“US Hegemonic Quest in Mideast Creates Chaos”: The Leveretts in Global Times

In the course of our most recent visit to Beijing, earlier this month, we gave a seminar at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies on “The USA, the Middle East, and ‘One Belt, One Road.’”  Immediately after the seminar, we sat for an interview with Global Times on the counter-productive consequences of America’s failed drive for hegemony in the Middle East.  Global Times has now published the interview; see here.  We also append the text below.  As always, we encourage readers to post comments, Facebook likes, etc., both on this site and on the Global Times site.

 US Hegemonic Quest in Mideast Creates Chaos

With the rise of the Islamic State (IS), the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and the struggle between Iran and the West over nuclear issues, the Middle East remained chaotic in 2014.  What about 2015?  What kind of role will the US play in the regional political landscape?  At a seminar held by the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, Global Times (GT) reporter Liu Zhun talked to Flynt Leverett (Flynt), former senior director of Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC), and Hillary Mann Leverett (Hillary), former director of Iran, Afghanistan and Persian Gulf Affairs at the NSC, about these issues.

GT:  What is your forecast of the situation of the Middle East this year?

Flynt:  More and more negative consequences of the failed US drive for the hegemony in the Middle East will become increasingly evident.  The US is struggling to come to terms with that.

Washington should reconsider its basic strategy for this region, but President Barack Obama has a great belief in the US hegemonic agenda.

Many analysts in the US argue that Washington should “double-down” on its strategy.  But this is the wrong direction.

Hillary:  There will be more violence throughout the region—violence encouraged by the US.  A potential difference rests on the possibility that an alternative mindset will be brought in by China as it rises.  Whether Russia, with the support of China and Iran, can put Syria’s conflicts on a different trajectory toward resolution is important—whether they can bring in a different paradigm for conflict resolution.  I am not sure they can yet, but I am encouraged by China’s rise and its focus on sovereignty and conflict resolution.

GT:  If the US changes its course, will the region be a better place?

Flynt:  Yes, it will be a better place. The historical record has proven that. For 20 years after China’s revolution, the US was doing everything it could to isolate and hurt the People’s Republic of China.

After it gave up its hostile policies toward China, China, as well as other East Asian countries, embarked on a long and productive period of economic expansion with rising prosperity for hundreds of millions of people.  The Middle East will not be perfect after the US changes its policy, but it will be better.

GT:  But the chaos in the Middle East, much of which is driven by religious issues, is more complicated than the conflicts China encountered with the US, which were basically ideological.  What do you think of the role of Islam in the chaos of the Middle East?

Hillary:  There has been a perception that there is something wrong with Islam and that it is the major contributor to the complications of the problems in the Middle East.  But if you look historically, that is not really true.  There is no evidence that Muslims are historically terrorists.  The head of the IS was in an American prison, where he became more extreme in his own views and forged a network with other extremists.

The perennial chaos of the Middle East, to a large extent, is caused by a long history of military penetration by Western countries such as France, the UK, and now the US.

GT:  You suggest the US should shift its Middle East policy and pull back from trying to be a hegemon—for example, by restoring ties with Iran.  What do you think of Obama’s current strategy to the Middle East?

Flynt:  People are talking about the Obama doctrine and his being less interventionist.  I don’t really think that is right.  I think the Obama administration is no less committed to so-called global leadership, which is actually hegemony, over strategically important areas like the Middle East.  The Obama administration thinks it has a smarter way of promoting that leadership than its immediate predecessor.  But that is more a tactical than strategic difference.

GT:  Many countries criticize the US for its “double standards” on many international issues.  But some US analysts said the US is a victim of “double standards,” because many countries hate the US when it leads, but they hate even more when the US doesn’t lead.  What do you think?

Hillary:  This is a deliberate confusion fostered by the US.  When we look at the Middle East, we find that governments need the US to provide military and financial support to protect their vested interests, so they hate us even more when we don’t lead.  But the people of these countries hate when the US leads, because many US-backed governments cannot represent the interests of the people.

GT:  China’s “One Belt and One Road” project is believed to have a major influence on the Middle East.  Will it be a counterbalance of the US’ influence in the region?

Flynt:  US power in the Persian Gulf is in relative decline.  But because it is desperate to cling to its hegemonic ambitions in the region, Washington is trying to put China’s interests at risk.

China will decide what its interests are in the Middle East.  As an analytic point, though, if China really wants to have an independent and balanced foreign policy, China will need to decide how accommodating it wants to be of US preferences and to what extent it wants to pursue its own interests, even when the US is not necessarily happy about that.

I think the Middle East’s engagement in the Silk Road, especially Iran, is going to be a testing ground for China.

Hillary:  I think the US will definitely disagree with the project.  After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US has really focused on trying to expand its influence, military or otherwise, on Central Asian states in a bid to put pressure on Russia.  This has been a consistent theme through both Democratic and Republican administrations.

China’s project will unavoidably reach Central Asia, which could lessen interest in those states in aligning with various American projects and make it harder for the US to pressure Russia.

Besides, as Iran is central for both Silk Roads, China’s good relationship with Iran will be very problematic for the US interests, and also for its hegemonic ambitions across the entire Middle East.

If Iran benefits from this project and rises to be a more powerful force to challenge the influence of Saudi Arabia, Israel and eventually the US, Washington will try to stop this from happening.

–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

 

83 Responses to ““US Hegemonic Quest in Mideast Creates Chaos”: The Leveretts in Global Times”

  1. Karl.. says:

    What does the Shia-coup (if it succeeeds) in Yemen mean for Iran?

