Nelson Mandela, Iran, and the Critique of American Hegemony

As the world commemorates Nelson Mandela, it is unfortunate that so much of the public discussion is dominated by the pious bloviating of politicians whose own careers seem not just unspeakably trivial compared to Mandela’s, but run directly against so much of what Mandela worked so hard to accomplish in his life.  We think it is better to remember Mandela’s own words and deeds.  In particular, we want to recall Mandela’s ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his clear criticism of what he saw as America’s drive to dominate the Middle East and the Muslim world.

As Cyrus Safdari points out, everyone should remember that “Islamic Iran was strongly supporting the freedom movement [in South Africa], the US sided with the S African apartheid regime and Reagan in particular was opposed to the sanctions on that government.  Israel too was a close cooperator with the racist regime there, and may have even jointly developed a nuclear weapon with South Africa.  Israel was the most significant arms supplier to that regime throughout the 1980s and served as a lifeline for the apartheid government during a period when Pretoria faced growing international condemnation and heightened domestic unrest.”

So it is hardly surprising that in 1992—two years after his release from prison and two years before his election to South Africa’s presidency, during one of the most intense and difficult phases in the negotiations and political struggle to end apartheid in his own country—Mandela visited the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Upon his arrival in Tehran, Mandela said, “We are here to thank the Iranian government and nation for their support in the black people’s struggle against apartheid.”  And watch the short video embedded above, see here, in which Mandela meets Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, addressing Khamenei as “my leader.”  Mandela also laid a wreath at Imam Khomeini’s tomb.

Mandela visited Iran again as President of South Africa.  Throughout his presidency, he was publicly dismissive of efforts—including those by American presidents—to persuade him to turn away from the Islamic Republic.  As he said of the United States in 1997, “How can they have the arrogance to dictate to us who our friends should be?”  And after he left office in 1999, he was utterly clear in his critique of the increasingly hegemonic orientation of America’s post-9/11 policy in the Middle East.

In this spirit, Mandela spoke to Newsweek in 2002 about the George W. Bush administration’s accelerating drive to invade Iraq:

“We must understand the seriousness of this situation.  The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken.

Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979.  Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan.  That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan.  But the most catastrophic action of the United States was to sabotage the decision that was painstakingly stitched together by the United Nations regarding the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan.

If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peaceBecause what [America] is saying is that if you are afraid of a veto in the Security Council, you can go outside and take action and violate the sovereignty of other countries.  That is the message they are sending to the world.

That must be condemned in the strongest terms…[T]here is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like.”

Regarding the Bush administration’s fraudulent “case” about Saddam Husayn’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Mandela said that there was “no evidence whatsoever of [development of weapons of] mass destruction.  Neither Bush nor [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair has provided any evidence that such weapons exist.  But what we know is that Israel has weapons of mass destruction.  Nobody talks about that.  Why should there be one standard for one country, especially because it is black, and another one for another country, Israel, that is white.”

We know from our own experience in the George W. Bush administration that the Bush White House was concerned about Mandela’s criticisms—for he was one of the few international voices of unquestioned moral stature that the United States couldn’t manage to silence during the run-up to America’s illegal invasion of Iraq.  Such concern undoubtedly prompted our boss at the time, then-national security adviser Condoleeza Rice, to take a phone call from Mandela in which he offered basic political and moral correction on other aspects of American Middle East policy.  Rice could not have been more pleasant during her conversation with Mandela—but then, of course, she and her colleagues went ahead and did exactly as they had planned.

In the end, the Bush White House needn’t really have been concerned about Mandela’s outspoken criticisms of U.S. policy.  Too few people in post-9/11 America were willing to be galvanized into action to demand a different course—not even by an international icon whose own dedication to doing the right thing as he saw it was unsurpassed.  But Mandela’s words were absolutely on the mark.

It’s nice that, in the wake of Mandela’s death, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have publicly praised his life.  But we wish that they would reflect seriously on Mandela’s critique of Western policy—for it might compel them to reorient that policy, especially toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, in a fundamentally different direction.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

75 Responses to “Nelson Mandela, Iran, and the Critique of American Hegemony”

  1. Karl.. says:

    Who cares about obama and cameron’s bs? Both US and UK supported the regime in South Africa under apartheid more than anyone and none of those would admit palestinians face apartheid today.

  2. Karl.. says:

    The missing american in Iran…a cia spy, wow really surprising uh..

    http://news.yahoo.com/video/american-missing-iran-rogue-cia-125710807-cbs.html

  3. Iranian@Iran says:

    Great article. Mandela called Ayatollah Khamenei “my leader” and the US a threat to world peace.

