Saturday, August 29, 2015

Is Reza Aslan Naive or Disingenuous?

"I believe success in Vienna will empower moderates in Iran, strengthen Iranian civil society and spur economic development. It will result in interdependent trade relations between Iran and the United States, which will give Iran’s leaders the incentive to behave responsibly and punish them when they don’t."

You have to hand it to UC Riverside professor and writer Reza Aslan: He has really pulled the wool over a lot of people's eyes into thinking he is someone whose opinion counts for anything. I sort of regard him as the Kim Kardashian of current events. In this latest piece in the NY Times, Aslan, a native of Iran, tries to sell us on the Iranian nuclear deal. Why? Because it has the potential of bringing Iran into the family of nations.

"By easing sanctions and giving Iranians (particularly the 60 percent of the population that is under the age of 30) access to the rest of the world, a nuclear deal may accomplish what all Iranians in Southern California — my father’s generation and mine — dream of: an Iran that is a responsible actor on the global stage, that respects the rights of its citizens and that has warm relations with the rest of the world. As we Iranians like to say, inshallah. God willing."

At least, Aslan concedes that the Iranian regime is "awful" and has caused much suffering. Aside from that, there is so much he left out of his piece that would buttress the arguments against the deal. For example, Aslan could have at least mentioned the fact that Iran is the biggest state sponsor of international terrorism, and will do much more mischief with that 100 or so billion dollars we are unfreezing. How about the religious persecution of Christians and Baha'i? How about the persecution of gays in Iran? How about their support to Hezbollah and Hamas? How about their constant promises to wipe Israel off the face of the map and calls for "Death to America"? And let us not forget that this is the same regime that held our diplomats hostage for over a year. In a sane world, just a recitation of these facts would cause any normal person to question how we could make any deal with this regime. Imagine what the world will be like once they have that nuclear weapon ready.

Aslan skipped over all of this. If the NY Times had a real editorial department, they would have sent his piece back for re-writing.

"You left out a lot of details, Reza."

But then again, this is the NY Times we are talking about.

If Aslan really thinks that this deal has any chance of turning the Iranian regime into a civilized member of the family of nations because of increased trade, he is incredibly naive. On the other hand, if he is as smart as he is reputed to be, he is pulling the wool over our eyes.

(But not mine.)

1 comment:

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Well, you have to remember he IS Iranian by heritage, and he really HOPES for a peaceful, democratic Iran, or at least something more free and open to be enjoyed by its people. I think he overstates the case for the treaty, but what he envisions may be one of its collateral benefits in the long run. In the short run, Iran is strong enough we can't just knock it over, weak enough that its feeling the pain from the measure we've been taking, proud enough that they won't offer unconditional surrender, and we got a deal that's within the realm of what both sides can live with.