  2. James Canning says:

    Perhaps we should at least be thankful Obama has not attacked Syrian government forces with US warplanes.

  3. Cyrus_2 says:

    @ James

    If Putin/Lavrov didn’t intervene, he probably would have.
    So you should thank them, not Obama.

  4. fyi says:

    Cyrus_2 says:

    January 20, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    The credit belongs to the English people, who basically revolted – the peasants of UK.

  5. M.Ali says:

    Israel’s attack on Hezbollah in Syria apparently killed several high officials from both Hezbollah and Iranian side.

    Could this have any implications? It’s infuriating that Israel does whatever it wants and I’m not sure how willing Iran would be to retaliate directly when it is kept busy by containing ISIS.

    But maybe it’s time tough decisions are made. The attack was unwarranted. Iran & Hezbollah were in Syria to challenge ISIS, and Irsael, like the crazed bitch that she is, just took it as a golden opportunity of assasinating some official, figuring they wouldn’t get such a ready access to Iranian generals.

  6. Fiorangela says:

    Obama’s State of the Union speech:

    “21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.

    Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let’s give them one more reason to get it done.”

    Meanwhile back at the ranch — Senate committee chaired by in-the-tank-for-Israel Senator Bob Menendez holds hearings at which Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken [stepson of holocaust survivor who is an ardent pro- Israel activist], Undersecretary of State David Cohen [former law partner to Stuart Levey, who is himself a former member of WINEP, the think-tank spun off from AIPAC], and others testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on proposals to impose new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.


    Is that what Obama meant by “leveling the playing field?”


    Does it make sense to shut the USA out of Iran, while China, Russia and others are partnering with Iran?

  7. Jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    January 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I think the clue is in the interpretation of the work “level” in the “We should level the playing field”!

    Mr. Obama has been leveling Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, …

    When one “levels” the playing field, one gets to write the rules. In that sense, it makes sense.

  8. James Canning says:

    Cyrus_2,

    Obama apparently comprehends that the overthrow of the Syrian government would produce more chaos in that country. That said, there are some very rich and powerful Sunnis trying to pressure Obama into helping achieve an overthrow of the Assad government.

  9. James Canning says:

    fyi,

    Credit the British Parliament, for not backing an attack on the Syrian government by US and UK warplanes.

  10. Fiorangela says:

    Jay says:
    January 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    Point taken, Jay.
    But China is not Libya.

    While Obama is busy “leveling the playing field,” China is laying railroad tracks across it and connecting the trading depots at either end of it.

    It’s as if Obama’s speechwriter studied the Leveretts’ Global Times interview and said to himself, How can Obama prove beyond a doubt that he is, indeed, stuck in a zero-sum game?

  11. Jay says:

    Fiorangela says:
    January 21, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    You and I believe China is not Libya. I am uncertain as to the state of mind of the elected (selected?) representatives in D.C. One would have thought that Russia is not Libya either, but it was Mr. Obama last night boasting “it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.”

    The constant current of military superiority as the tool for achieving economic and political aims has gained so much momentum that it seems as though the folks in D.C. believe “leveling” is a universal solution.

  12. kooshy says:

    I have stopped listening, watching or reading the DC regime’ official communiqués. But acording to MOA last night speech is unbelievable as how delusional this regime’ officials at the highest level are.
    Undoubtedly delusions ( you read desperation for acceptance) of this man top them all, he is shameless

    “ From Obama’s State of the Union remarks (via Micah Zenko):

    … we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office … while making sure that other nations play by the rules …

    The above fragments were both followed by applause.”

  13. Empty says:

    The Message of Ayatollah Khamenei to the young people in the US and Europe:

    http://english.khamenei.ir//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2001

    “In the name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful

    To the Youth in Europe and North America,

    The recent events in France and similar ones in some other Western countries have convinced me to directly talk to you about them. I am addressing you, [the youth], not because I overlook your parents, rather it is because the future of your nations and countries will be in your hands; and also I find that the sense of quest for truth is more vigorous and attentive in your hearts.

    I don’t address your politicians and statesmen either in this writing because I believe that they have consciously separated the route of politics from the path of righteousness and truth.

    I would like to talk to you about Islam, particularly the image that is presented to you as Islam. Many attempts have been made over the past two decades, almost since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, to place this great religion in the seat of a horrifying enemy. The provocation of a feeling of horror and hatred and its utilization has unfortunately a long record in the political history of the West.

    Here, I don’t want to deal with the different phobias with which the Western nations have thus far been indoctrinated. A cursory review of recent critical studies of history would bring home to you the fact that the Western governments’ insincere and hypocritical treatment of other nations and cultures has been censured in new historiographies.

    The histories of the United States and Europe are ashamed of slavery, embarrassed by the colonial period and chagrined at the oppression of people of color and non-Christians. Your researchers and historians are deeply ashamed of the bloodsheds wrought in the name of religion between the Catholics and Protestants or in the name of nationality and ethnicity during the First and Second World Wars. This approach is admirable.

    By mentioning a fraction of this long list, I don’t want to reproach history; rather I would like you to ask your intellectuals as to why the public conscience in the West awakens and comes to its senses after a delay of several decades or centuries. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems? Why is it that attempts are made to prevent public awareness regarding an important issue such as the treatment of Islamic culture and thought?

