Across the Bay

Friday, March 30, 2007

Girl I Don't Know, I Don't Know Why...

Tony Blair, commenting on Iran's parading of the British sailors on Iranian TV, said today: "I really don't know why the Iranian regime keep doing this."

Really!? You don't?! Let me help you out. You can start by asking Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, one the regime's most rabid hardliners, who took distinct pleasure trashing Britain as a spent power who's a mere puppy of the US and who's acting as though it's an empire when it's no longer the 19th c.

This was broadcast on TV of course (where I saw it).

Perhaps Blair can then move closer to understanding by reading how one of the British sailors was made to "confess" that they were indeed in Iranian waters and then "apologized" to the Iranian nation. Because, you see, Britain, according to Ali Larijani, has been copping an "incorrect attitude"!

I'll spell it out for Tony Blair: it's called "humiliation" and the Iranians are reveling in it just like they did with Madeleine Albright when she "apologized" for "past American errors" (the Mossadegh affair).

It's called "humiliation." And, you know, as the pundits and MESA experts tell us, when we do it to the Arabs, it's natural for them to respond with suicide bombers. When Iran does it to Britain, Tony Blair wonders why they're being so mean.

Addendum: Barry Rubin nails it: "It is no accident that Tehran is doing everything possible to humiliate Britain. The two countries' political cultures are not only out of sync; they are operating with different timelines altogether."

Addendum 2: David Rifkin and Lee Casey commented on the affair:

The international community's failure to show immediate outrage at Iran's action is deafening. Ancient legal principles governing how states make war are on the line. Compliance with the laws of war is most important at the time of actual conflict. These principles are already, unfortunately, under assault by terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda. Permitting a United Nations member state that is also a regional power like Iran to violate these norms repeatedly and with impunity would have grave humanitarian consequences for the future.

Addendum 3: David Ignatius also wrote on the issue and put it in context. However, he may have missed the point, perhaps as a result of being caught up in his intellectual premise. I don't know if it's about the IRGC not wanting negotiations with the US, or trying to sabotage them. It's probably about making it seem that the US and Britain are begging them from a position of weakness; that they managed to bring the Brits to their knees; that they made them realize that they can be hurt (there was a report in an IRGC paper in Iran warning of future kidnappings of "blond and blue-eyed" Europeans and Americans, and a threat to retaliate in Beirut -- keeping in mind Hezbollah's long history of hostage taking), as opposed to going in to the negotiations with many IRGC people either defecting or being picked up all over the place.

Addendum 4: An interesting comment in the Daily Telegraph:

I start to wonder whether it might not be time for us to get as nasty with other countries as they do with us.

As we wait anxiously to see what will happen to our 15 hostages - for that is what they are - in Teheran, we should feel undiluted rage at the behaviour of other countries and institutions towards us.