    Can you find any of this in any mainstream western media outlet?

  4. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Rogue operation (Kish Island), was it not? Important fact.

  5. James Canning says:

    Condoleezza Rice played a key role in providing cover for the conspiracy to invade Iraq on knowingly false pretenses.

  6. James Canning says:

    The Reagan administration simply failed to understand the purpose of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, particularly after Gorbachev took power. Margaret Thatcher also failed to understand adequately what the USSR was trying to accomplish.

  7. James Canning says:

    The spectacular incompetence of Condoleezza Rice, in terms of strategic thinking, also helped create the very dangerous situation in the West Bank, with Israel’s illegal “sparation barrier” wangering hither and thither all over occupied Palestine.

  8. James Canning says:

    Separation barrier, wandering hither and thither in the West Bank, thanks in part to Condoleezza Rice.

  9. Rehmat says:

    Since his death early this momth, former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, has been topic of praise and hatred from world leaders and media Gurus. For example, Israeli columnist Larry Derfner equated Nelson Mandela with Menachem Begin, the head of Jewish terrorist militia Irgun.

    “Mandela against apartheid, Begin against the British Mandate, Arafat against the occupation. Their differences as rebel leaders are not as important as what they had in common: All three took up arms in the cause of freedom,” wrote Derfner at Israeli +972 website on December 11, 2013. He also claims that Nelson Mandela was “inspired” by a Jewish terrorist like Begin. If that’s true, then how come the two world-renowned terrorists, Shimon Perse and Benjamin Netanyahu, snubbed Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesburg?

    On the other hand, Peter Oborne, the so-called antisemite chief political commentator at British daily The Telegraph, compared Mndela to biblical prophet Jesus.

    Personally, I feel both of them are bigots…..

    http://rehmat1.com/2013/12/13/mandela-was-neither-terrorist-begin-nor-jesus/

  10. Fiorangela says:

    re: “Too few people in post-9/11 America were willing to be galvanized into action to demand a different course—not even by an international icon whose own dedication to doing the right thing as he saw it was unsurpassed. But Mandela’s words were absolutely on the mark.”

    – – –

    Perhaps “too few people” in influential positions, as were the Leveretts and who WERE “galvanized into action,” but millions of people did what they could to oppose USA’s opportunistic “imperial turn” into Iraq.

    The question is, What can we do NOW? How can the US be pulled back from its errant and arrogant course?

    – – –

    The attitude that must be confronted was voiced by MIT economist Simon Johnson — http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ReserveSys who confronted the NY Federal Reserve about the conflict of interest involved when Jamie Diamon of Citigroup, and also Board Member of the NY Federal Reserve, requested and received a favorable deal for Citigroup from NY Fed. When Johnson confronted the Fed about this, he was told, “The rules that apply to the rest of American society else do not apply to us.” (@ 1.27)

  11. Richard Steven Hack says:

    US hits firms for Iran violations but urges Congress against more sanctions
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/12/us-congress-iran-sanctions-violations

    This is called “talking out of both sides of your mouth” – an Obama specialty…

  12. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Iran quits nuclear talks protesting US blacklist move
    http://news.yahoo.com/iran-halts-nuclear-talks-us-blacklist-move-063122680.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

    If the Senate imposes new sanctions in the next couple months, as is threatened, the much-lauded Iran deal will collapse…

  13. Richard Steven Hack says:

    State: Non-nuclear sanctions could be OK
    http://thehill.com/blogs/global-affairs/middle-east-north-africa/192985-state-non-nuclear-sanctions-on-iran-could-be-ok

    Again, this allows Obama to claim Iran broke the deal while remaining blameless himself…another Obama specialty…

  14. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Sounds like an episode of Nikita – which is on tonight, by the way… :-) Or maybe Homeland, given the similarity to the current plot arc of Brody going into Tehran on a secret CIA mission…

    Missing American in Iran was on unapproved mission
    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/missing-american-iran-was-working-cia

  15. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Who does your Congressional representative work for – you or Israel?

    In Budget Crunch, Congress Still Triples Aid Request for Israel
    http://news.antiwar.com/2013/12/12/in-budget-crunch-congress-still-triples-aid-request-for-israel/

  16. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Will Les Clintons Scuttle Us/Iran Rapproachement?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/13/will-les-clintons-scuttle-usiran-rapproachement/

    I don’t buy all the crap about Obama being the “good guy”, but I DO agree that having Hillary “Obliterate Iran” Clinton in the White House would put paid to any Iran diplomacy.

  17. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Who does Obama take advice from?