    You know well that humiliation and spreading hatred and illusionary fear of the “other” have been the common base of all those oppressive profiteers. Now, I would like you to ask yourself why the old policy of spreading “phobia” and hatred has targeted Islam and Muslims with an unprecedented intensity. Why does the power structure in the world want Islamic thought to be marginalized and remain latent? What concepts and values in Islam disturb the programs of the super powers and what interests are safeguarded in the shadow of distorting the image of Islam? Hence, my first request is: Study and research the incentives behind this widespread tarnishing of the image of Islam.

    My second request is that in reaction to the flood of prejudgments and disinformation campaigns, try to gain a direct and firsthand knowledge of this religion. The right logic requires that you understand the nature and essence of what they are frightening you about and want you to keep away from.

    I don’t insist that you accept my reading or any other reading of Islam. What I want to say is: Don’t allow this dynamic and effective reality in today’s world to be introduced to you through resentments and prejudices. Don’t allow them to hypocritically introduce their own recruited terrorists as representatives of Islam.

    Receive knowledge of Islam from its primary and original sources. Gain information about Islam through the Qur’an and the life of its great Prophet. I would like to ask you whether you have directly read the Qur’an of the Muslims. Have you studied the teachings of the Prophet of Islam and his humane, ethical doctrines? Have you ever received the message of Islam from any sources other than the media?

    Have you ever asked yourself how and on the basis of which values has Islam established the greatest scientific and intellectual civilization of the world and raised the most distinguished scientists and intellectuals throughout several centuries?

    I would like you not to allow the derogatory and offensive image-buildings to create an emotional gulf between you and the reality, taking away the possibility of an impartial judgment from you. Today, the communication media have removed the geographical borders. Hence, don’t allow them to besiege you within fabricated and mental borders.

    Although no one can individually fill the created gaps, each one of you can construct a bridge of thought and fairness over the gaps to illuminate yourself and your surrounding environment. While this preplanned challenge between Islam and you, the youth, is undesirable, it can raise new questions in your curious and inquiring minds. Attempts to find answers to these questions will provide you with an appropriate opportunity to discover new truths.

    Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to gain proper, correct and unbiased understanding of Islam so that hopefully, due to your sense of responsibility toward the truth, future generations would write the history of this current interaction between Islam and the West with a clearer conscience and lesser resentment.

    Seyyed Ali Khamenei

    21st Jan. 2015”

  14. Rd. says:

    M.Ali says:

    ” The attack was unwarranted. Iran & Hezbollah were in Syria to challenge ISIS, and Irsael, like the crazed bitch that she is, just took it as a golden opportunity of assasinating some official,”

    perhaps the izi’s are attempting to copy Iran’s effort circa 80’s southern Lebanon and Hezbollah, in the Syrian territory along the Golan by supporting the nusra AQ. That is a reflection of their desperado and lack of understanding of regional dynamics. The chosen, often can not see beyond their noses.

    Hezbollah was a home grown indigenous and popular movement which over time has gained the respect of many and other minorities. The nusra/AQ are some what imports and their respect of others and minorities are displayed with chopping heads and eating livers. in their ignorance and terrorizing of others, they share the same values as the izis.

  15. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Obama would prefer better relations between the US and Russia, and he does not see that relationship as a “zero sum” game. The US welcomed the growth of the Russian economy in recent years. (Prior to eruption of crisis in Ukraine)

  16. Smith says:

    News is coming out that Saudi King has died. May he rot in hell.

  17. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning says:
    January 22, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    If what you say is the reality of Obama’s thinking and intentions, then he has lost control over his State Dept. that is supposed to carry out his wishes.

    Does Victoria Nuland set her own agenda or does she carry out the vision of the president?

  18. Fiorangela says:

    James Canning, re Obama’s warm & fuzzy relations w/ Russia —

    from Moon of Alabama

    “The Ukrainian army can not win a war against the federalist backed by Russia. The Ukrainian government is broke and will not get bailed out. Why is it still trying to wage war? My impression is that the U.S. is still pushing the Ukrainian government to continue its useless efforts to make any Europe-led ceasefire agreement with Russia null an void and to thereby keep the sanctions against Russia in place. Cold War 2.0 with proxy fighting in Ukraine is the U.S. plan to keep Russia from challenging its me-and-only-me-first [aka zero sum] global position.

    The whole conflict seem to be based on more long-term plans:

    American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.
    The number of troops heading to the Yavoriv Training Area near the city of L’viv — which is about 40 miles from the Polish border — is still being determined, however.

    Hmm. The Ukrainian National Guard mainly consists of the fascist units responsible for the Maidan fighting that led to the coup against the Ukrainian government. Lviv is the west Ukrainian capitol of the Ukrainian fascists. Why would the U.S. military train those units near Lviv when the regular Ukrainian army is also obviously in urgent need of training? Why train them in spring when the conflict, with some good will from both sides, could be over in a month or two?

  19. Smith says:

    With pro-American Yemeni government overthrown by Iranian allies and the pro-American Saudi king dead, expect things to turn more in favor of Iran in geo-political calculation.

  20. Persian Gulf says:

    I do not think IR of Iran should care about her legitimacy on the eyes of western powers. For as long as it is seen legitimate on the eyes of her own people here in Iran it’s more than enough. The system is part of the people. There is of course dissatisfaction about this and that issue (which is not just the case for Iran), but apart from a segment of highly westernized people an absolute majority sees the system quite acceptable and never imagines something radically different. Only highly delusional ones think otherwise. I am not sure what is this obsession of buying legitimacy from the west for.

