The issue is that with new technologies and technical progress we could have hoped that culture and humanism would be the winners.
    However the western materialist liberal capitalism is based on non ethical individual behaviours.
    At time traditional society with its religious backgrounf would counterweight such unethical behaviours.
    However as of today with the end of the traditional society which is ferociously attacked by the western system only spiritual nothingness and nosensical individualism are left.


  3. James Canning says:

    Interviewed in the Financial Times yesterday, Saeed Jalili said that the P5+1 need to accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium, and that whether it was to 5% or to 20% did not matter.

    Aipac opposes any Iranian enrichment.

  4. James Canning says:

    Noam Chomsky is quite right to say there is a virtual “party line” in Washington, regarding Iran. A very dangerous party line.

  5. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 18, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Traditional (Islamic) Society/Polity has been an abject failure.

  6. James Canning says:

    At ForeignPolicy site, David Kenner has an important exclusive interview with Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas chief “who talks about how Assad should have listened to his advice”: “We are not fanatic killers”. [14 May 2013]

  7. James Canning says:

    As most of those who post on this site know, or should know, Britain had a policy for many decades during the 19th century, of doing what it could to keep Russian troops out of Persia.

    Britain did not want Persia incorporated into the Russian Empire.

    Thanks in large part to the foolish decision by Germany to build a High Seas Fleet, Britain was compelled to agree to Russian troops entering and occupying a large part of northern Persia. The Foreign Office feared Russia might even annex a number of Persian provinces.

  8. James Canning says:

    The Weekend Financial Times today has an excellent photograph of the Emir of Qatar and Bashar al-Assad, taken in 2008. When the Qatari Emir was trying to foster better relations between Syria and Britain.

  9. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “Britain did not want Persia incorporated into the Russian Empire.”

    Yes James, everybody here knows, or should know that main enemy of Iranian people – the former empire, UK – wanted Persia all to herself, so that it could bring misery to its people, perpetrate famine/genocide against her with impunity, steal her resources so that the British aristocrats could live the way the did.
    No need reminding us that. As the Leveretts say, the subjects/victims of atrocities don’t forget, only the criminals.

    Quote from the current post:
    “The victims have memories which the perpetrators don’t know about, or like to forget: ‘It’s all in the past; let’s forget it.’ I think it’s useful to remember a quip of William Faulkner’s, who said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ And that’s true in this case. For victims, the past isn’t past.”
    End quote

  10. nico says:


    Once again, I am refering to western situation, from western perspective.

  11. James Canning says:


    Britain had ZERO desire to incorporate Persia into the British Empire, during the 19th Century.

    You appear to have forgotten that Britain was the primary protector of the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire.

  12. James Canning says:


    The Duke of Argyll, writing to Lord Canning 18 December 1856: “I cannot bring myself to believe in the smallest degree in the danger to our Indian Empire from Persia, or from Russia through Persia. . . Persia herself of course can never be dangerous to us. And if Russia ever became so, in those quarters, I would operate upon her in Europe where we can do so with most effect.” [Clemency Canning, page 51]

    Canning was Governor-General of India at the time.

  13. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    Whitewash James, whitewhash.

    Well James I guess the Lord was writing your ancestor during the war with Iran’s main enemy where – the former empire, UK, the current poodle — was killing Iranians in droves.

    You may think you are fooling some people here with your weasel words, but it takes a few keystrokes to set the records straight.

    Read’em n weep James.

    “The Anglo–Persian War lasted between November 1, 1856 and April 4, 1857, and was fought between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Persia (which was at the time ruled by the Qajar dynasty).”


  14. James Canning says:


    Yes, I was going to quote from Michael Maclagan’s book (Clemency Canning), at pages 51-52:

    “Canning did not altogether share Argyll’s views on the emptiness of the Russian threat. He thought that an extension of Russian influence might convert “Persia, and perhaps her nearer neighbors into a perpetual blister upon us.'”

    A brief discussion of the Anglo-Persian War follows the above passage.

  15. James Canning says:


    I am curious why you do not resent Russia for taking Azerbaijan from the Persian Empire. Fabulous oil wealth.

  16. James Canning says:


    “The tsar had told his war minister [in 1903] that he dreamed of extending the Russian empire to China, Tibet, Afghanistan and Persia – – and his actions had directly contributed to the hostilities [with Japan, 1904-05 war].”

    [Quoted from “George, Nicholas and Wilhelm” by Miranda Carter 2010]

  17. Smith says:

    To the “Syrian” who bad mouthed Iran in his pathetic English at the end of the video:

    It is not Iran that is killing people in Syria. It is the cannibal wahabis with their terror ideology supported by Saudis/Qataris. Iran is just keeping the peace. Also let’s keep in mind that sunnis are not wahabis, though a full swing effort by Saudis/West is on to convert sunnis to wahabism (since they are the most susceptible group).

    Reuter’s graph: http://imageshack.us/a/img191/7981/syriagraph.jpg

    The reality of wahabis terrorists and their hate for Iran: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=925JwS37tRM#t=334s

  18. Smith says:

    @ Nasser,

    Situation in Pakistan is not favorable to Iran.

    PML(N) has “won” the election. There are reports of widespread fraud in the election with literally thousands of videos circulating on the net showing the fraud during the election, and there are huge protests going on with people asking “where is my vote”. But EU says every thing is fine and election was the best ever. One of the leaders of women protesters was shot dead today. (Contrast the western media reaction during Iran election of 2009).

    PML(N) had explicitly said before the elections, that they are going to stop the gas pipeline project as opposed to PTI, who had said they will continue with the project. There are also reports that PML(N) had made “deals” with Saudis/West and that made them win the election.

  19. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “I am curious why you do not resent Russia for taking Azerbaijan from the Persian Empire. Fabulous oil wealth.”

    Umm, there are no Russians posting Hooey here for me to debunk.

  20. Sineva says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm
    Well said!

  21. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm
    And yet here he is today trying to destroy syria,one can only hope that once syria has been stabilised that iran and syria will pay qatar and saudi back in kind for what they`ve done in syria

  22. fyi says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Mr. Canning is actually correct in his historical portrayal of the strategic situation in 19-th century.

    The Iranian leaders, both religious and non-religious, lacked the rudimentary understanding and capabilities of analysis to grasp the global and local political conditions.

    It is a wonder that Iranians entered the 20-the century with a hoe and left it the way did in 2000.

  23. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    May 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    The immediate cause for concern regarding Pakistan will be the Axis Powers, Afghanistan, and India.

    They 4 parties will have enough problems to keep them occupied for the next few years.

    I am not concerned about gas pipeline to Pakistan, India or others.

    When temperature is at 50 degrees C and patients are dying during surgery, I expect there to be some movement.

    If not, so be it.

  24. fyi says:

    Sineva says:
    May 18, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    After the liquidation of the British Empire by the United States in 1947, the leaders of England made a decision to ride on the strategic coattails of the United States in the international arena. They became, in effect, the consigliere to the American Empire.

    This meant, in practice, that when US told them to do something, they would carry out those orders. Thus, for example, when US told them to get of Suez in 1956, they did.

    That is also the reason that they followed US into Afghanistan and into Iraq.

    UK does not have the capacity to carry out an independent foreign policy; she cannot take positions that contradict those of the Godfather’s.

    Thus, when UK leaders state that they seek – or have sought – better relations with Syria or with Iran, it is really a pipe-dream. The reality is that UK will never ever cross the United States.

    UK has had no substantive foreign policy position that has been different than that of US since their ill-conceived war against Egypt in 1956.

  25. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    There was no “traditional Islamic polity”. It was one despot Sultan, Shah and Sheikh after another. No philosophical attempt was ever made in Islamic lands to create a polity. Not even theoretically.