    Corporate Lobbyist Hired as Obama Adviser Has Ties to Defense, Energy Industries
    http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/12/13/corporate-lobbyist-hired-as-obama-adviser-has-ties-to-defense-energy-industries/

  18. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Wow…who does Obama work for?

    Former head of Israel’s central bank a contender for Federal Reserve post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/former-head-of-israels-central-bank-a-contender-for-federal-reserve-post/2013/12/11/28161f0a-62bf-11e3-91b3-f2bb96304e34_story.html

  19. kooshy says:

    LOYAL says:
    December 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    I just read the NYT report on his mission as a CIA agent to Iran it looks to me he was a much more important asset than just a kidnapper or rendition operator or even a information collector. Most probably he was on much more important mission like arranging for assassination of high officials or scientist. Otherwise the USG wouldn’t have cared about him as much seven years later, they are expecting a bad news and try to preempt it, that’s why we now are hearing a little more details but not what his real sanction was.

  20. Dan Cooper says:

    Why Israel Won’t Abide Any Iran Nuclear Accord

    With or without nuclear weapons, Iran and its allies are the chief impediments to Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37111.htm

  21. James Canning says:

    Dan,

    If P5+1 make deal with Iran, Israel will just have to sulk (assuming it does not like the deal).

  22. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Obama may have felt obliged to give something to fellow Democrats who need to cater to Aipac.

  23. James Canning says:

    Philip Weiss: “In 1950s, CIA secretly funded anti-Zionist lobby group in US”

    http://mondoweiss.net/2013/12/secretly-funded-zionist.html

  24. Fiorangela says:

    Graham Fuller gets it

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/graham-e-fuller/iran-marks-a-watershed-in_b_4434216.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

    “If the dialog continues to inch forward in the coming months, the longer range implications are huge.

    First, it marks a signal step away from the obsessive centrality of Iran in US Middle East policies-a hostile confrontation of thirty-five crippling years. The Iran optic distorted everything else. Syria was more about Iran than about Syria. The Iraq war was as much about Iran as about Iraq. Lebanon is mostly about Iran and its Hizballah allies. Washington and Tehran could not explore many shared goals in Afghanistan. Eurasian pipeline routes required fanciful rerouting to foreclose any benefit to Iran. Riyadh sought to enlist Washington in its virulent and destructive anti-Shi’ite campaign. Iran came to cloud our vision, rob us of flexibility, and limit our ability to assess individual regional problems on their own merits.

    If we can now liberate our geopolitical imaginations a bit, we might perceive the outlines of a new Middle East emerging. It touches what we do with Russia, China, Afghanistan, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Turkey, Israel, the Arab world, Pakistan, India, and East Asian energy. ”

    – – –
    The best thing we could do in the region is get out, after de-fanging our mad-dog Israel.

  25. M. Ali says:

    Anyone watch Homeland? A high member of Sepah is blackmailed by Iran to infiltrate the Sepah, and an American is sent in for asulym in Iran, to assasinate the head of Sepah, so that their guy replaces him, and they get to control Iran from within and facilate a regime change.

    And in the show, these actions are the actions of the good guys and we as the audience are supposed to applaud them.

    Now find me ONE Iranian film or show that shows an Iranian going to USA to assasinate a high official.

  26. Unknown Unknowns says:

    M. Ali:

    In response to your request for suggested reading/ listening materials:

    There is a little book (180 or 200 pages max) called Saqifa by Allame Morteza Askari which is a must read for those who want to understand the true history of the split in the Moslem community, written by our greatest historian of hadith.

    As for talks, try Dr. Rahim-pur Azghadi. His thinking is “be ruz” or relevant to today’s mindset.

  27. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    By “de-fanging” Israel, do you mean the US should support Saudi Arabia and Iran in their effort to get rid of Israel’s nukes?

  28. Richard Steven Hack says:

    With Islamists now in firm control of Syria rebellion, civil war might last years
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/12/12/211529/with-islamists-now-in-firm-control.html

    That will only be true if the US and Israel are prepared to WAIT years for an Iran war. Since the goal of the Iran crisis is to defang BOTH Syria and Hizballah in Lebanon in order to enable a “cheap” (for Israel) Iran war, I can’t see how waiting another ten years for that to happen – IF it happens – is a feasible plan for either Netanyahu or the US elite. The article is correct that as long as the insurgents are supported from outside, there is no way Assad can win, and as long as Assad retains the loyalty of the military, there is no way the insurgents can win – without outside military intervention by the US/NATO/Israel.

