I’ve been pouring through some of the material available on this Trita Parsi fellow who is advising Barack Obama on his Iran policy and as near as I can tell, Obama is relying strictly on this one guy based strictly on his one book. In this BBC interview, Parsi states unequivocally that diplomatic relations should begin with Iran without preconditions so as not to derail the negotiations.
From Barack Obama’s campaign website;
Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.
In this screen shot of an exerpt from Parsi’s book, he expalins that we Americans are just a bunch of ignorant asses who believe that the problem in the Middle East is between a democracy (Israel) and a tyrannic regime and that we believe that because we believe everything the Israelis tell us to believe instead of a clash of cultures;
Except we understand all of that and we didn’t need Obama or Parsi to tell us. From what I’ve read of Parsi’s book (admittedly just excerpts on Amazon), the West are just a bunch of rubes who don’t understand the Iranian’s true intentions. In this interview for the CFR, Parsi actually argues that the Iranians don’t have nuclear ambitions, they just want to look like they do…then stop developing the nukes just short of the actual warheads;
Well, I think they definitely are looking for a nuclear option, being — as you mentioned — like Japan or Sweden or Belgium — having the capability to be able to go for a nuclear weapon, but stopping short of that. And that is exactly the same approach that the Shah took during the 1970s. He wanted to have the option, but he also recognized the strategic disadvantage for Iran to actually go for a weapon.
So the Iranians do have strong incentives not going for a nuclear weapon, but because of them living in a very tough neighborhood, they definitely want to have the option. And I think that’s what they’re aiming for now. I don’t think they have made a strategic decision to go for a weapon, but if tensions between the United States and Iran were to increase further, then that decision would probably be reassessed.
So I guess we just cross our fingers and hope that even though they go through all of the motions, they stop short of the goal. I guess that’s part of that “Hope” mantra from the Obama campaign.
In this interview on CNN, Parsi waves away Ahmadinejad’s letter to the UN last year condemning liberal western democracies in an attempt to bully the West to delay sanctions. Parsi says it’s a plea for negotiations with the US, when it’s clearly not. He goes on to blame the US for Iran’s nuclear ambitions, when there are a 160 other nations in the UN – why does the US have to talk with everyone?
Parsi, of course, doesn’t mention the fact that relations with the Islamic Republic began with the seizure of our embassy and holding 50 hostages for 444 days. Ahmadinejad happens to be one of the perpetrators of that international crime. In this lecture to the Congressional Progressive caucus, Parsi falsely claims that the Bush Administration didn’t have a foreign policy towards Iran in the first four years. When did he make the “axis of evil” speech?
There’s always been a national policy towards Iran – just because Mr. Parsi disagrees with it, that doesn’t make it nonexistent. But Parsi’s philosophy shows through on Obama’s campaign website;
Iran has sought nuclear weapons, supports militias inside Iraq and terror across the region, and its leaders threaten Israel and deny the Holocaust. But Obama believes that we have not exhausted our non-military options in confronting this threat; in many ways, we have yet to try them. That’s why Obama stood up to the Bush administration’s warnings of war, just like he stood up to the war in Iraq.
As a result of Obama listening to this bumbling halfwit hiding behind his sheepskins, Obama has become and easy target for John McCain (New York Times link);
“We hear talk of a meeting with the Iranian leadership offered up as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before,” Mr. McCain said at the pro-Israel lobby’s convention in Washington. “Yet it’s hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain, except an earful of anti-Semitic rants, and a worldwide audience for a man who denies one Holocaust and talks before frenzied crowds about starting another.”
The Obama campaign countered that Mr. McCain “stubbornly insists on continuing a dangerous and failed foreign policy that has clearly made the United States and Israel less secure,” adding that during the Bush administration Iran had made gains with its nuclear program, that it had expanded its influence in the region through groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and that Hamas had taken over Gaza.
Obama and Parsi just figure that since the Bush Administration hasn’t been able to unscrew what Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton left us, simply do the complete opposite. But that’s the way stuff happens on Bizzarro World.