  26. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    May 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Traditional Islamic polity was one of Tyranny supported by Sharia – often both corrupt – in which a Muslim was not safe in his person, in his namus, and in his property.

    To that must be added the misery of disease, illiteracy, drought, starvation, slavery, premature aging, etc.

  27. Avg American says:

    This was a wonderful lecture – my only regret is not being there in person. Dr. Chomsky is hilarious – so sarcastic about the US – you never see his kind around anymore- that generation is disappearing.
    I have read the book and have read somewhat extensively on more recent Iranian issues – can someone here give an answer to the following:
    Why is it the shah that was overthrown in 1979 had such so called disregard for his people’s welfare? It seems to me that the current regime which is Shia Islamist is not a violator of human rights toward the Iranian people? Objectively speaking, it seems, iranians (minus sanctions) are better off now humanitarian wise. The leverette’s point out the current regime has the value that nuclear weapons actually are against their religous tenets. Then if the shah was also held under the same religous tenets why was he so different? I have a limited background with regard to these issues. I apologize for asking a stupid question, but I am curious about this.

  28. Sineva says:

    fyi says:
    May 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm
    I agree

  29. fyi says:

    Avg American says:
    May 19, 2013 at 1:08 am

    The Shah misunderstood his role; he was the Shah of the Shia (everywhere) and not the Shah of Iran.

  30. fyi says:

    Smith says:
    May 18, 2013 at 11:01 am

    And the Axis of Resistance is hinting at guerrilla war for Golan as well as retaliatory strikes against Israeli cities; “responding to pressure with pressure”.

  31. Smith says:

    Avg American says:
    May 19, 2013 at 1:08 am

    1- The reason was that Shah could not understand his role because of his egoist nature. He thought he knew everything and used to try to micromanage things. Since he was a puppet for western powers, his source of legitimacy was not his people. Though to say that he had not the welfare of his people in heart is going a bit too far, I believe. He did not have the intellectual capacity to see things for what they were and worse he was surrounded by a bunch of fools acting as his advisers. He even shredded the last remaining pieces of constitutional monarchy, thinking that he can run the country all alone.

    2- Human rights violations happen everywhere. The utopia of a just society has not been achieved anywhere. Iran is no different. But human rights situation in Iran is far better than many other countries including US allies. And the most important thing with regard to human rights, as with economy is the growth. Iran’s human rights situation has been improving steadily for the past 3 decades and short of a catastrophic event eg. war, it will continue to improve. And this improvement is systematic. That is the Iranian system of governance has the capacity to self improve which is the hall mark of legitimate governments.

    3- Iranians have to grow up eventually with regard to their economy and technological abilities. Sanctions are hurting. But it is necessary for the cure of the Dutch Disease. Without these sanctions, Iranians would never have increased their productivity. They would have preferred to sell oil and import everything. It has to change now. One of the goals of revolution was to change Iranian society from a consumer nation to a producer nation. Iran failed to deliver this revolutionary goal. Let’s see if American sanctions will deliver where Iranian revolutionary leaders failed.

    4- Shah was not held under any tenets. He was an absolute monarch. He only answered to US.

  32. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    May 19, 2013 at 12:34 am

    I agree. There was never an attempt by any Muslim society to even construct a theoretical framework for a progressive society. The whole charade of “Islamic civilization” has to be broken down if things are to move forward.

  33. Neo says:

    In addressing the question of “where did the US go wrong?”, surely the matter goes way beyond whether the right decisions were made in terms of relations with Iran alone.

    The US went fundamentally wrong when it began to let corporations rule the country. Instead of paying taxes as they are supposed to for the sake of upholding the good of the nation, corporations buy politicians and control opinion-making institutions such as the mass media and academia. Critical thinking and intelligent debate are basically dead in America, at least in the ‘public’ sphere, and are relegated to the corners of the internet and remnants of older intelligentsia like Chomsky.

    US foreign policy is not really about projection of power by a nation sate. It is more about a corporate fascist project aiming to control the whole world after bringing the most powerful nation state to its knees. This is how bankers can get away with theft and murder with no repercussions whatsoever. It’s how the oil giants can couple with the military-industrial complex and throw up vile service industries like Halliburton and Blackwater, and use public funds and elected politicians to launch war after war.

    The ‘enemy’ is not US foreign policy on Iran. The enemy is corporate fascism.

    And the remedy is not in religious or moral ‘awakening’. It is in fighting for a deeper form of people-centred democracy, where a competition among individual interests can balance out and reduce the power of domination-oriented interest groups, be they corporations, political parties or religious institutions. They all need to be brought under control.

  34. BiBiJon says:

    From http://www.lobelog.com/nuclear-iran-unlikely-to-tilt-regional-power-balance-report/

    Because both Brookings and CNAS are regarded as close to the administration, some neo-conservative commentators have expressed alarm that these reports are “trial balloons” designed to set the stage for Obama’s abandonment of the prevention strategy in favour of containment, albeit by another name.

    It is likely that Nader’s study – coming as it does from RAND, a think tank with historically close ties to the Pentagon – will be seen in a similar light.

  35. nico says:

    Fyi, Smith,,

    I think it is an over simplification to state that religion is the root cause of muslims problems.
    A culture in a society has IMHO very many layers, with level of education aspects, religious aspects, family organization aspects, demographical and geograhical aspects, philisophical aspects, economical organization aspects etc.
    It is the result of history with slow maturing and evolution.
    Each aspect interact with the other.

    Are the islamic civilization or the western civilization only the results of religion ? No.
    Is the current situation in MENA only due to islam ? No.

    You could assert that islam is the cause of the situation if islam was the only input in MENA countries culture.

    As I previously stated you are admirer of materialistic success.
    Nothing wrong with that.
    However should not make the short cut with religion.
    Proof is that the IRI do not manage that bad, while it is an IR !
    Would you rather prefer an arabian like sheikdom ? Even if secular ?

    Back to my point regarding wetern civilization.
    I should have emphasized more about the word traditional than religious.

    Actually, the western world is destroying all that is making its own culture.
    Family bonds are destroyed, religion is destroyed, nation states are destroyed (with such things as free trade zobes, UE, ALENA…), language, music, etc are harmonized.
    The people are fragilized as all the social bonds are broken, individuals are left alone in face of a materialistic market.
    All that make individual identity is scientifically destroyed.
    Now what is the civilizational project which gather people behind ?

    My take is that it is well and good when growth is their and the economical wealth is ensured.
    However, for more than 30 years the west did not enjoyed a growth beyond 2 or 3% a year while it was mainly engined by debt !

    When the economic crash will come and all social bonds are broken, the result will be somewhat ugly…

  36. nico says:

    Neo says:
    May 19, 2013 at 5:44 am

    While I agree with the analysis, I am wondering about the solution you offer, ie people centered democracy.

    History shows that the 99% are always led by the 1%.
    The question is whether the 1% is leading for the 100% benefit or their own interests.
    The ansewer is ckear in the case of US.

    However what is the alternate way ?
    When the whole US culture is centered on egotistic individualidm, when the society is fragmented, when the culture is mainly centered on materialistic goals, when all social bonds are broken ?

    The case us unredeemable and hopeless.
    In a society where you can buy a baby to a surrogate mother for USD40,000.00
    In a society where you do not even share a minimal cultural understanding with your neighbour.

  37. James Canning says:


    By “progressive society” do you mean something in the style or way of Denmark?

  38. James Canning says:


    When you refer to the “egoist nature” of the late Shah, do you mean his deep-seated feeling of insecurity?