  29. Richard Steven Hack says:

    And here is more proof that the goal is indeed the damaging of Syria permanently as part of an overall goal to enable Israel to attack Hizballah in Lebanon…,

    U.S. may be open to Islamists joining Syrian rebel coalition
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-willing-to-support-a-syrian-rebel-coalition-that-would-include-islamist-groups/2013/12/12/e400fc86-636d-11e3-aa81-e1dab1360323_story.html

    The “as long as they aren’t Al Qaeda” bit is really irrelevant to Obama. He couldn’t care less as long as the goal of damaging Syria sufficiently is achieved – and the Islamists are the only ones capable of doing that – or at least capable of being a casus belli for foreign military intervention – which is still very much in the cards.

    Besides which, there is no “Al Qaeda” anyway. They’re all affiliated in some way or another. Which is more proof that Obama is lying.

  30. Richard Steven Hack says:

    Russia says U.S. measure threatens Iran nuclear deal
    http://www.trust.org/item/20131213130954-ma1s6

    No duh…

  31. James Canning says:

    R S Hack,

    Perhaps some of the Aipac stooges inside the Obama administration are willing to risk wrecking the nuclear deal with Iran.

  32. Pirouz says:

    I lived for a time in Iran during the mid-70’s when the intellectual there identified a minor power alliance between Zionist Israel, Afrikaner-South Africa and Imperial Iran. It was obvious back then to even the most minimally informed that Iran’s dictatorship was on the wrong side of history, and was yet another confirmation for what was wrong with the country.

    I have to say I was pleased to see Barack shook hands with Raul. We Americans hear a lot of Rouhani being curtailed by “hardliners” in his country but I have to think perhaps our American hardliners may be at least if not more constraining on our top executive in government here in the U.S..

  33. Fiorangela says:

    M. Ali says: December 14, 2013 at 5:55 am

    “. . . an American is sent in for asulym in Iran, to assasinate the head of Sepah, so that their guy replaces him, and they get to control Iran from within and facilate a regime change.
    And in the show, these actions are the actions of the good guys and we as the audience are supposed to applaud them.

    Now find me ONE Iranian film or show that shows an Iranian going to USA to assasinate a high official.”

    = = =

    These last few days have been devoted to reliving the killing of schoolchildren in Newtown, Mass, even as another high school student killed himself in the project of attempting to kill a high school teacher.

    “Experts” on C Span this morning — two police chiefs — argued that the problem would be solved if the police had access to more mental health records that could be checked before permitting someone to purchase a gun.

    But guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    American children are taught, by the lars and penates of the contemporary living room, that assassinating someone is a good thing, worthy of applause.

    M. Ali challenged, “Now find me ONE Iranian film or show that shows an Iranian going to USA to assasinate a high official.”

    I ask, How many incidents of the shooting of school children have occurred in Iran?

    The United States Congress applauds itself for the effectiveness of its efforts to cause Iranian people to suffer, to feel uncertain, to hate their leaders to the extent that would seek to assassinate them.

    But the USA finds it necessary to send its own spies in to provoke the deed; Iranians seem not to be cracking, while American school children are cracking, that is, exhibiting signs of mental illness. Or maybe not: Maybe the behavior of Americans like Mr. Lanza and the 18 year old in Arizona are the logical outcome of a culture of violence and war.

    Perhaps police chiefs in Iran have greater access to mental health records??

    Or perhaps Iranians do not teach their children that assassinating other people is an act worthy of applause.

    Could somebody clue in Wendy Sherman and Daniel Cohen, and Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, and Duncan Hunter and Mark Kirk, that THEY are responsible for the killings of 20 young children in Newtown, Mass.

  34. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    December 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    that would be a good start.

    Then demand that Israel abide by international law and also that Israelis operating in the US conform to US law and policy, for example, by registering as foreign agents, and until they do, no money from Uncle Sam’s busted piggy bank.

    Then …

    Then …

  35. M. Ali says:

    Unknown Unknowns, thanks for your suggestions. I’ve listened to some of Azghadi’s on IRIB, and there are certain aspects of his style that I don’t like. I saw one of his speeches a month or so back, where he went to Japan, and gave a speech to Iranian diaspora there. And most of his speech was negatively portraying Japanese culture.

    I think that’s very disrespectful. To be invited to a country, allowed to speak freely, and then use it as a platform to attack the host country.

  36. Castellio says:

    James Canning says: December 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    “The Reagan administration simply failed to understand the purpose of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, particularly after Gorbachev took power. Margaret Thatcher also failed to understand adequately what the USSR was trying to accomplish.”

    James, what are you talking about?

  37. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    M Ali,

    I agree that Azghadi’s style can be off-putting for some. The content of what he has to say is good but I don’t always like his style.

    Sahifeye Imam (Khomeini) is also great.

    The speeches and letters of Imam and Agha are the highest level of Islam in our time, explained by two individuals who had to deal with real problems in governing a society.

