Gasping for Air… Michael Rubin and the lot.

One thing this Saberi issue has brought about is a return of the rhetoric against engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), in the form of confrontation. Someone shared with me an article by Michael Rubin and the Middle East Forum in order to share ‘insight’ (*cough* bullshit! *cough*).

My response:

Firstly, I don’t know how legitimate the Middle East Forum think tank, founded by pseudo-academic Daniel Pipes, is as a neoconservative group who’s mission statement mentions “countering the Iranian threat”. Let me explain:

Secondly, Michael Rubin, an AEI scholar who’s neoconservative foreign policy has been so discredited over the last 8 years, is a known opponent of US engagement with Iran who pulls Iranian leaders’ quotes out of context, and, as Proffesor Farideh Farhi demonstrates (this is a great read), mistranslates Iranian media to fit his agenda.

Therefore, this piece on Saberi has a goal: To demonstrate the irrationality of the IRI in a way that demonstrates that the Iranians are impossible to work with because of their ideology. When in fact while the IRI is no pussy cat, it certainly sees pragmatic interest in some type of engagement (therefore necessarily there will be concessions to US interests in some ways down the line).

In Rubin’s piece he equates the current government with that of Khomeini’s war government. There are still certain commonalities in human rights policy, regime figures, foreign policy, etc., but the world climate has changed. I don’t think any true Iran watchers would suggest that the IRI today, while brutal and ideologically heavy in rhetoric and symbolism, doesn’t mold and shape based on its interaction with the mood of the international community of the day. Even Iranian WINEP scholar Mehdi Khalaji argues the pragmatism of figures like Khamenei.

He is certainly correct to be worried about Saberi’s safety, and to make points that Saberi is a pawn in this ‘Great Game’ between the US and the IRI. But he explicitly suggests that the interaction with the US and Iran today is equal to the interactions of the US and Iran in 1989-90, therefore diametrically opposed in all ways, leading to impossible rapprochement.

As a known proponent of US preventative action Michael Rubin uses Saberi’s plight to make his point that the IRI’s “noxiousness” (harmfulness) as a “rogue state” (terminology used before the Iraq war to promote preventative military action) must wake the West up to face down the threat of the IRI.

People like Rubin, or Elliot Abrams for instance, are using the political climate of slight hesitation between both the US and the IRI to defend and push their failed policy of preventative military extension of US power abroad, one that this current government seems to dutifully shun.


~ by The Common Man on April 21, 2009.

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