  39. James Canning says:


    You say the late Shah “aswered only to the US.” But, in fact, didn’t the Shah time and again refuse to listen to advice given him by his American advisers?

  40. James Canning says:

    From the Weekend Financial Times, May 18/19 (“Qatar’s Syrian revolution”):

    “It wasn’t long ago that Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma were regulaar visitors to Doha, as guests of the emir and his second wife Sheikha Moza. Qatari institutions were big investors in Syria, with a $5 bn joint holding company set up in 2008 to develop everything from power stations to hotels. The emir also championed the international rehabilitation of Assad during his gradual ostracisation by the US, Europe and his Arab peers.”

  41. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 19, 2013 at 7:34 am

    All civilization are machines to facilitate the life of human beings from their births to the deaths.

    Like every other man-made artifact, these machines embody a design and a purpose; these design ideas have different sources.

    For the Muslim polities, the most significant sources of ideas has been the Quran followed by those of Arabs, Ancient Iran, Ancient Greece, and the Late Antiquity period in the Levant – all to varying degrees.

    For the Western polities, the design ideas came from Rome, Christianity, and Germanic Tribes; again to varying degrees.

    [The advent of Islam, broke the physical continuity of the Western World; pushing it in a northerly direction – out of the Southern Shore of Mediterranean Sea and infusing it with the ideas and practices of the newly Christianizing Tribes of Northern Europe.

    This is what, in my opinion, distinguished the Western Civilization from the rest of the world.]

    Like all machines, civilizations are also subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the accumulation of disorder (defects). And human beings will try to patch and fix those defects until the machine completely breaks down and a new one must be constructed.

    China went through one such period, Korea did as well, and Western Civilization might yet go through it.

    Such considerations will not help Muslims in altering their ways to face the World that has been created and is being created by non-Muslims. Decay in the West will not improve the spiritual and material poverty of North Korea.

    The problems facing the Western people will not help Muslims forge a more durable and more efficient machine. In fact, since Muslim polities lack the ability to generate new ideas and products, the disintegration or destruction of the Western Civilization, specially the United States, will only compound the poverty of Muslims as they will have no place to go to obtain new machines, therapies, products, books, processes and ideas.

    Suffice it to say that Fatima died due to the complications of a miscarriage – the proper medical treatment of which is now routinely available to many Muslim women all over the world – thanks to the Western medicine of the hated imperialists and hegemons.

  42. James Canning says:

    Avg American,

    You might find it worth your while to read a bit about the glorious achievements of the Persians, 2,500 years ago. The Shah took tremendous pride in these achievements.

  43. James Canning says:


    Eisenhower in effect threatened Britain with bankruptcy, in order to wreck the Anglo-French effort to keep control of the Suez Canal.

  44. James Canning says:


    Are you not aware that both Iran and Qatar advised Bashar al-Assad not to seek a military solution to the unrest in Syria?

  45. nico says:


    I do not disagree.
    I am thinking it is quite sad to see the western world going toward selfdestruction.
    It could have been averted 20 or 30 years ago.
    As previously stated the end of the cold war was truly a civilizational crossroad.
    It remains to be seen if it can be corrected.
    I am quite pessimistic about the ability to sustain the current state of affair with the financial crisis yet to crash.
    On the longer run, who knows ?
    However the natural ressources depletion and the ecologic wall are here to see. Not much time is left.

    Regarding the muslim polities, up to them to run their own path. If they are left the opportunity…

  46. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    The collapse of Peace of Yalta and the dissolution of the Soviet Block was not followed by the dissolution of the American Block. Rather, the American Block – a.k.a. West, a.k.a. Axis Powers – went on their merry way trying to capture strategic heights of the planet while potential contenders were too occupied with their internal problems.

    Had they succeeded, the rest of the world would have had no viable choice but to live with Axis Powers near-global hegemony for many more decades.

    When the Americans destroyed NPT and weakened UN to the extent that it became a joke, it was because they felt that they did not need International Law and International Institutions. They were essentially echoing the words of Louis VIV “L’etat, c’est moi!”. US was the Law; or so her leaders believed.

    God, or the Unknown-and-Unknowable-Powers-of-the-Universe, wrecked their plans.

    As for the internal situation of the so-called West, I think it is too early to say anything. South America is also part of the West from a civilization point of view but is not similar to Germany or US.

  47. James Canning says:


    The US has ffolishly injured the NPT. But the US has not “wrecked” the NPT. Big difference.

  48. James Canning says:


    Can you name a single “strategic height” “captured” by the US since the collapse of the Soviet Union?

  49. James Canning says:


    End of Cold War offered wonderful chance to cut “defence” spending sharply. US did so, until George W. Bush entered the White House. “9/11” sadly opened the floodgates for idiotic spending on “defence”. By the US.

  50. James Canning says:


    Obviously, Iran’s sovereignty was adversely affected by the presence of troops of the Soviet Union in Iran, during and after the Second World War. Do I take it you agree that Iran was wise not to attack those troops?

  51. k_w says:

    Just a question to the powers that be: Is there a transcript available or is the majority of the ideas in the book? TIA!

  52. James Canning says:


    Given your contention Britain has felt obliged to follow the dictates of the US since 1947, explain why the UK refused to back the US in its foolish war in Vietnam.

  53. nico says:

    fyi says:
    May 19, 213 at 2:3 pm

    Again I do not disagree.
    The point is the project of world dominance was evil and rotten to the core.
    Not much by the goal, as it is way and life of all civilization from start of time.
    But by the means and by the failure.

    Would the project have been successful, the means could have been justified by spinning the reality, or else selling the crimes by arguing that the situation has globally subsequently improved under a pax america.
    However it dramaticaly failed and the means used to try to achieve it were atrocious.

    Some could machiavelianly state that the end justify the mean.
    However I do not buy into that.

    In addition the failure truly broke the inner consistency of western moral paradigm.

  54. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Evidently, Americans did not press very hard.

    UK leaders, at that time, still were living with the memory of having being a world power – they were prepared to say no.

    But 2 generations of being a vassal had evidently changed the mental universe of the UK leaders.

    In 2003, UK insisted on being a member of the Coalition of the Willing, even though US still did not need her or Spain etc. – just to demonstrate how devoted a vassal she was to US and how indispensable.

    There are limits to what UK can do in relations to Iran.

    Just like there are limits to what Egypt can do in relations to Iran as well.

    Both countries are rented by the United States.

    In case of Egypt, money is paid to that graft machine called the Egyptian Army.

    The rents paid to UK take many forms; among them indubitably must be included the Trident Missile Submarines.

    Expecting independent action from Egypt or UK – without prior US approval – is unrealistic.

  55. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    The Achaemenid Empire established by the Persians was the first Universal Empire.

    From then on, the dream of the Universal Empire has plagued Western Asia (and now North America) like a form of mental disease.

    Empirically, every single such vast political organization has failed to endure, always dissolving is death and chaos.

    No matter, people seem to desire it.

  56. nico says:

    fyi says:
    May 19, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Today western leaders are pathetic in their blind obedience to US leadership.
    In some ways, if not totally, european nations are banana republics.
    As is proven by uk step back regarding their wish to quit th EU when the US said no.
    It has been generations long taming.
    Now the slave is even willing to anticipate the master wishes !
    The whole EU project is a US ploy to break the european nations as is proven by the declassified files from the US administration.
    Such mrject began before WWII with the eminent founding father of the EU (the french national Jean Monnet) being a US agent and US presidential counselor !


  57. fyi says:

    James Canning says:
    May 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm


  58. nico says:

    yi says:
    May 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm


    One could also add all the eastern European countries which became annexed by the US through the EU ploy.