    Remember there’s nobody as hardcore as Imam- nobody.

    I always benefit from reading and re-reading Imam’s and Agha’s speeches and letters.

  38. M. Ali says:

    I’ve listened to UU’s suggestion, and decided to listen to Azghadi some more, and at the same time, I listened to BiB’s suggestion of listening to Khamenie’s speeches. His recent one about culture was very good. Its surprising how a 74 year old man is so up to date in regards to concepts that is easily relatable to younger generations.

  39. Unknown Unknowns says:

    M. Ali-san:
    It is true that what you say about Dr. Azghadi’s performance is disrespectful. However, no one is perfect. I humbly (a first!) suggest that the peaks of his rhetoric merit your overlooking his faults.

    But the more important recommendation was the Allame Askari book, صقیفه. I would be interested in what you think about it, if you care to share your thoughts once you get around to reading it. It is a very important book, especially for Iranians of Sunni heritage (if not belief), because it enables you to see the point of view of the majority of your countrymen in the clear light of an impeccably written history (and one which, incidentally, relies almost entirely on Sunni sources).

  40. Unknown Unknowns says:

    M. Ali-san:

    Well, I just looked at the good allame’s site hoping to find a link to the book for you to download, but the book is not available online. Here is the link to his other books, all of which are recommended highly to everyone, especially his moaalem ol-madresatayn (بازشناسی دو مکتب). However, the Saqifa is the one for you.

    http://www.alaskari.info/download.htm

  41. M. Ali says:

    Dear UU, I think I will have to delay reading the book. Unfortunately, while I think my stay in Iran has greatly improved my farsi (english education, living in dubai, and our own southern dialect handicapped my farsi), I still have a bit of difficulty when it comes to reading certain material.

  42. Fiorangela says:

    Nima Shirazi and the Leveretts are exploring the same moral universe —

    Desmond Tutu refused to attend an international event because Tony Blair would be there

    “Leadership and morality are indivisible,” Tutu wrote. “Good leaders are the custodians of morality… If it is acceptable for leaders to take drastic action on the basis of a lie, without an acknowledgement or an apology when they are found out, what should we teach our children?”

    = = =

    Gaetano Filangieri: “What is a good law? A good law conforms with Christian moral norms [sedi2 dot esteri dot it/sitiweb/AmbWashington/…/2_filangieri_interno dot pdf‎] (back when Christianity relied on Jesus, not Hagee, as its exemplar). This was the Christianity of Thomas Jefferson:

    “To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed, but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others, ascribing to himself every human excellence, and believing he never claimed any other.”

  43. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says:

    December 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

    The Catholic Ukrainians almost hate Russians (and other Orthodox Ukrainians).

    The Catholics inhabit largely Western Ukraine and the Orthodox (both Russian and Ukrainian) Eastern Ukraine.

    There is no natural border between Russia and Ukraine.

    The word itself means “border country”.

    The best that could have been hoped was a neutral Ukraine but neither Axis Powers nor Russia could leave that one alone.

    In my opinion, Russia will never cede Ukraine to the Axis Powers and she will even go to war to prevent it.

    [A short war of kicking Axis Powers out of Ukraine to prevent the much larger future war against Russia after absorption of Ukraine into the Axis Powers as a frontier state against Russia.]

    Alternatively, Russia could organize the UNLF – Ukrainian National Liberation Front to bring back Ukraine into the Russian sphere – something that had obtained since before the time of Peter the Great.

    Ukraine is too far and too alien for Axis Powers, but this military alliance of a billion people cannot admit limits to its power as we see it waging wars in Africa, in the Near East and pivoting to East Asia.

  44. Karl.. says:

    On Ukraine –
    To stupid to even comment.

    http://rt.com/news/mccain-kiev-visit-protests-266/

  45. fyi says:

    All:

    In the Halls of the Mad King:

    Intellectual Accomplishment in the Imperial Capital

    The University of the District of Columbia, the only public university in the Imperial Capital, is struggling to survive. To save money, the university has eliminated 17 academic programs, including economics, history, physics, and sociology.

    But UDC interim president James E. Lyons Sr has been ordered by the Board of Trustees to keep the university’s athletic program, which brought in $1.1 million in revenue last year — but cost the school $4.1 million to operate.

    “It is critical to the life of a university that there be these types of opportunities,” explained university trustee Jerome Shelton. “Please understand, this is almost a life-or-death question for me.” (RC/Washington Post)

    …And you thought it was bad when parents tried to live through the glories of their own children.

