Monday, March 23, 2009

Useful Idiot for Iran

That would be Roger Cohen of the New York Times. Cohen visited Iran back in January & February, and now thinks he's an expert on Iranian thinking & motivations, as well as U.S. foreign policy toward the country. Not surprisingly, his recommendations all involve appeasement of Iran. Here's Cohen reading way too much into Obama's Iranian New Year's message:
He abandoned regime change as an American goal. He shelved the so-called military option. He buried a carrot-and-sticks approach viewed with contempt by Iranians as fit only for donkeys. And he placed Iran’s nuclear program within “the full range of issues before us.”
Did he really? I don't recall Obama actually doing any of those things. It's interesting how Cohen's wishful thinking corresponds to the desires of the Iranian regime.  He continues
Obama made it almost inevitable that one of the defining strategic issues of his presidency will be a painful but necessary redefinition of America’s relations with Israel as differences over Iran sharpen.
Again, is this Cohen or a mullah of Iran speaking? There's no "necessity" for any redefinition of U.S. relations with Israel. Cohen has simply adopted an Iranian position. 

Cohen goes on to make more wild claims for the supposed meaning of Obama's outreach to Tehran. He dismisses the hostile Iranian reaction out of hand as a mere "opening gambit." According to Cohen, Iran and the mullahs aren't the main problem in moving forward with better relations. Guess what is? That's right, Israel.
Obama’s new Middle Eastern diplomacy and engagement will involve reining in Israeli bellicosity and a probable cooling of U.S.-Israeli relations. It’s about time.
Iran has openly called for the destruction of Israel, yet it's Israel's "bellicosity" that we need to address. Let's just ignore everything Iran has done and is doing. We should please our enemy by damaging relations with an ally. He ends with this
America’s Israel-can-do-no-wrong policy has been disastrous, not least for Israel’s long-term security.

His obviously ridiculous characterization of U.S/Israel policy could have come straight out of the mouth of one of the mullahs. After basically saying we need to throw Israel under the bus in order to appease Iran, Cohen now has the nerve to pretend that he's worried about Israeli security. 

With the pandering to Iran, the calls for appeasement, and the attacks on Israel, what is missing from Cohen's article? There is no mention of U.S. interests. Why is appeasing Iran in the U.S. interest? Cohen doesn't bother laying out that case because he's acting as a spokesman for Iran, whether he realizes it or not. He's a prime example of a useful idiot. Iran should write him a check.


  1. Your frustration with Cohen is commendably restrained. Its amazing how the desire of some listeners to hear what they want to hear in Obama's speech, enables them to misconstrue subtlety for an about face on campaign promises and critical US foreign policy interests.

    Cohen is in for a shock when, more predictably, dialogue delivers nothing except the time Iran needs to achieve its nuclear goal. I wonder if he will brand the President a traitor and liar, when the time for talk is over?

  2. It's funny how much Cohen sounds like a Cold War leftist after a trip to Cuba or the Soviet Union. But yes, it is actually surprising that he read so much into Obama's message to Iran -- as if that statement meant that we had abandoned all of our previous policies toward Iran. As you point out, instead of just being naive about Iran, he's naive about Obama too. That's some serious naivete.