  59. fyi says:

    nico says:
    May 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Yugoslavia was a special case; she was an un-official member of NATO against USSR.

    After the end of the Cold War, she was an independent state actor that US-EU leaders decided to liquidate.

    Which is what they proceeded to do.

    The “Dual Containment” against Iran and Iraq and the destruction of the Ba’ath state were also part and parcel of the same political aim of capturing strategic heights of the world.

    They already had control over the Gibraltar, Suez, Straits of Malacca, Straits of Marmara, and Panama Canal.

    What was left was the destruction of any state in Central Europe with potential to act independently – such as Yugoslavia. [This was similar to the way Stalin killed people in Russia during the Great Purges.]

    Next stop was destruction of Iran and Iraq and Libya – all the politically independent oil producers that – upon capture and in tandem with Saudi Arabia – had the potential to bankrupt any and all other oil-producers – including the Russian Federation.

    And all of this was being financed by the US-EU finance economy; which finally died in 2011.

  60. nico says:

    As everyone know with the 9/11, conspiracy theories are only born out of people wicked mind.
    Well, it is a proven fact, that the whole EU project is a conspiracy driven by the US for more than 60 years and still enforced today !

  61. James Canning says:


    The neocon conspiracy to set up the illegal invasion of Iraq did contemplate that Iraq would become a strong ally of the US and Israel.

    That object clearly failed.

    Destroying Yugoslavia intentionally simply would have made no sense. And the US did not intentionally destroy Yugoslavia.

  62. James Canning says:


    The US has “captured Yugoslavia”? Meaning what?

  63. James Canning says:


    TONY BLAIR is responsible for the UK’s backing of G W Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

    Blair wanted Bush to pressure Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights.

    Bush insisted the illegal invasion happen first. Blair agreed.

  64. James Canning says:


    Even before Jean Monnet was pushing for an economic community in Europe after the Second World War ended, Winston Churchill was proposing that France and Britain unite into one country.

    Surely the EU is a good thing.

  65. James Canning says:


    Isn’t one factor that tended the bring about the expansion of empires, the awareness that other empires might otherwise grow in strength and become larger threats?

  66. James Canning says:


    The Americans very much wanted British backing of the ill-conceived US military adventure in Southeast Asia that is known as the Vietnam War. Pressing harder (for British backing) would have been counter-productive.

  67. James Canning says:


    You oppose the growing wealth and power of China? Russia?

  68. Nasser says:


    Thanks for your comments regarding Pakistan. But the blame shouldn’t be placed entirely on the Western and Wahabi gangs. The Americans and Saudis have invested in Pakistan for decades. Iran seems to think it can have Pakistan for cheap. Now more than ever Iran should take your advice and invest in “people power” with some free energy gifts. For example, Iran could publicly announce that the gas for the pipeline would be free. What else would Iran do with Pakistan’s money otherwise; buy rice and cheap watermelons?! Heck even with dollars and Euros Iran cannot buy the stuff it really needs. This is the best use of Iran’s excess resources in oil and gas. But I am not holding my breath; like you said before, the strategic maturity seems to be not there yet.

    Also, please could you please email me at akariminasser56@outlook.com when you get the chance. I posted this before, you probably missed it. If you remember I wanted to ask you a couple of personal questions regarding religion.

  69. Fiorangela says:

    Avg American says:
    May 19, 2013 at 1:08 am

    “Why is it the shah that was overthrown in 1979 had such so called disregard for his people’s welfare?”

    = = =

    It’s important to know that the Shah held the key to the vault for many American and Israeli defense contractors. Iran in the 1960s and 1970s was the equivalent of the US wars in the Middle East over the past decades: it provided a market for US & Israeli weapons; the revenue stream was secured by Iran’s abundant oil.

    The Pentagon and US (and Israeli) defense contractors sold sold sold weaponry, radars — anything they could persuade the Shah that he “needed” to make Iran a mighty power. The Iran market absorbed a lot of the American baby boom generation, as well as the first generation of Israelis to have been born in Israel post WWII; both groups were then just beginning their careers after having gone to college in exponentially increased numbers. (WWII veterans in USA went to college on GI Bill, a tremendous boost to US intellectual capital; their children, the Baby Boomers, expected to go to college as a matter of course, and very many did, and many boomers took advanced degrees in engineering and sciences.)

    The Shah’s Iran, and wealth, offered employment opportunities for Americans. American and Israeli corporate managers based in Iran would hardly be inclined to persuade the Shah to spend Iran’s resources on Iran’s people; they were interested only in their own bottom line.

  70. fyi says:


    On Alevis (Alawites) in Turkey:


    What can I say but God is turning their tricks against them..

  71. Sineva says:

    James Canning says:
    May 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm
    A great pity then that the qataris took part in this insidious plot to try and destroy syria in the hope of hurting iran instead of thinking rationally,but then I guess after the utter shock of seeing mubarak overthrown and the narrowly crushed revolution in bahrain that they werent thinking to rationally,either that or they thought that they could try and use the arab spring to their advantage to try to attack iran,either way they screwed up big time,you think they would`ve learnt their lesson the last time they tried this sort of stupidity when they backed saddam against iran,hopefully iran and syria will repay them in kind for what they have done

  72. Fiorangela says:

    Meir Javendanfar plays Change That Tune

    Iran and Israel must unite to oppose Al Nusra in Syria

    suddenly Hezbollah looks like a Freedom Fighter not a Terrorist organization — when it’s Israel’s ‘freedom’ that is on the line.

  73. kooshy says:

    One should thank Hillary and Flynt for now including (now much more often than in the past) in their public speeches and articles the real and most important reason for US’s continued unconditional support for the state of Israel and associated Zionism (US’s regional strategic asset). Hillary’s analysis with regard of US usage of Israel It is true; a rightful, honest US foreign policy analyst should have the guts to say the truth and the real reason for US’s unconditional support of Israel and Zionism. In coincidence of interests with US/Western imperialism, Zionist were and are allowed to take advantage of Western/US imperialism for control of the Arab/ME resources to form a military post colony supporting US regional power play. The westerners and western states sudden love for the Jews after slaughtering them in WWII was not because of their love for the Jewish people or for democracy or the holocaust, it truly is for selfish strategic reason contrary to what American foreign policy elites would want the American public to know, and in a convenient way make them believe that the American foreign policy is a hostage to American elite Jewish lobby. This has become a reason of convenience between the educated American public intellectuals (likes of Juan Cole) and the foreign policy strategist with the rest of the country.

    So, conveniently whenever someone like Levretts complains about the US foreign policy for ME, at most, only one of the reasons and by far not the most important reason, in an unofficial and confidential way is released. This privy info is released in a way that although one is reading this news in NYT it comes away feeling like is been privy to the US foreign policy secrets, which is, that all our foreign policy problems is simply due to the fault of very wealthy uncontrollable Jewish lobby, without the need for you to explore any other foreign dominance strategic necessities.

  74. kooshy says:

    I should have added, that having the guts to revel and critisiz the real “stratgic” reason for US suport of Israel is by far more dangerous for carier of a US politician/Acadmition/Jornalist than simpily blaming Israel/Jewish Lobby.

  75. Neo says:

    nico says: May 19, 2013 at 8:01 am


    What is the utility of starting from a fatalistic position? I know this is not your meaning, but many people confuse ‘realism’ with ‘fatalism’, but this is surely a lose-lose way of looking at the world, and a mistaken one.

    But to answer your question more directly: As Chomsky points out over and over, US public opinion is directly opposed to most US government positions, be it on issues like healthcare, energy policy or foreign wars of domination. In short, if the average American had a greater say in key national policy decisions, the US wouldn’t be in such a moral and economic mess.