  46. fyi says:

    All:

    Mr. Abedian on effect of sanctions in South Africa:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/world/2013/12/131215_l93_abed.shtml

    (In Persian)

  47. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Russia would benefit from Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Which I think will happen, though this will not be for many years.

  48. James Canning says:

    Castellio,

    Regarding Afghanistan, I am referring to the fact the Soviet Union was trying to accomplish objectives that were in the best interests of the US.

    Regarding Grobachev, Thatcher failed to grasp the fact he wanted the USSR out of Afghanistan, with a minimum of honour. Virtually from his first day in office. The US and the UK should have given assistance to Gorbachev, in my view.

  49. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    I was glad to see you agree the US should be supporting the effort of Saudi Arabia and Iran to get rid of Israel’s nukes. And we of course know why the US fails to do the obvious.

  50. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    M Ali,

    Yes the culture speech was excellent.

    English translation:

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1846

    They broadcast it on TV. When the SL mentioned “Spiderman” and “Batman”, Rouhani and the Larijanis almost lost it laughing…

  51. Bussed-in Basiji says:

    Quote:

    “Once, our friends in a very active and responsible organization began to make some good dolls. They were good dolls and this provoked the opposing side – that is to say, the opponents and foreigners. They said in a mocking tone that the Iranians have made these dolls to replace Barbie and other such dolls. However, these Iranian dolls did not work. I said to the officials in charge, “Your problem is that you have put on the market a boy or girl doll with a specific name, but our children do not know your dolls at all”. When I speak about cultural synergy, this is what I mean. The doll that they made was just a doll. This is while our children know Spiderman. Our children know Batman. They have made 10, 20 movies about it and our children have seen them. When they see in a shop, the doll of the character in the movie, they ask their parents to buy it for them because they know this doll. This is cultural synergy. I said to these officials that, besides making these dolls, they should have made 10, 20 children’s movies so that this doll could have become familiar for the children. If they had done this, children would have bought them. But, when it is not introduced to children, it will have no market appeal and it will fail, as was the case with these dolls. So, we should pay attention to such issues. Anyway, cultural invasion is a fact. “

  52. nico says:

    James Canning says.

    “Russia would benefit from Ukraine’s membership in the EU. Which I think will happen, though this will not be for many years.”

    And I think UK shall benefit from a Chinese militry base in downtown London.
    Yep, UK would not even need to squanders billions in useless nukes anymore.

    Ahah… That was just a joke.
    Who would even want to spend resources for this rocky, foggy and useless “has been” island ?

    “I was glad to see you agree the US should be supporting the effort of Saudi Arabia and Iran to get rid of Israel’s nukes. And we of course know why the US fails to do the obvious.”

    Sure. Because of the criminal minset like yours.
    You knod the mindset of “UK should not get rid of its nukes”.
    It seems the Israeli jews have the same mindset as yours… You should be happy !
    Besides they spit on your face… How charming !

    “he US and the UK should have given assistance to Gorbachev, in my view.”

    Ahah.
    This one is nice.
    Canning is against UK getting rid of its nukes because tye man think it would not be “realpolitik”.
    But the idiot asserts that UK should have helped Gorbi.
    What an inconsistent, illogical, sophistic nut case !

    “I was glad to see you agree the US should be supporting the effort of Saudi Arabia and Iran to get rid of Israel’s nukes. And we of course know why the US fails to do the obvious.”

    Yep as we know why the US do not force or fail UK to get rid of its nukes.
    The man is a sophistic nut case and a buffon.

  53. Fiorangela says:

    fyi, I do not have knowledge of Catholic-Russian Orthodox relations.

    My Ukrainian friends (Catholic) do remember Holodomor, however.

    Holodomor was Stalinist Bolshevik Communism’s slaughter of 1.8 – 3 million Ukrainians in 1932-1933. During that time, American zionists led by Rabbi Stephen Wise and Louis Brandeis were disseminating “atrocity propaganda” about Germany, which was NOT slaughtering anybody.

    While McCain said on several of the Sunday Mendacity Moments that “the USA ALWAYS stands for people in distress, people who are protesting their autocratic governments,” in 1933 FDR made no gesture toward saving the Ukrainian people. Rather, he formed alliances with Stalin, who later led Russian forces to further decimate the Ukrainian and Polish people.

    see “Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust,” by Miron Dolot: “Seven million people in the “breadbasket of Europe” were deliberately starved to death at Stalin’s command. This story has been suppressed for half a century. Now, a survivor speaks out.”