    On the other hand Iran needs a different economic outlook. I have been watching some documentaries related to 1930s development in Germany. The economic miracles of Nazis look very impressive. And the situation in Iran looks very similar to Germany before January 1933. A sort of cultural revolution is needed probably to get of the current impass. Perhaps something similar to Nazis’ plan, excluding the racist part, is needed. I am interested in reading more about the economic development of Germany between 1933 and 1939. Obviously a better inward looking plan is needed, something the current government is dismiss of.

    ﺑﺎ ﺳﻮﺩﻫﺎﯼ ﺑﺎﻧﮑﯽ ﺑﺎﻻﯼ ۲۰% ﺑﺎﻭﺟﻮﺩ ﺗﺴﻬﯿﻼﺕ ﺍﻧﺪﮎ ﺑﯿﺸﺘﺮ ﺍﺯ ﺳﻮﺩ ﺑﺎﻧﮑﯽ ﻓﻘﻂ ﻭﺟﻮﺩ ﺭﺍﻧﺖ ﻭ ﻭﺍﺭﺩﺍﺕ ﺑﺎ ﺳﻮﺩﻫﺎﯼ ﮐﻼﻥ ﻓﻌﺎﻟﯿﺖ ﺍﻗﺘﺼﺎﺩﯼ ﺍﯾﻨﻬﻤﻪ ﺑﺎﻧﮏ ﺭﻭ ﺗﻮﺟﯿﺢ ﻣﯿﮑﻨﻪ. ﺑﻌﯿﺪﻩ ﻓﻌﺎﻟﯿﺖ ﺗﻮﻟﯿﺪﯼ ﺑﺘﻮﻧﻪ ﺳﻮﺩ ﺑﺎﻻﯼ ۳۰% ﺭﻭ ﺑﺒﺎﺭ ﺑﯿﺎﺭﻩ ﺗﻮ ﺍﯾﻦ ﺷﺮﺍﯾﻂ. ﻗﺎﻋﺪﺗﺎ ﺭﻓﻊ ﺗﺤﺮﯾﻢ ﺑﺎﻧﮑﯽ ﻭ ﭘﻮﻟﯽ ﻭ ﺗﺰﺭﯾﻖ ﺑﯿﺸﺘﺮ ﺩﻻﺭ ﻧﻔﺖ ﺍﯾﻦ ﻭﺿﻌﯿﺖ ﻣﺮﯾﺾ ﺭﻭ ﺗﺸﺪﯾﺪ ﻣﯿﮑﻨﻪ ﻧﻪ ﺑﻬﺘﺮ. ﺭﻭﺣﺎﻧﯽ ﻫﻢ ﮐﻪ ﻇﺎﻫﺮﺍ ﺑﺮﻧﺎﻣﻪ ﺍﻗﺘﺼﺎﺩﯼ ﺧﺎﺻﯽ ﻧﺪﺍﺭﻩ ﻭ ﺑﺪﻧﺒﺎﻝ ﻓﺎﻧﺘﺰﯼ ﻣﺬﺍﮐﺮﺍﺕ ﻫﺴﺘﻪ ﺍﯼ ﻫﺴﺖ.

  21. Karl.. says:

    Smith


    News is coming out that Saudi King has died. May he rot in hell.

    ..along with that, 1000s tears from the west for this dead tyrant.

    Speaking on Yemen though, isnt US very silent on this coup – shouldnt this be a very big thing? I havent followed MSM on this so maybe I am wrong about that assessment.

  22. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    January 23, 2015 at 1:14 am

    The economic performance of USSR was even more impressive.

    But going with the tradition of autocracy and command from above has been the bane of human history; Iran included.

    Seems to me, we need more Liberty and not less in Iran – in all aspects of social and political life.

  23. A-B says:

    Well well well, could you expect anything else from the Britishite cultists when one of their repulsive vermins, the Saudi-fith, dies:

    “tributes poured in from world leaders – including David Cameron, the Queen and the former Prime Minister Tony Blair who said the late King was ‘loved by his people’.

    Flags were ordered to fly at half-mast across Westminster – while Buckingham Palace confirmed Prince Charles, alongside the Prime Minister, will fly to Jeddah to pay his respects.”

    K1-N

  24. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    Obama was not unhappy to see Russia’s economy growing rapidly, prior to the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine. Ergo, no “zero-sum” game, as mistakenly claimed by some.

    What do you think is the appropriate response to Russia’s actions in support of civil war in Ukraine.

  25. Smith says:

    Karl.. says:
    January 23, 2015 at 4:56 am

    Lots of things must be going on behind the scenes. Defeat and its prospects is seldom paraded on MSM.

  26. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    If you are arguing that Obama blundered in accepting Hillary Clinton’s choice as US ambassador to Russia a few years ago, I agree with you. The wrong man for the job was chosen, sadly.

  27. James Canning says:

    Fiorangela,

    And I agree Victoria Nuland was a disastrous selection by Hillary Clinton.

  28. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    January 23, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Actually USSR allowed for thinking atleast in academic circles and in matters related to science and technology. This is not possible in Iran yet. Also USSR was much less a corrupt society and culture than what Iran is today. The chief problem of Iran is the unthinking culture following a cargo cult of magic. Such a cult can not bring about what USSR had done, or what Deutscher Werkbund had done for Germany (absolutely not the filth of Nazis), or the Japanese post war economic miracle. Unless and until this cult is not confronted, there is no hope.