    So the ‘solution’ I was pointing to was one that would take away the power of the 1% by instituting a form of Direct Democracy – one that would engage the average citizen in the decision-making process. This already exists in countries like Switzerland, and is also partially in place in US states like California. No system is perfect, but some systems are definitely more people-centred than others. And even if there is little sense of ‘community’ in the US (am not sure this assumption of yours is totally correct), instituting a system of Direct Democracy would certainly help create it.

  76. Neo says:

    kooshy says: May 20, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I agree with you and the Leveretts that the utility of Israel for USA’s imperial designs is the main reason for such ‘unquestionable’ US support for Israel. Israeli Apartheid, despite its abhorrent racism, is supported in the same manner – though more zealously – that South African Apartheid was propped up by the West. Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress was also once described as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the US (Reagan) and also the UK (Thatcher).

    This is where some commentators here like James are so badly mistaken to focus on the power of the Jewish lobby in the US as the main culprit. For sure AIPAC has plenty of power and influence in the US, but this only serves US imperial designs to keep the Middle East region divided and weak. Israel is little more than a poodle with bulldog pretensions.

    Most analysts (globally), Leveretts included, can see the folly in maintaining such a position in the face of declining US power, and can see the need for a fundamental change in approach – one that would acknowledge and respond appropriately to a change in economic and power relations in the world today. This entails recognition of Iran as the main power in the Middle East.

    It is for the US’ own good to stop supporting Israeli Apartheid, just as it was to drop South African Apartheid. Back in the 1990s, it was a globally popular boycott drive that forced an end to Apartheid in defiance of US and UK official support for it. I guess the same will be needed today in the case of Israel.

    Interestingly, the US/EU sanctions drive against Iran and in support of Israeli Apartheid may in fact accelerate the inevitable demotion of Israel. It is likely to also accelerate the demotion of both the US and the EU.

    What I don’t get is how it is that the Israelis allow themselves to be used as the agents of war and destruction and proponents of Apartheid in this manner. They seem almost unconcerned with their own longer-term good, not to mention the psychological trauma of constant war and being the most hated nation on earth.

    I would not be surprised if one their lot suddenly does a ‘F. W. de Klerk’, and gets himself a Nobel Peace Prize, just like that ruthless murderer Menachem Begin.

  77. fyi says:


    On Mr. Sharif:


    You cannot invest in Pakistan; it has even worse climate of capital investment than India.

  78. BiBiJon says:


    Grigor Chiftchyan is the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan, Supreme Archimandrite.

  79. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    “I am curious why you do not resent Russia for taking Azerbaijan from the Persian Empire. Fabulous oil wealth.”

    Umm, there are no Russians posting Hooey here for me to debunk.

    Great statement Sakineh .
    This british incest breed need to be eliminated from the face of the earth , the world would be a better place , no doubt !

  80. Sakineh Bagoom says:


    Well, I wouldn’t go that far.
    I have great admiration for Mr. Canning. That’s why I try to prod him into seeing things differently.

  81. Fiorangela says:

    kooshy says:
    May 20, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Well said, and acknowledgement of Leveretts’ important role in exposing how US uses Israel uses US for their mutual benefit, is also well said.

    It is also the natural progression of things: the original (modern) zionists, w/ Chaim Weizmann as the major actor, used the British to achieve zionist ambitions. The British acquiesced in ‘being used’ because they were, in turn, using the Jews.

    As successors to the British, it is natural that US should step into the same dynamic.

    What is tragic is that none of these actors has figured out that their (repeated) pattern does not work. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    I trace the dogged commitment to a failed strategy to the commitment of all parties concerned, Jews, British, and Americans, to the sense of imperium/entitlement/choseness that is central to Old Testament. In my analysis, the Iranian national character — the ethnos — is radically different from the Old Testament dynamic; it also pre-dates the Old Testament: Cyrus inscribed his cylinder proclaiming human rights for ALL at a time when Yehud was just getting back on its feet and Ezra was just beginning to commit Hebrew mythos to a written form. Marduk, and god of Cyrus, and Zoroaster, the predecessor and prototype of the ethical element in Judaism and Christianity, did NOT elevate a sense of particularity and choseness.

    It’s also interesting to reflect that Germans were closer partners with Jews in establishing a Jewish colony in Palestine, very early in the 20th century. Thus, Germans and British were in a kind of competition to ‘sponsor’ the Jews. Further complicating the actual history, Herzl worked for over a decade to convince the Turkish sultan to give Palestine to Jews. That effort came to naught, while Arthur Ruppin nevertheless came from Germany, retained and relied upon German government contacts and consultants — and financial support — to surreptitiously purchase land in Palestine, and to build Tel Aviv, kibbutzim, and define the appropriate “human material” for the “new Jew” who would migrate from Europe to Palestine.

    Chaim Weizmann picked up where Herzl left off. Weizmann established himself in the British hierarchy in the midst of the Great War. He observed that Germany’s alliance with Ottoman empire would weaken Germany; he was aware that Churchill was single-mindedly determined to conquer the Ottoman empire for Britain. Weizmann made the bet that Britain would win the war, and developed ways of influencing key British leaders; namely, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, and A Balfour. The last was easiest to manipulate: Weizmann played on Balfour’s (perceived) ‘antisemitism,’ provoking Balfour to be more zionist than the zionists to cover us his guilt over antisemitic feelings.

    Having achieved a toehold in Palestine thanks to the Balfour declaration, zionists expanded their efforts beyond their mandate, and Balfour & British had second thoughts: what about their former and necessary allies, the Arabs? As the British tried to walk that tightrope between Jews and Arabs, Weizmann snapped it: in his view, Jews no longer needed Britain.


  82. Castellio says:

    Neo, Fiorangela.

    Joseph Massad wrote an article that will interest both of you. It was up on Al Jazeera but has been taken down from there, and they’ve also moved to empty their archive of it.

    But it exists in pdf here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/142366704/The-Last-of-the-Semites-Al-Jazeera-English

    I have to add that I think Kooshy’s desire to render the Israeli government largely blameless for Zionist actions, direction, and its ideology of racist superiority a rather misguided effort.

  83. Neo says:

    Castellio says: May 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm


    Yes I was aware of Massad’s recent article and how it was removed from AJ soon after publication. He is an outstanding scholar, and perhaps one of the most relevant in today’s debates, particularly in how he exposes an astonishing level of collaboration between Zionists and Nazis before and during WWII. His work shows just how righteous Ahmadinejad has been on the subject of Israel over the past few years.

    I also highly recommend his other recent article on “Israel and the politics of boycott”. It describes how some Zionist Jews undermined a boycott of Germany before WWII, and continued in the same manner to fight the boycott of Apartheid South Africa some decades later. You can find it here:


  84. kooshy says:

    Castellio says:
    May 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    “I have to add that I think Kooshy’s desire to render the Israeli government largely blameless for Zionist actions, direction, and its ideology of racist superiority a rather misguided effort.”

    In no way I intended or desired to keep the Israeli government blameless or immune for the Nakba, that was not and is not ever been my intention or desire, I am sorry if that’s what you have understood of my comments, this was not what I said, what I have continually said is that Israel and Zionism was not and is not possible if it did not strategically benefited the western colonialist countries (collectively) therefore the blame has also to go where is due and not only be blamed on the Zionists, Israel lobby and wealthy westerner Jews, as an escape goat to keep the westerners immune from sharing the blame for the Nakba. That’s all, the westerners and their government’s explanation for their protection of Israel is that (suddenly only in this last 60+ years) they want to protect the Jews right to exist on someone else’s land for humanitarian reasons, I say that is a lie.