    Stalinist Russian can hardly be characterized as representing the Russian Orthodox church. Putin has pledged to revitalize Russian Orthodoxy, and marginalize the deadenders who still cling to Soviet Communism. Putin promises a different Russia from the one that the USA allied with in the 1930s and 1940s; different from the USSR that the USA relied upon to do its dirty work in Europe in World War II; different from USSR that FDR and Churchill green-lighted to rape, slaughter and oppress Poles and Germans in the post-war years; a different Russia from the USSR that Churchill then found it convenient to hold as an “Iron Curtain” adversary 1946-1989. Gorbachev tried to create a different Russia, but his vision, too, was derailed somewhat — revolutions do not happen overnight. Putin is attempting to define a new Russia, not a monarchy, not a tyranny, not a western neoliberal capitalist consumer base. The USA & its allies could, and did, tolerate a murderous tyrant, but they cannot abide an independent who resists neoliberal capitalism. Tom Friedman let the cat out of the bag on the Mendacity hour — “Ukraine is a mess economically; they could benefit from IMF loans.”

    aha.

  54. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Last week Putin was expressing his deep concern about the extensive “flight capital” problem russia has on its hands. Perhaps $65 billion will leave the country this year, partly because the rule of law is inadequate.

  55. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    I have said a numnber of times all nukes on the planet should be destroyed.

    A prosperous Ukraine would benefit Russia. Better rule of law in Ukraine would benefit Russia.

    I oppose expansion of Nato to include Ukraine.

  56. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Clearly you lack any understanding of the mission of the USSR in Afghanistan. And you apparently are not aware Gorbachev wanted to get out of that country, asap.

  57. James Canning says:

    Nico,

    Are you arguing Iran should not support the Saudi effort to get rid of Israel’s nukes, because you do not like Saudi Arabia? Even if Iran also wants Israel to get rid of its nukes?

  58. nico says:

    James Canning says:
    “Last week Putin was expressing his deep concern about the extensive “flight capital” problem russia has on its hands. Perhaps $65 billion will leave the country this year, partly because the rule of law is inadequate.”

    The guy has a nerve…
    Half of world transaction are made through UK ruled and allowed opaque Carebean tax havens.
    London being the world biggest dirty money laundry and safe haven for oligarch crooks.
    And guy dares speak about the rule of law…
    That is called arrogance.

    James Canning says:
    “I have said a numnber of times all nukes on the planet should be destroyed.”

    The guy is simply a shameless liar.
    He said in this very same thread that “UK should not get rid of its nukes”… That being meaningless.
    Now he says that the WORLD should be free of nukes.
    Nut case ?
    Nope… he is only lost in his sophistic methodology.
    That is asserting widely agreed upon but useless banality and generality.
    But when faced with direct challenge regarding UK nukes then he forward escaoe with some idiotic explanations supporting UK keeping its nukes.
    Pathetic…

    James Canning says:
    “A prosperous Ukraine would benefit Russia. Better rule of law in Ukraine would benefit Russia
    I oppose expansion of Nato to include Ukraine.”

    And I would be happy to have a world free of war. Who cares. It means nothing.
    Being supportive of a properous Ukraine is a typical sophistry and maniplative methodology.
    It is maybe true, but non commital and useless banality with purpose to introduce the guy’s false argument that Ukraine should be part of the EU.
    While the EU has experienced the lowest growth at workd stage in the last decade…
    See the disgusting sophistic methodology ? Dishonesty and pernicious falsehood is the guy’s signature.

    James Canning says:
    “Clearly you lack any understanding of the mission of the USSR in Afghanistan. And you apparently are not aware Gorbachev wanted to get out of that country, asap.”

    It seems the guy is the only one here not aware that the Anglo design was not to help the USSR exit but to arm the talibans in order to bleed the soviets to death.
    By the way what the USSR was doing in Afghanistan right then ?
    I guess the same as NATO right now… That is, nobody knows what is the nonsensical approach to fight the so called terrorism with boots on the ground… The same terrorists who were financed and supported by NATO right then and who are still financed, supported and operated right now by the US proxies in the region (ie KSA and Israel).
    The guy is definitly an idiot AH.

    James Canning says:
    “Are you arguing Iran should not support the Saudi effort to get rid of Israel’s nukes, because you do not like Saudi Arabia? Even if Iran also wants Israel to get rid of its nukes?”

    The guy is unable to do better than that…
    I spoke about his disgusting blind support for UK nukes.
    And he answers with KSA.
    You better STFU do avoid to be further degradated and soiled.

  59. fyi says:

    Fiorangela says:

    December 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    The late Joseph Stalin (who would have been Iranian had the Qajar’s not lost Iranian territory) was a prescient man who estimated a war against USSR was coming.

    To that end, he went against his own earlier declared policy and adopted a policy of industrialization based on forced primitive capital extraction from the peasants through forced collectivization.