  29. Rd. says:

    Argentina color revolution, false flags and Iran, from saker/mario;

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/01/false-flags-and-how-to-start-colour.html

  30. Karl.. says:

    James Canning

    I love how you say “russian’s actions”. West support the coup that caused the chaos in Ukraine. Now what do you think Russia should do against the wests’ actions in Ukraine?
    Who arm, aid, support the warcriminals in Ukraine government if not the west?

  31. Kooshy says:

    When Victoria Nuland said F. Europe she wasn’t using a conversational common expression she was expressing that we the policy makers in US don’t care what will happen to and in Europe as result of our decision and action, meaning that these guys knew to the detail that if this goes wrong what will happen to EU and Russian relations and I think that was what the intend was. So IMO US not only knew what would be the Russian reaction but it planed it that way to decide any possible strategic contact between the EU and Russians this was done to save the NATO after the afghan, Syrian Libyan disasters. For as long as EU is in direct conflicts with Russians / a European American alliance will be necessary. The European satrapies they all know what they got hit with but they also know they’ve have no choice but to go alone with US.

  32. Persian Gulf says:

    Fyi

    Why did it collapse then? I am not aware of the USSR economic performance, however Nazis’ economic performance and technological achievements in just about six years, to the limitted extent that I know, is amazing.

    Liberty more than this, absent a proper place for the rule of law, will only bring social disintegration and chaos. I do not believe west’s trajectory is the only one.

  33. M.Ali says:

    I’m extremely irritated whenever I read any news about Iran-US negotiations, and there are always articles about Congress not being for the talks and Obama showing himself as the voice of reason, and the exact same tactic being used in Iran.

    It makes me feel that either the leaders of state are treating ME the public as a gullible idiot or each other as so, or worse still, they ARE actually gullible idiots that such bazari tactics work. The oldest sales technique in the bazars is a shop owner pretending he has a partner and saying things like, “I’d really love to give you a discount, but my partner doesn’t allow it” or the partner suddenly popping in and saying to the other owner, “what? You sold it for how much? That’s too low! But i guess since you have already said it, we can’t do anything”.

    This “we better agree to this because I’m the one who is giving such linient terms” is so pathetic that I’m always embarrassed to read about it. If Obama & Zarif are not in tune with their respective parliaments, then stop the negotiations, and go back home and FUCKING NEGOTIATE FIRST WITH YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT.

    But of course, we know it’s all just for show.

  34. Persian Gulf says:

    M. Ali

    I agree with you. It’s not just silly rather insulting.
    As far as I see in the streets of Tehran …, the public here almost lost its faith on the outcome of these negociatations.

  35. Karl.. says:

    West just became more wicked.

    RT suffers US media attack for daring to have a different point of view – critic [VIDEO]
    https://twitter.com/RT_America/status/558829109506093056

  36. thecelticwithinme says:

    Happy New Year to the Leveretts first of all.

    “You are trying to get us to accept an evil system”—Iran. This is, we think, an indicator of how hard it is going to be for the United States to reformulate its foreign policy toward Iran.

    With current level of control of narrative – It Will Be Impossible! I find it difficult to believe the U.S. will even get Cuba right. And Cuba is only 90 miles away. Sad state of affairs indeed.

  37. Jay says:

    “He seems to have no regard for basic human rights, civil values or morality.”

    “…secret services took part in ‘torture by proxy’ …”

    No, we are not talking about Egypt or Romania or Netanyahu or King Saud or … we are talking about Britain and Tony Blair.

    Contemporary western political and economic thought is a product of Enlightenment thinking, according to text taught in US colleges.

    Enlightenment thinkers are rolling in their graves! The “unthinking culture” appears to be a universal problem.

  38. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    January 23, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    USSR, like Iran, failed to increase worker productivity.

    It was not so much the fault of central planners of her economy as with the people themselves; they had no motivation to work better, faster, or more efficiently.

    The state was the economy and thus there was no motivation for personal gain and advantage – on the aggregate level.

    Labor productivity will not improve unless it is tied to desires of individual human beings to improve themselves and their own lot.

    During the period in question, 1930-1940, both USSR and Germany were fired by people of great ideological zeal – in USSR there was great enthusiasm for the construction of an industrial state on the basis of Communist Doctrines.

    In Germany, during the same period, there was great enthusiasm for the restoration of German Volk to its rightful and dominant place in the World. The German people were almost all ardent NAZIs, with the late Adolf Hitler being their Savior.

    USSR model worked until the late Joseph Stalin was alive. Once he was gone, what was left was a bureaucratic state based on lies.

    NAZI Germany would probably have gone the same way had it survived.

    For Iran, I would like to draw your attention to the case of “Dara and Sara”. Why did they fail?

    And how is it that “Barbie and Ken” have prospered?

    Put another way, a college student creates a software application to connect his friends – that grows into Facebook and that college student is called Zuckenberg.

    In practical terms, the Iranian Government as well as the population do not support the expansion of capitalist production in Iran. They are suspicious of large scale independent enterprises that do their own things.

    Look at the case of the Iranian car manufacturers; they are run by the government and there is a government price control. The parts makers are the only independent part of the supply chain and yet the government has tried, again and again and again, to price the cars in such a way as to bankrupt the parts makers and drive them out of business.

    Why there is a price control board on vehicles defies logic of capitalist production.

    Is it to make cars affordable to as many as possible?

    By sucking blood out of the parts makers to pay for that subsidy to an indolent population?

    I confess that is the only explanation.

    The Russians and the Germans – as far as I can tell – did not share in this belief that they are entitled – absolutely entitled – to the good things in life without working for them.

    A few more years of this and nothing will get done in Iran.

    And I suppose there will be a new government board that would rule that “Bad Luck” must be compensated by the government largess.

  39. fyi says:

    Smith says:

    January 23, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    For 300 years, Russians modeled themselves on Western Europe and imported ideas and techniques.

    For 300 years, the Russian leaders imposed a brutal “Revolution from Above” on the Russian people in order to push them out of their Medieval Asiatic mode of existence and get it to more closely approximate Western Europe.

    Fortunately for Iran, US and European Union and before them UK and USSR have been doing the brutal pushing…

  40. fyi says:

    Persian Gulf says:

    January 23, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I would like to draw your attention to the pollution in Iranian cities due to vehicles.

    There is no mystery in designing and building scrubbers – catalytic converters.

    Iranians can build them – it will increase the price of each vehicle by probably $ 700 or $ 800 hundred.

    I do not know what they do not; it is to keep the price of those cars low?

    But if that is the case, then why complain about Tehran’s pollution – that is the cost of keeping vehicle prices low.

    The problems of Iran cannot be neatly separated between the “People” on one side and the “Incompetent” government on the other.

    USSR performed a great feat of human engineering and turned the children of thieving & lying peasants – quite literally – into honest and hard-working communist cadres.

    They ran out of steam decades later, but they were quite successful in transforming the Russian peasant culture (you have to read fist-hand accounts…)

  41. Karl.. says:

    fyi


    For 300 years, Russians modeled themselves on Western Europe and imported ideas and techniques.

    What ideas and techniques are we talking about? And during what span of time?

    That Russia has been formed according to western views, ideas for their society could hardly be substantiated imo, that Russia has been influenced and vice versa is another matter though.

    Contrary Russia have been very eager not to be shaped according to western ideas, generally speaking.

  42. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    January 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

    No. The catalytic converters in only high end models with mammoth engines would cost 700 to 800 dollars. The most popular and “loved” car in Iran is Kia pride (actually a Korean licensed copy of Ford Fiesta). The catalytic converter for a Ford Fiesta of a comparable model to the love of Iranians, the korean kia costs something around 100 dollars in retail North American market: http://goo.gl/76R8Hk

    I would bet it would cost less than half that amount when bought by a manufacturer in bulk numbers. Around 50 dollars. Now Iran is a much poorer country than US so, the labor costs and energy costs are lower than US. Also take into account that in Iran you do not have to pay hefty patent fees, hefty lawyer fees, hefty this and hefty that. Such a catalytic converter for the most popular car in Iran should cost less than 20 dollars per car if Iran was a thinking nation with liberal market policies.

    Then they complain about pollution. Bricklayers and muleteers.

  43. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    January 24, 2015 at 10:41 am

    One can only hope. But despite all this western pressure on Iran, I do not see the mules moving much. But that is I guess the nature of things.

    And even if they learned to move, as Russians did, things will not improve by much as Russia’s situation proves. That power of imagination, thinking, exploration and that passion for curiosity and knowledge does not exist among these people. They will always be following West. Begging West for the latest goodies whether it be the catalytic converters or the latest antibiotics. Such is their lives.

    Even USSR despite its magnificent rise, could not keep up with West not only in genuine innovation but even in copying the Western innovation. By 1980’s, USSR had become dependent on Western items such as Ultrasonography machines for its hospitals, high precision CNC machines for its ship building and microprocessors for its electronic industry.

    West is truly unique. In the entire universe. No other being in this universe has been able to harness the laws of nature to this unparalleled degree. The Westerners go about getting amazed about the Universe and we the non-Westerners are amazed looking at Westerners. This has been going on for 400 years now.

  44. Jay says:

    At times assertions made on this blog find themselves firmly between silly and simple-minded!

    Here is an example of why building things is not simply a matter of know-how, desire, curiosity, culture, … These are very complex issues that are not resolved by resorting to FOX-style one-liner attacks. Russians have, and continue to have, a technological edge in rocket technology, but the US has not been leaping into action building rockets to rival Russia despite the fact that the space program relies heavily on these rockets. Go figure!

  45. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Russia has regarded itself as part of Europe since it came into existence. You might bear in mind that much of the Russian aristocracy was substantially German, ethnically.

  46. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    Russia may well have many thousands of soldiers fighting in the civil war in Ukraine. I take it you approve. The leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan do not share your point of view.

  47. Rd. says:

    Jay says:

    “the US has not been leaping into action building rockets to rival Russia despite the fact that the space program relies heavily on these rockets. Go figure!”

    thats easy!!!! they are exceptional!!!
    here is another fox one liner to add’ when the recent private rocket lunch blow up, the fault was attributed to the old soviet era rocket!! why a private enterprise in US with all the motivated and smart people with advanced technology is using an old soviet rocket? go double figure!!
    suppose some human flaws are different than some other human flaws!

  48. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:
    ” the Russian aristocracy was substantially German, ethnically.”

    do you suppose the aristocracy in the desert is related to the aristocracy in the buckingham? happy mourning.

    http://friendsofsyria.co/2015/01/24/newspaper-review-flag-row-and-litvinenko-murder-evidence/

  49. Smith says:

    Recoverable rocket modules with erect landing capability designed to substantially reduce the cost of space launches are manufactured by a private rocket company in US. It is a truly unique innovation which is to change the economics of future space launches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh9wCq-RJ8U

    The Western mind at work. Like always.