  85. James Canning says:

    “Kerry displays his vaulting ambitions for US diplomacy” – – by Ed Luce, in today’s Financial Times. Great piece.

    Quote: “Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, last week ran a story likening Mr Kerry’s efforts to a ‘bull in a China shop’.”

    Zbig Brzezinski is quoted as expecting strategic thinking and vision from Kerry. I agree.

  86. James Canning says:


    Let’s remember that Britain for many decades was the primary guarantor of the territorial integrity of the Ottoman empire.

    Disastrous blunder by Turkey, in launching a German-inspired surprise attack on several Russian cities on the Black Sea, forced Britain (and France) to fight the Turks.

  87. James Canning says:


    I assume you are aware that most of the British who were based in Palestine during the Mandate, favored the Arabs.

  88. James Canning says:


    Are you actually arguing that the Persian empire did not include all of Azerbaijan?

  89. James Canning says:


    Do we agree that without the backing provided by Britain, for Persia’s independence, the Russians would have absorbed Persia into their empire during the 19th century?

  90. James Canning says:


    Israel for decades has tried to sell itself to the American public as a huge strategic asset in the Middle East. The truth is that Israel is a liability, for the US. Jeopardy to careers, in America, are much more likely for those who point out the simple fact of how great a liability for the US, that Israel is. (Even if there is cooperation on intelligence and other issues.)

    Iraq War was part of programme to “protect” Israel. Cost to US? $3 trillion?

  91. James Canning says:


    What specifically would you like me to change my thinking on? Try to remember that I favor an Iran richer and stronger than it is today.

  92. kooshy says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Sakineh Jaan

    I agree with you, I also like Gav. James’s old British colonialism, even as it’s, insistent and annoying like an insect. I do think we do need his western kind of colonialist mindset/posture to be able to balance the powers around Iran, as some believe balancing power between her adversaries was always an instrument of Iran’s defense for survival (poor man’s or a clever man’s way of defense). The Iranian strategy and foreign policy would be impossible without the traditional balancing of power between the east and the west (The east is not necessary east of Iran like with the Ottomans, or after them the Russians, or the British that were actually protecting their eastern Indian Empire to the east of Iran).

    At least in the last 300 years Iran did not have the capability to project offensive power behind its borders therefore beside the use of balance of power Iran has to use her soft power to implement her policies. Now that Iran has gained her sovereign independence, beside the traditional usage of using two adversarial opposing powers against each other to balance out their powers, there is an added value for Iran using the western imperialistic policies and posture. This added value usage has the same usage as holocaust does for the Jews, in this case past and present western colonialist mind serves as a soft power tool for Iran to convince colonialized deprived like-minded nations( call that Muslim awakening) to support Iran on her fight against western imperialism.

  93. James Canning says:


    Yes, I completely agree that Britain did its best to keep the Russians out of Persia, in order to protect the Indian empire.

    British protection of Ottoman empire also had much to do with India.

  94. James Canning says:


    At one point in mid-19th century, Lord Palmerston expected the Russians to capture and annex Tehran and Constantinople.

    In June 1914, the English king wrote the Russian emperor to complain about Russian activities in Persia and to warn him this hurt public opinion toward Russia in Britain.

  95. James Canning says:

    The German foreign minister told Spiegel today that a military solution in Syria will not produce a lasting peace. He may well be right.

  96. Smith says:

    US president praises Burma president hosting him in white house. This while a genocide of Muslims is going on in Burma. Remember when there was no Muslim genocide in Burma, US had no relations with Burma and had put it under sanctions. Actions speak louder than words: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22565267

  97. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “Do we agree that without the backing provided by Britain, for Persia’s independence, the Russians would have absorbed Persia into their empire during the 19th century?”

    James, this empire, that empire. What’s the difference?
    Do we agree that the British Empire caused nearly twenty million deaths in famine and genocide in Iran? Would Russia have done worse?

  98. jay says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Your razor sharp response does not cut through the fog of “imperial mind”. Glen Greenwald wrote a piece almost a year ago titled the “Imperial Mind” – it is relevant reading.


    I know many progressives that continue to pat themselves on the back for their commitment to intervention in Libya. They are blind to the obvious parellels – the backing provided by US for Libya’s independence….

  99. jay says:

    parallels – not parellels!

  100. fyi says:


    During the second half of the 19-th century, the Russian, Ottoman, and British Empires were in competition with one another over gaining control over this or that territory, country, or water-way.

    Iran (Persian) was one such bone of contention; she remained largely independent because these empires could not agree on how to dispose of her.

    [Another such place was Crete, even after the Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.]

    And if you read Russian, English, and Turkish accounts of the encounter of their states with Iran, it is always they that had the best intentions towards Persia.

    But the fact of the matter was that they could not agree on Iran’s division in a stable way since for all 3 empires, Persia was too big and too far to absorb in her entirety.

    They may have succeeded in finally coming into an agreement had World War I not intervened and destroyed 2 of those empires and left the third one a poor shadow of her former self.

  101. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says:
    May 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    The American Protestants – foolish men and women who lived in a dream palace of Ancient Israel etc, – created a country for Jews in Palestine.

    They took full advantage of the machinery of the presumably secular American Republic to achieve that.

    Two generations earlier, the French Catholics likewise had created a country for the Maronite (Catholic) Christian Arabs – called Lebanon.

    Both these countries are deeply pathological with a state of semi-civil war obtaining among the people living within their borders.

    Consider: in 2006, in East Beirut, some Christians were drinking to the success of IDF pilots. And we could all agree that the situation in Palestine is even worse in terms of civil concord.

    [There are other similarities between the 2 states: multiple sectarian populations living their varied fantasy lives, a quarter of the citizens living abroad, and so on.]

    These 2 states, created by the Faranji, will not last in the Middle East in their current forms.

  102. Sakineh Bagoom says:


    Thanks for the article. I am a fan of Mr. Greenwald. Always well informed and on-point.
    I particularly liked this recent debate.

  103. Sakineh Bagoom says:

    “What specifically would you like me to change my thinking on?”

    Where do I start James?

    1) IT IS NOT ABOUT PERCENTAGES! Particularly 20%U. It is about capitulation of Iran. You’ve been spamming this site since 2010 as your pet project.

    2) UK is an enemy of Iran. Has been. Is. Will be, as I’ve shown numerous times.

    3) Cameron/Hague do not wish better relations with Iran. They wish to crush her. As an example, who was behind the new EU sanctions? Who was behind cessation of insurance for Iranian shipping? On and on I can go.

    4) AIPAC tail does not always wag the US dog.

    5) …

    This’ll give you head start on what James…

  104. Nothing but the Truth says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 20, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t go that far.
    I have great admiration for Mr. Canning. That’s why I try to prod him into seeing things differently.””

    Well Sakineh of course I respect your opinion , but this great blog with heavyweights like yourself , fyi , smith and many others is being spoiled by Mr. JC , this is how I see it.
    I wish I could ignore Mr. JC like more than often recommended by RSH , but it is difficult to ignore pure ignorance and permanent twisting of historical facts.
    This must be the nature of ‘reptilian humanoids’.

  105. Fiorangela says:


    In my opinion, Massad’s narrative has holes in it big enough to drive an armored Caterpillar. Marc Ellis made this interesting comment on Massad’s article:

    No matter how tough the going gets, Palestinian intellectuals and activists have agreed that questioning initial Jewish motives in settling Palestine and discussions about Zionist-Nazi connections, then and now, are off limits.”

