The Magazine

Pants on (three-alarm) Fire

From The Scrapbook

Feb 6, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 20 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

During the Bush years, an Iran expert like Parsi had little trouble getting a favorable hearing for his message that the tension between the United States and Iran was the fault of a Republican president who had gone to war in two Muslim countries. It was easy for the mainstream media to embrace Parsi’s advocacy and overlook the number of times Bush administration officials had actually met with Iranian counterparts and sought to come to some sort of accommodation with Tehran. What a relief it was for such apologists when a Democratic president promising to engage the mullahs came to office—after all, Obama believed the same thing they did, that Washington’s difficulties with Tehran were all Bush’s fault.

But in spite of Obama’s desire to meet with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, there has been no engagement, no accommodation, and no peace. Indeed, in October, U.S. law enforcement officials and the intelligence community announced indictments against two figures related to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who were plotting to blow up the Saudi ambassador in Washington in an explosion that might have cost the lives of hundreds of bystanders as well. The White House was understandably upset, as well as embarrassed. Why? Because engaging Iran was one of the president’s top priorities from the moment he hit the campaign trail.

The reality of the situation spells big trouble for Parsi. If the Iranian regime truly is incorrigible, then his career is jeopardized. His analysis, such as it is, has been exposed as faulty and worse, and he is going to have trouble raising money from the Iranian expatriate community. Who wants to write checks to advocate on behalf of a state sponsor of terror? Accordingly, the regime must be exculpated. It can’t be Iran’s fault that engagement came up empty. Someone else must be blamed.

In Parsi’s account, the culprits are Congress, America’s Sunni Arab allies in the Middle East, and, of course, the Jews. “Israel and some of its supporters in the United States,” Parsi writes, “have feared that a thaw in U.S. relations with Iran could come at the expense of America’s special friendship with the Jewish state.”

In addition to the unsavory logic at work here—Jewish money runs powerful networks that exert control over U.S. policy—there’s an implicit argument that American officials are ignorant of their nation’s true interests. That is, the United States could not possibly have its own problems with Iran dating back to the 1979 siege of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the kidnapping of our embassy personnel. Washington has no reason to be skeptical of the Iranian regime’s intentions, even as its minions developed improvised explosive devices that killed and wounded thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor does Washington really have cause for concern over the regime’s march toward a nuclear weapons program. There would have been a peace deal between Washington and Tehran, if only the president of the United States could see the truth of the matter, if only he weren’t taking orders from the Zionists.

In effect, these are the same talking points coming out of Tehran, only wrapped in a shroud of objective analysis and published by Yale University Press, which should be ashamed of itself for publishing this trash. As for Parsi, it’s apparent he has no shame.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 19 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers