Follow by Email

Sunday, August 25, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "Reading Tweets From Iran": Imagine It's 1938

In an editiorial entitled "Reading Tweets From Iran" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/opinion/reading-tweets-from-iran.html?_r=0), The New York Times today takes the position that there is once again hope that Iran will be will willing to reach a negotiated settlement involving its nuclear weapons development program. The editorial states:

"In a flurry of English-language posts on Twitter since his election in June, Mr. Rouhani has given reason to hope that he is serious about resolving disputes with the United States and other major powers, most urgently about Iran’s nuclear program.

'We don’t want further tension. Both nations need 2 think more abt future & try 2 sit down & find solutions to past issues & rectify things,' he, or somebody writing in his name, said on June 17. On the nuclear program, he commented: 'Our program is transparent, but we can take more steps to make it clear to world that our nuclear program is within intl regulations.'

. . . .

President Rouhani is sending strong signals that he will dispatch a pragmatic, experienced team to the table when negotiations resume, possibly next month. That’s when we should begin to see answers to key questions: How much time and creative thinking are he and President Obama willing to invest in a negotiated solution, the only rational outcome? How much political risk are they willing to take, which for Mr. Obama must include managing the enmity that Israel and many members of Congress feel toward Iran?"

Yes, that's right: The New York Times places creedence in tweets in English that Rouhani never wrote for himself.

As recently observed by Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on Iran (http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/president-rouhani-sometimes-the-bull-wins/):

"[Rouhani] took pride in his memoirs of deceiving the West during his time as nuclear negotiator. And he has publicly boasted that he sees Pakistan as a model for emulation when it comes to the nuclear question. This is hardly promising for those who see in his election a potential page turner for nuclear negotiations."

But of course, the editorial board of The New York Times doesn't bother to mention Rouhani's memoirs.

The Times believes that Obama must manage the "enmity" that Israel feels toward Iran, yet it was Rouhani who stated earlier this month (http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/08/02/Iranian-president-elect-calls-Israel-a-wound-that-must-be-cleansed-.html):

"[I]n our region there's been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods [Jerusalem]."

The New York Times also fails to take into account that Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, someone who has never been accused of moderation, calls all the shots in Iran.

Now imagine the year is 1938. Perhaps The New York Times would have also written at that time:

Chancellor Hitler is sending strong signals that he will dispatch a pragmatic, experienced team to the table when negotiations resume, possibly next month. That’s when we should begin to see answers to key questions: How much time and creative thinking are he and Prime Minister Chamberlain willing to invest in a negotiated solution, the only rational outcome? How much political risk are they willing to take, which for Prime Minister Chamberlain must include managing the enmity that Czechoslovakia and many members of Parliament feel toward Germany?

Unbeknownst to The New York Times, the course of history has not been determined by perceptions of "rational outcomes," particularly in the Muslim Middle East.

We can only pray that the Times is not giving voice to the shrouded thoughts of Obama, the first invertebrate to have ever occupied the Oval Office.

3 comments:

  1. In the mid 1930s few people had the vision or the temerity to recognise
    the dangers of German Nazism and Italian Fascism. The USA was locked into isolationist mentality. It took Pearl Harbour to rudely awaken her. In England Churchill was regarded as dangerous by liberal intellectuals.
    Robert Byron was virtually blackballed by sections of British upper-class society. He famously declared that he would have "war monger" inscribed in his passport under the section entitled "occupation".

    Jeff, your analysis is spot-on.
    The New York Times is acting like a giant spider spinning daily insulation threads around a growing cocoon. The thickness and scale of this padding mean that it is now impossible for the paper or its readers to comprehend the present danger.
    And from within the cocoon all other voices are treated as so madmen. One is at one's most vulnerable when dissenting voices are dismissed offhand. It seems that neither Obama nor the NYT are capable of admitting that they have been consistently and dangerously wrong. Obama in his policies and preachings. The NY Times in its opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. In the mid 1930s few people had the vision or the temerity to recognise the dangers of German Nazism and Italian Fascism. The USA was locked into isolationist mentality. It took Pearl Harbor to rudely awaken her. In England Churchill was regarded as dangerous by liberal intellectuals.

    Robert Byron was virtually blackballed by sections of British upper-class society. He famously declared that he would have "war monger" inscribed in his passport under the section entitled "occupation".

    Jeff, your analysis is spot-on.

    The New York Times is acting like a giant spider spinning daily insulation threads around a growing cocoon. The thickness and scale of this padding mean that it is now impossible for the paper or its readers to comprehend the present danger.

    And from within the cocoon all other voices are treated as so madmen. One is at one's most vulnerable when dissenting voices are dismissed offhand. It seems that neither Obama nor the NYT are capable of admitting that they have been consistently and dangerously wrong. Obama in his policies and preachings, The NY Times in its opinions.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the "invertebrate" analogy. Superb.

    ReplyDelete