    Massad and others have capitulated to the requirement that they view their own situation, and the facts of history, with one eye closed. More specifically, and consistent with fyi’s comment at 10:46, I believe Massad’s understanding of the Ottoman-German-British triangle is woefully inadequate; it is peremptorily focused to view zionists as having no causal agency but only as victims; Germans as having no grievances, some of them profound; and British as working only from high-minded motives. (I also suspect that much of the discussion about “racial purity” is blown out of proportion, but at this point, that’s just a working hypothesis.)

    Zionist leaders, predominantly Chaim Weizmann and Louis Brandeis, observed this Great Game astutely, and “worked the odds” to the advantage of the zionist project in Palestine. Jews were, of course, stateless and had no military, so they used the militaries of other states to achieve their goals. This is hardly a new strategy: ancient Assyrians, with whom historically aware Jews would be familiar, achieved great success, at little cost, for Assyrians by pitting one foreign state’s army against another foreign state’s army, then swooping in to gather up the spoils of war.

  106. jay says:

    Sakineh Bagoom says:
    May 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm

    Maher epitomizes the Janus-faced self-appointed pseudo-progressive rational atheist arbiter of moral compass who is unable to make a single coherent argument without resorting to misdirection, distraction, or one-liner jingoism. Thanks for the pointer to the article.

    If only Mr. Maher was able to see his bigotry! No surprise that bigoted arguments often escape the bigot!!

  107. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    “The US has ffolishly injured the NPT. But the US has not “wrecked” the NPT. Big difference.”

    Are you suggesting US uses NPT to its benefit against others, and ignores its own compliance to NPT!!! Some injury!

  108. BiBiJon says:

    Kerry’s travels

    On top of appointing Dobbins, and meeting with Carl Bildt, Kerry is now hobnobbing with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. I wonder how many Iranian officials happen to be dining with the Sultan at the same time and place.


    And, btw, the war for the Golan just started.


    Funny how Israel denies the Syrian’s account that the IDF vehicle they shot up was approaching Syria, but at the same time this:

    “Meanwhile a Syrian rebel seriously injured in fighting across the border was treated in the Ziv hospital in northern Israel. Israel Radio said the man had been brought initially to an IDF field hospital by Israeli soldiers. It did not explain how Israeli forces reached the injured man.”

  109. LOYAL says:

    Rafsanjohny is not among approved list.

  110. nico says:

    Nothing but the Truth says:
    May 21, 2013 at 4:59 am

    This site is made to exchange views and opinions.
    It would be weaker without Mister 20%.
    I am not sure insults are necessary, debunking argumentatively those views is good enough.
    Sheer insults are different than irony or mockery.
    At least it would be respectful toward our hosts.

  111. James Canning says:


    In context of the NPT, the US very stupidly has damaged the national security interests of the people of the Middle East, and Europe. And elsewhere. Why? Israel lobby. Aipac does not want Obama to allow Iran to enrich uranium.

  112. James Canning says:

    Is anyone else who posts on this site familiar with William Dalrymple? I happened to attend an event in Seattle (Washington State, US) recently, where he spoke at some length about Afghanistan, and British policy towards that country in the mid-19th century. A good portion of the other people listening to Dalrmyple speak, were Indians. I got no sense that they regarded Dalrmyple’s opinions as having little merit due to the fact he is an upper-class Brit.

  113. James Canning says:


    Can you name one historian who agrees with your contention Persia could have avoided total domination by Russia, without any assistance from Britain? Name one, please.

  114. James Canning says:


    Is it fair to say you knew your statement that Britain “has been the enemy of Iran for 200 years”, was not true?

    Didn’t you make that statement in order to discredit the UK and mislead those who follow this site?

  115. James Canning says:


    Is it not true that the borders of the Persian empire once extended to the Volga River, at the north end of the Caspian Sea? What is your view as to what happened to the dependencies that formerly were subject to the Persians, along west side of Caspian Sea?

  116. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Israel may step up strikes inside Syria, military warns

    Events seem to indicate Israel is now – as usual – the US stalking horse in attacking Syria. Which is not surprising since the entire point of the Syria crisis is to protect Israel in the upcoming Iran war by degrading both Syria’s and Hizballah’s missile arsenals in advance.

  117. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Peter Jenkins On Ambassador Sherman’s Testimony on Iran

    Absolutely no change in US stance – as expected.

  118. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Herz-9 Short-Range Anti-Air Missile System – Details

    New weapon in Iran’s arsenal.

  119. BiBiJon says:

    The Guardian today, in keeping with its practice of publishing a database of prisoners of conscience a month before elections in any country, has published the Iran’s databse today.


    Actually I was lying like a toad, or like your average Guardian employee. The guardian only publishes this kind of nonsense only on the eve of Iranian elections. Fair? Balanced? Who cares?

    So they’ve got pictures of 2600 people they have put up. There’s no way of knowing if some of these people actually broke laws. Of course the justice system in Iran, like anywhere else is capable dishing out injustice, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.

    I found it interesting that the database contained 2,600 or so names/pictures. Frankly, If that is what it takes to rule a country, i.e. jail 0.00003% of the population, then Iranian ‘rulers’ have come up with one heck of an affordable system of rule; or else, Iranians must be the sheepest of the sheep; or possibly Mr Dehghan, Ms Hunt and their editors belong in the Hague to answer for charges of war mongering agitprop.

    It is all speculative of course. We have no way of knowing if another country has invented even a more affordable way of keeping a population in check, because the Guardian will not give us comparative data. For the same set of reason we don’t know what the standards are that the Guardian is foisting on only Iran. would 2500 prisoners cut it? 2400? 1?

    Oh well, yawn.

  120. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    In context of the NPT, the US very stupidly has damaged the national security interests of the people of the Middle East, and Europe. And elsewhere. Why? Israel lobby. Aipac does not want Obama to allow Iran to enrich uranium.”

    Ridiculous assertion.
    Is the nuclear agreement between the US and India somehow related to the jewish lobby ?
    Your obsession about the jewish lobby is beyond unhealthy.

  121. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm
    Nothing,Is it not true that the borders of the Persian empire once extended to the Volga River, at the north end of the Caspian Sea? What is your view as to what happened to the dependencies that formerly were subject to the Persians, along west side of Caspian Sea?

    Sophistic assertion shrouded in lies and selfdeception.
    Was Mossadegh a soviet agent in 1953 ?
    That was UK way to sell their criminal project at that time.
    It is well known today that the 1953 putsch was intended to implement a Banana republic out of sheer greed and that the soviets were the excuse of the moment.
    UK and US only need excuse, today’s being the jewish lobby.
    Yesterday the out of nowhere (or rather out of CIA invention) terrorists.
    Tomorow human rights or another reasons, as shown in externally crzated and backed upraising in syria …

    A Criminal remains a Criminal.
    There is no excuse for UK and US behaviour and policies.

  122. Smith says:

    BiBiJon says:
    May 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    It is unimportant. The western media was instrumental in operation Ajax. Basically they are their states’ extension of imperial foreign policy implementers. Nothing good should be expected of them. At all. They are full of lies and deceit.

  123. Smith says:

    The Putin-Medvedev scenario was buried today in Iran.

    Also the single biggest cause of Iran’s problems in the past 3 decades (Hashemi) was made irrelevant today along with his corrupt sons. It is an irony that he is becoming irrelevant by the power of a constitution that he co-authored.

    This is making my conviction stronger that Iran needs a constitutional amendment, barring second coming of ex-presidents as well as other stuff with regard to supreme leader/parliament/judiciary and power structure.

  124. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm
    “Nico,Even before Jean Monnet was pushing for an economic community in Europe after the Second World War ended, Winston Churchill was proposing that France and Britain unite into one country.Surely the EU is a good thing.”