  50. Karl.. says:

    James
    January 24, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    Not true, Europe in a philosophical sense does not mean applying the ideas from Europe in Russia.

    January 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I take it you support the UK backed coup and the UK support for warcrimes in Ukraine by the regime.

  51. Smith says:

    The failure of landing was attributed to depletion of hydraulic fluid. Failures are common when a new innovation is being developed and steps are being taken to fix it. Of course these are things cargo cult muleteers can not understand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3wZRdg-Tmo

  52. Jay says:

    For those who want to understand rather than rely on promotional videos!

    RD-171M but by Russia is the most powerful liquid-fuel rocket engine in the world 30 year running!

    Moreover,

    “But even as Congress considers banning Russian launch technology from U.S. military satellite launches, Orbital Sciences’ search for a new rocket engine following a spectacular late-October rocket explosion demonstrates just how difficult it’s been for American space launch companies to wean themselves off of Russian rocket hardware—or to field new, American-made replacements.”

    http://fortune.com/2014/12/09/russia-orbital-sciences-rocket-engines/

    Silly FOX-style promotional is not interesting to me – I don’t watch FOX!

  53. fyi says:

    Karl.. says:

    January 24, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Start from Peter the Great and follow it through with Catherine the Great all the way through Lenin and Stalin.

    There were original thinkers and innovators such as the late Stolpyn (murdered by the nobles), Alexander the II (murdered by an anarchist – another idea imported from the West), the late Plekhanov who predicted that the Bolshevik program would lead to dictatorship, and many others.

  54. Smith says:

    fyi says:
    January 24, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Do you see our predicament? The typical cargo cult muleteer-ism? As you would often say, and paraphrasing you, say your father (Russia) was a great innovator 30 years ago, what is in it for you (Iranians) today? What have you done?

    As was noted before, these are just kerm. And not even kerm khaki, but much and much worse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phirUJ0Sa94

  55. Karl.. says:

    fyi

    Those more visions by those leaders but not the people in general (which is also why Russia today doesnt look like any other european state). Same thing could be said about Iran and the Shah, the people did not like his program of “modernization”.

  56. Jay says:

    The real predicament is that simple-minded folk cannot see forest from the trees. Innovation and progress is a very complex issue that should not be reduce to a racist motto – Westerner better than ??? Lack of deep understanding often leads to frustrations that stem from confusion. I am sure the motives are reasonable, but it nonetheless makes the assertions rather sinister. Every nation across this planet faces major challenges – each unique to her history, culture, geography, etc. To be selective and myopic about a single aspect without offering practical and practicable solutions is a sign of what?

  57. Smith says:

    Seedlings that were to make a thick forest were and are being shipped to West as always by the ever powerful cargo cult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1KSOlQ0S_U

    Does she deserve 25 liters of sulfuric acid in her eyes? Maybe crack her skull with a baton and put her in jail for a few months. After the womb of such a gorgeous lady should be controlled by a muleteer. Who cares if she has a brain bigger than fifty thousand Iranian men combined.

    West is safer for her. Iran never needed and does not need her.

  58. Smith says:

    Fiorangela,

    Thank you for giving refuge to our brainy children. Thank you for giving them an education they deserve, a job they deserve, a lab they deserve, a tenure they deserve, a funding they deserve, a livelihood they deserve and even American husbands they deserve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A7eds-U0Zg

    Surely Iran was and is incapable of giving all that.

    Thank you once again.

  59. Karl.. says:

    Smith

    Where are you from? Which ethnicity, since you are very pro-development, what have you devleoped in your life? What have you brought up for groundbreaking ideas? If you are a high ranking professor I can understand and give credit to your views but if you are sitting on your bum (like most westerners do anyway), can you really then complain so much about other cultures, people, whole nations?

  60. Smith says:

    Karl.. says:
    January 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Sorry. No bio. I have talked too much truth here, to give bio and risk my life in Iran.

    Complain? This is not complaining. This is criticism. I can criticize others with same efficiency. I can assure you of that. But it would do no good for Iranians.

  61. Smith says:

    A true story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-qjMgRFmRY

    Note how a system that does not allow criticism and considers itself holy and above all, fails so often.

  62. Karl.. says:

    Smith
    January 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Fair, but shouldnt you then move to the west to be free from the “cargo-cult”?

  63. Smith says:

    Karl.. says:
    January 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I am in the West. If I was not, I would not know so much.

  64. Karl.. says:

    Smith

    Ok, then I missunderstood, I thought you implied you lived in Iran?

  65. Smith says:

    Karl.. says:
    January 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    No. I was talking when I go for visit. You surely do not want to see me in a dungeon on my next visit, do you?

  66. Karl.. says:

    Smith

    I wasnt asking for your name or anything just which continent/ and what work you do. But it doesnt matter, we have different ideas about this so we can leave it at that.

  67. Amir says:

    Karl.. says:
    January 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    That’s why Emam Khomeini used to say the US and USSR are satanic powers; with their satanic prowess and technological progress they had been both oppressing humans around the world AND ate the same time cowing them into submission, by making them believe they could never set themselves free. Mr Smith has motivations of his own, but a core concept in them is the West’s power and prestige. If the US gradually loses some of its might, I’m certain he and some others would slowly lose faith. After all, it’s all a matter of faith.