    That is how he paid for the industrialization of the Soviet Union.

    Without his policies, NAZI Germany would have been the most powerful state in the world today.

  60. fyi says:

    M. Ali says:

    December 15, 2013 at 5:44 am

    Mr. Khamenei understands the issues but he is either powerless or unwilling to address the fundamental problem: the production of art and culture cannot be solely the responsibility of the state.

    Dara and Sarah failed since they could not engage Iranian children. They failed because they were artifacts of a government-sponsored project and not a commercial enterprise.

    Until and unless the individual & private motivation for profit is respected by the Iranian state’s institutions, we will not see anything beyond mandated acts of creativity that have no longevity.

    Why are there no Rostam action figures?

    Why are there no collections of toy soldiers spanning centuries of Iranian history from the most ancient times to the present (even in Turkey you can find toy soldiers in detailed uniform et.) in an analogous manner to England?

    [Mr. James Canning probably himself played with period toy-soldiers during his childhood in England.]

    Curiously, in the production of the Persian rugs, done by private hands and for personal profit, an aesthetically pleasing form of cultural product, the intervention of the state has only harmed it (the usual mafia).

    The state does not support private enterprise and capitalism, that is the flaw.

  61. Photi says:

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/iran-says-nuclear-talks-continue-despite-us-blacklist.aspx?pageID=238&nID=59582&NewsCatID=359

    “Tehran said Sunday it will keep talking with world powers on its disputed nuclear programme despite a US move to blacklist Iranian companies for evading sanctions.

    We are pursuing the negotiations seriously and of course we will give a well-considered, purposeful, smart and proper reaction to any inappropriate and unconstructive move,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Facebook page.

    This was despite the Americans having made “inappropriate moves to which we gave the appropriate response by considering all aspects of the issue”.

    “The negotiations and achieving a result are a difficult task and will definitely have a lot of ups and downs. We have predicted that from the very beginning.” The United States blacklisted a dozen overseas companies and individuals on Thursday for evading its sanctions imposed on Iran to halt what the West sees as its bid to build a nuclear bomb.”

  62. Photi says:

    re: the blacklisting, from the US government perspective i think they were making a display that they are still in control of sanctions, those sanctions are still in effect, and anyone who desires to pretend otherwise will face consequences. This “display” was intended less for Iran and more for both US domestic purposes and as a warning shot to would-be sanctions regime “violators.”

    As such I think Iran is correct in both protesting the recent move by the US for Iran’s own domestic purposes, but also correct in resuming the talks.

    Anyway, the following is a quote from a Jefferey Goldberg article dated December 5th wherein he quotes Obama’s deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes about the maintenence of sanctions during this interim period:

    “I also asked Rhodes about the fear, not only among hawks, that the suspending of certain sanctions will ultimately lead to the collapse of all sanctions. “Sanctions relief is designed in a way that ensures that the sanctions regime stays in place,” he said. “The relief being provided is controlled by the United States. The release is metered so it’s not one installment, but is portioned out over time. Our hand is on the spigot. The sanctions in question — those on auto parts and petrochemicals — are suspended, not lifted, and could immediately be put back on if there are violations by Iran.”

    But what, I asked, will happen if a major company — oil or otherwise — comes to believe that the sanctions regime is loosening and tries to re-enter the Iranian market in a major way? “Frankly, we would have an interest in demonstrating that the sanctions regime will be enforced,” Rhodes said. In other words, the administration would be eager to see someone try to break the sanctions regime in order use this violation as an opportunity to make a point about the durability of U.S. policy.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-05/reasons-for-optimism-in-iran-.html

  63. Bibijon says:

    Photi says:
    December 16, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I think it is fair to say that the near total embargo (including ‘humanitarian’ food/medicine, are in play as long as the banking/finance sanctions remain.

    See http://www.just-auto.com/interview/fiev-vp-arnaud-de-david-beauregard_id140778.aspx

  64. James Canning says:

    Photi,

    Apparently hundreds of companies, world-wide, are interested in re-entering the Iran marketplace. Preliminary contacts are being made in Dubai and other Gulf places associated with doing business with Iran.

  65. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    I agree, it would be a good thing for toy soldiers to be available in Iran, with costumes reflecting thousands of years of history. As obtains in Britain.

  66. James Canning says:

    Some news on prime Turkish residential property, from Wall Stret Journal Dec. 13th:

    ‘”A yali [waterside mansion in Istanbul] that was for sale for $2.5 million in 2001 is now valued at around $15 million”, said Mr. [Ulvi] Ozcan.’

    “Those for sale now range from $20 million to $115 million, the [Istanbul] brokers say.”