    Yep, so good that the UK want to quit and is reminded who’s the boss.
    So good that the stealthy EURO project as put by the US spy chief in 1965 is such a huge success that it will implode and leave the economy of the EU countries so much better.

  125. nico says:

    Smith says:
    Say 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    “The Putin-Medvedev scenario was buried today in Iran.”

    That is ?

  126. nico says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 21, 2013 at 1:47

    Peter Jenkins On Ambassador Sherman’s Testimony on Iran

    “Most Europeans yearn for the objectivity and ethical agnosticism that underlay the US opening to China, détente with the Soviet Union, and the final flurry of US/USSR agreements heralding the end of the Cold War. That sort of objectivity should come naturally, one might think, when the adversary is Iran, a state so very much weaker than the US. Alas, the opposite seems to be the case!”

    Weaker ?
    The whole west is not able to crack the nut for 30 years.
    What does it tell about Iran geostrategic position ?

  127. Nasser says:


    “There is growing Shiite “populism” represented by Maliki, who seems to have bowed again to the demands of Kurds in order to devote himself entirely to confronting the protesters in Sunni governorates, who are “terrorists, Baathists and sectarian,” as Maliki has described the protests since their outset.” – Good! Baghdad will be well advised to leave the Kurds alone, bribe them if necessary and focus the entirety of its energy on fighting its real enemies.

  128. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Yousaf Butt on ‘Reset’ on Iran now

  129. James Canning says:


    Perhaps you would profit from studying maps of the Persian empire, during the 17th & 18th centuries.

    Is it possible you think Iran did not control the entire western shore of the Caspian Sea? Centuries ago.

    Re: Mossadegh, what is the primary reason you think the Iranian religious leaders wanted him overthrown?

  130. James Canning says:


    If Aipac had wanted to block the nuclear deal between the US and India, it would have done it. You doubt this?

    Who do you think most responsible for blocking the number of Iranian efforts to improve US-Iran relations, over past two decades? Only a fool would deny it was the Isrel lobby that blocked the Iranian initiatives.

    I dind it interesting you try to downplay the pernicious influence of hte most powerful lobby in washington.

  131. fyi says:

    Richard Steven Hack says:
    May 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    It is too late for any of that – the time for that was in 2007.

  132. James Canning says:


    You ignore the fact a warmonger occupied the Vice Presidency, in 2007. Dick Cheney. He wanted the US to attack Iran, not to make a deal with Iran.

  133. James Canning says:

    Has anyone else noticed that the reformist president of Burma, Thein Seen, is being wined and dined in Washington this week? Very interesting.

  134. Fiorangela says:

    Neo says:
    May 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    thanks for the link to another piece of Massad’s writing.

    Afraid I do not share your admiration for Dr. Massad. His scholarship is at best sloppy, at worst, propaganda dressed up as history. He misstates key facts and distorts the interpretation of events (i.e. he implies that Germany BEGAN a boycott of Jews in April 1933, when in fact the German govt. declared a ONE DAY retaliatory boycott of German Jews, Apr. 1, 1933). He makes rooky mistakes in interpreting history; for example, he interprets events in year 1933, colored by events alleged to have occurred at least 10 years AFTER 1933, but he fails to acknowledge events (i.e. starvation deaths of 800,000 German civilians, many of them children) that occurred BEFORE 1933 that could have had a significant bearing on actions in 1933.

  135. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    May 21, 2013 aat 7:57 pm

    “If Aipac had wanted to block the nuclear deal between the US and India, it would have done it. You doubt this?”

    Ouch !
    It seems my argument was too eliptic and you did not grasp it.
    Or maybe there is no worse deaf a man than the one who not want to listen.
    Will give it another try.
    You claim that the shredding of the NPT by the US is due to the AIPAC influence in the case of Iran.
    You claim that the US are victim of the JEWISH lobby.

    Well with India not being part of the NPT and having proliferated nukes and the US having a nuke deal with them, it cleary demonstrate that the US is responsible for the shredding of the NPT and that is a US policy way beyond the influence of the JEWS.

  136. nico says:

    James Canning says:May 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    “Nico,,Perhaps you would profit from studying maps of the Persian empire, during the 17th & 18th centuries.Is it possible you think Iran did not control the entire western shore of the Caspian Sea? Centuries ago.”

    Typical sophistic argument : distortion of truth camouflaged under reasonable statement, half truth and selfrighteousness.

    Our ancestors were living in caves and found their subsistance by hunting. That is no excuse for doing the same today. However the US and UK have the same dominance driven policy today that one 2 or 3 centuries ago.
    The issue is that the US and the west are still in a medieval mindset with their armies and war of conquests.
    That is as backward policy as living in caves today.

  137. nico says:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.svgJames Canning says:May 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    You oppose the growing wealth and power of China? Russia?”

    No I do not “oppose” that as far as they do not commit crimes. You know the same as the US and their banana republics for the last 20 years.

    That being said I do not believe the model of “progress” only seen as economic and materialistic development is sustainable.
    Actually the world population has been rising exponentially
    Natural ressources is limited asset and accessible raw material is going to be depleted shortly.

    My belief is that we will see in the near future a global economic collapse mainly due to those limitations.
    Will it be slow ? Will it take 5 years, 20 years, 50 years ?
    Will it happens due to current financial crisis, the next one or a war, or rise of raw material price. Who knows ?
    Whatever it will take, it is in sight and will happen tomorow when measured in earth or humanity timescale.

  138. nico says:

    Canning says:
    May 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    “Nico,You oppose the growing wealth and power of China? Russia?”

    No I do not “oppose” that as far as they do not commit crimes. You know the same as the US and their banana republics for the last 20 years.
    That being said I do not believe the model of “progress” only seen as economic and materialistic development is sustainable.
    Actually the world population has been rising exponentially
    Natural ressources is limited asset and accessible raw material is going to be depleted shortly.
    My belief is that we will see in the near future a global economic collapse mainly due to those limitations.
    Will it be slow or brutal ? Will it take 5 years, 20 years, 50 years ?
    Will it happens due to current financial crisis, the next one or a war, or rise of raw material price. Who knows ?Whatever it will take, it is in sight and will happen tomorow when measured in earth or humanity timescale.
    The paradigm of globalization and endless unsustainable economic development is short lived and the next generation will see it if not us.

  139. Liz says:

    An interesting article in the Lebanese ‘Daily Star’, which from my understanding is usually very hostile towards Iran:

    Iran bars Rafsanjani, Mashaei from election


  140. James Canning says:


    I entirely agree with you that economic growth in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing.

    Financial Times charts today show the US creates twice the carbon monoxide per unit of production, than does the EU. China produces four and on-half times as much as the UK, per unit of production. Obviously, not a good thing.

    And I think a country can grow richer even if its economy is not growing, by better use of resources.

  141. James Canning says:


    What Iranian territory do you think the US wants to annex?

    I take it you concede that Russia in fact annexed substantial territories that formerly were controlled by the Persian empire.

    Curious thing, that you think this fact should be irrelevant.

  142. James Canning says:

    Yes, “where did the US go wrong?”

    Simon Kuper, writing in the Financial Times May 4/5 (“Smile if you live in Europe”):

    “A decade ago, American pundits were predicting that anti-Semitism or vengeful Muslim immigrants or both would rip Europe apart. Inded, in 2004, the American ambassador to the European Union, Rockwell Schnabel, said continental anti-Semitism was ‘getting to a point where its is as bad as it was in the 1930s’. That claim was always ludicrous but its ludicrousness should now be plain even to Schnabel.”

    “One day young Europeans will get jobs again, and we’ll just be a delightful backwater with excellent macchiato. I can think of several worse places to live.”