  68. M. Ali says:

    Karl, Smith is one of millions of arm chair critics that exist in every nation. They read the papers and snort at everyone’s idiocy. People like Smith have the solution for every problem in the world, the climate change, ebola, terrorists, economy, birth rate, pension plans, insurance, healthcare, and so on.

    You can find them in every line of work, but if you really pay attention, you can see them more prominent when they are contributing very little to society. Strangely, the less they are actually doing, the louder they are in what needs to be done.

    For example, you won’t see a serious scientist who is involved in an important project constantly telling his friends, family, colleagues, and strangers the easy solutions to solve the world’s problems. But if this scientist goes home in a cab, it is likely that the cab driver will rant about how stupid the politicians and the state leaders are in that particular country, and how easy the solutions are.

    I missed reading the website in the small hiatus that was there, but I seemed to have forgotten how utterly pointless Smith’s rantings are. The frustrating thing is that his comments are so utterly MUNDANDE.

  69. Persian Gulf says:

    Karl & M.Ali

    Based on what Smith said before he should be a bio scientist (biology or most probably molecular biology). And he should be in his 40s. These are not my fields, but from the conversations I used to have with close friends that actively do research in these fields, some with reknown people in some of these fields, I do not remember them telling me about an Iranian with anything substantial with the above characteristics. Or an Iranian close to Nobel prize in medicin or chemistry that would be relevant to Smith’s main subject (I might simply be wrong though). If he is really a great innovator I would be proud of him as an Iranian. However I suspect he is not.or at least not to the level to see anyone else just another fool. It seems to me he is a relatively good reader, an above the average person intellectually, perhaps similar to most people in this website. It’s his delusion of grandeur that forces him to call everyone that doesn’t think in his way an idiot.

    I seriously doubt, in current climate, IR would give a damn to this person if he discloses his real identity (people here rant way more than him without problem). I remember months after the 2009 episode some people were deactivating their Facebook ID when going to Iran.only to find after the trip that the system doesn’t give a s*** to them, for an obvious reason that they were not important to such a high level that they were thinking of themselves. It was making me laugh.

  70. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I have made clear that I regard Hillary Clinton as having blundered, in her choice of US ambassador to Russia, and her selection of a top aide who in my view openly encouraged the coup in Ukraine.

    Russia’s military intervention in the civil war in Ukraine is a very large concern, for the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan. I take it we agree on that point.

  71. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    The Saudi royal family is not descended from German aristocracy. The British royal family indeed was largely German, several generations ago.

  72. Karl.. says:

    James

    UK supported the coup and support the warcrimes by Ukraine gov and is a very large concern to peaceloving people around the world. I take it you agree with me on that point.

    Belarus, Kazahstan fear Russia? Boy you are getting senile.
    Russia, Belarus and Kazahkstan are allied!
    The Eurasian Customs Union came into existence on 1 January 2010 as the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurasian_Customs_Union
    Not to mention SCO.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Cooperation_Organisation

  73. Nico says:

    Karl,

    UK or US ?
    Soldier or contractor ?
    Anyway that is sure sign of Anglo meddling there…
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-01-25/out-my-face-please-why-are-us-soldiers-mariupol

  74. kooshy says:

    “Belarus, Kazahstan fear Russia? Boy you are getting senile.
    Russia, Belarus and Kazahkstan are allied!’

    From what I can read her majesty’ government’ ever delusional froing policy hubris has come to try in some way propagandize and make media perception that in some way the counties of Belarus and Kazakhstan have distanced themselves from an strategic relationship that they have had with Russian federation. This is for a country, lost empire with subjects like our own GAV that can never step out of their Don-Quixote armor, they are delusional subjects who for at least 70 years have refused to accept that they no longer have a control or access to the lost empire they once had long ago, they refuse to accept that in last 70 years they have survived by holding tied to American’s dick. Their foreign policy delusions and refusal to accept current world reality has become a source of entertainment for the rest of the world.

  75. Karl.. says:

    kooshy / nico

    Yeah, it is always someone elses (any “enemy” of the west) fault when trouble arise around the world.

    (kooshy) made it clear earlier how crazy western politicians have become.
    http://goingtotehran.com/us-hegemonic-quest-in-mideast-creates-chaos-the-leveretts-in-global-times#comment-77108

  76. James Canning says:

    Kooshy,

    You clearly have not read recent comments by the guy who runs Belarus.

  77. James Canning says:

    Karl..,

    I have made clear that the eruption of civil war in Ukraine is partly the result of gross mistakes on the part of the US (and other countries).

    That said, you obviously have not followed comments by leaders of Kazakhstan and Belarus, regarding their unease with Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

  78. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:

    ” war in Ukraine is partly the result of gross mistakes on the part of the US (and other countries).”

    has UK become so irrelevant even to you that you refer to it just as ‘other country(s)’?? of course you be correct. you are making progress james

  79. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    My understanding is that Putin was very much displeased with the actions of the American ambassador in Russia, and Victoria Nuland’s activities in Ukraine. And yes, I do not think British envoys were a significant factor in the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine.

  80. Rd. says:

    James Canning says:
    ” I do not think British envoys were a significant factor in the eruption of the crisis in Ukraine.”

    but ofcourse, agree completely, as a poodle to the US dictat, they would be on a leash to follow.

  81. James Canning says:

    Rd.,

    I think the American ambassador to Russia was something of a loose cannon, and that he was acting on his own impulses rather than as part of official US strategy.

    You appear not to have noticed David Cameron’s recent warning to the US Congress, not to wreck the negotiations with Iran.