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Friday, March 6, 2015

Roger Cohen, "Netanyahu’s Iran Thing": Roger "Iran Is Not Totalitarian" Cohen Is Back!

Do you remember how Roger Cohen waged a campaign during the first six months of 2009 to convince us that Iran is "not totalitarian"? Well, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Netanyahu’s Iran Thing," Cohen is back with more asinine claims, intended to support Obama's pending nuclear agreement with Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei. Cohen begins:

"[Netanyahu] portrays a rampaging Islamic Republic that 'now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sana,' a nation 'gobbling' other countries on a “march of conquest, subjugation and terror.' Then, in the same speech, he describes Iran as 'a very vulnerable regime' on the brink of folding.

Well, which is it?"

So, you can't be "rampaging" and "vulnerable" at the same time? Nazi Germany certainly "rampaged," but at the same time was "vulnerable" owing to the dependence of its war machine upon Romanian oil and Swedish iron ore.

Is a rampaging Iran also vulnerable? For example, is Iranian support of Hamas and Hezbollah affected by its finances, i.e. the low price of oil? Absolutely. As reported by Newsweek in a January 15, 2015 article entitled "Is Hezbollah Going Broke?" by Jeff Neumann:

"But the good times may now be over for Hezbollah and its supporters. Iranian oil profits, which have lubricated the proxy group with hundreds of millions of dollars a year, appear to be drying up. Western sanctions, imposed on Tehran due to its nuclear program, coupled with falling oil prices, have emptied the coffers of the Islamic Republic. Crude now trades at less than $50 per barrel, down from more than $100 in June, due to lower global demand, oversupply in the Middle East and the rise of the American fracking industry. Meanwhile, Iran has reportedly seen its oil exports fall by 60 percent since 2011, and the country’s budget deficit has climbed to an astounding $9 billion."

Cohen continues, "Netanyahu knows the first thing that will happen if talks collapse is that Russia and China will undermine the solidarity behind effective Iran sanctions." Sorry, Roger, but after Obama softened the sanctions regime against Iran in 2014Russia and Iran have already held joint naval exercises. However, hope is not lost. Russia is also being impacted by the dramatic decline in the price of oil and is susceptible to American pressure.

Cohen goes on to say:

"Netanyahu lambastes the notion of a nuclear deal lasting 10 years (President Obama has suggested this is a minimum). He portrays that decade as a period in which, inevitably, Iran’s 'voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year.' He thereby dismisses the more plausible notion that greater economic contact with the world and the gradual emergence of a young generation of Iranians drawn to the West — as well as the inevitable dimming of the ardor of Iran’s revolution — will attenuate such aggression."

Got it: The US and Israel should pin all its hopes upon the emergence of a more moderate generation of Iranians. Needless to say, in another decade the Iranian Revolutionary Guard will simply fade into the sunset. Yeah, right.

Next, Cohen tells us:

"What better assures Israel’s security, a decade of strict limitation and inspection of Iran’s nuclear program that prevents it making a bomb, or a war that delays the program a couple of years, locks in the most radical factions in Tehran, and intensifies Middle Eastern violence? It’s a no-brainer."

A "no-brainer"? Oh really? As Max Boot writes in a Commentary item entitled "Why Obama Thinks He Can’t Get a Better Iran Deal":

"The U.S. intelligence community has a terrible track record of detecting nuclear work in other countries. We were caught off guard by the first Soviet nuclear test in 1949, the first Indian test in 1974, the first Pakistani test in 1998, the first North Korean test in 2006. Likewise, we were surprised by the extent of the Iraqi nuclear program in 1992.

Is there cause to hope that we would be better informed about the Iranian program? Only if we get truly intrusive inspection that allows international monitors to roam the country at will with no need to announce visits in advance. I am skeptical whether the mullahs will agree to that. The 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea shows how easily a state can cheat on a nuclear accord: The North agreed to shut down a plutonium reactor at Yongbyon but proceeded with the secret enrichment of uranium."

"[A] decade of strict limitation and inspection of Iran’s nuclear program"? Keep dreaming, Roger!

And then there is Cohen's reference to Nancy Pelosi:

"No wonder Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s House Leader, saw Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as an 'insult to the intelligence of the United States.'"
This is the same Nancy Pelosi who, in 2007, listened in rapture to mass murderer Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, and declared after meeting him:

"We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process. He’s ready to engage in negotiations for peace with Israel."

Finally, there is Cohen's declaration that "Iranian help today furthers America’s strategic priority of defeating those knife-wielding slayers [i.e. ISIS]." Those "knife-wielding slayers"? Cohen fails to observe that Iran stones to death women accused of adultery and hangs homosexuals. Also, forgotten by Cohen is the fact that some 20 percent of American casualties in Iraq were caused by Iran's Quds forces. Nevertheless, the US should now be grateful for the help of the mullahs in combating ISIS.

Cohen turns my stomach. Enough said.


  1. More scary are the veiled threats turned into DOJ witch-hunt on Sen. Menendez, for staunchly opposing the O on Iran (and Cuba, etc).

    and, has anyone in the WH realized that Iran declared war on the USA when the embassy was invaded in 1979? p.s. to Max Boot: the CIA stationed in Teheran totally missed the 1979 'revolution', according to the film "Argo"

    Can wait for the film version of how Pakistani nukes saved the world...even if that might be the world's only hope to stop Iran.

  2. Cohen should be doing stand-up. Bada-bing!