by Paul Balles
“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” –Noam Chomsky
Watch out for a shift in war hawks. Before the Iraq war, at least a dozen in the U.S. Administration and major media spread enough propaganda to silence the majority of Americans.
These hawks, acting more on behalf of Israel than America had a natural shill in the Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi who fabricated evidence about WMDs and al Qaeda in Iraq.
An equally–if not more–dangerous fabricator in the current political scene is Ray Takeyh, an Iranian settled in America, writing for major media publications and using his influence as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In a recent article in the Washington Post, Takeyh writes “As the great powers contemplate a solution to the Iranian nuclear conundrum, they would be prudent to appreciate how Tehran uses diplomacy to complement its quest for nuclear arms.”
“…its quest for nuclear arms”?
There’s no question in this statement about Iran having a programme to develop nuclear arms. According to Takeyh, Iran is on a quest for nuclear weapons.
He writes as if there’s no obligation to support his assertion with evidence. He offers no facts to support his claim.
Takeyh fails to acknowledge Iran’s insistence that its nuclear interests are in electrical power and medical research. He completely ignores the fatwa issued by Kamenei forbidding nuclear weapons.
Takeyh fails to point out that Iran is a member of the non-proliferation treaty, and it is perfectly legal for Iran to develop nuclear power. Not nuclear weapons—electricity.
Takeyh makes no mention of the fact that Iran’s nuclear development for peaceful means is under the inspection of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Instead he argues that “…any concessions on Iran’s ‘right to enrich’ in order to obtain that suspension would fall into Tehran’s trap of hampering a U.S. or Israeli military option.”
His stance makes Takeyh closer to Israel than to his origins in Iran. He conveniently ignores Israel’s possession of 200 or 300 nuclear warheads.
A major problem is that Takeyh has established himself as an expert on Iran. He’s the author of The Guardians of the Revolution: Iran’s Approach to the World (Oxford University Press, 2009). He is also the author of two previous books, Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Henry Holt, 2006) and The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The U.S., Britain and Nasser’s Egypt, 1953-1957 (St. Martin’s Press, 2000).
Takeyh has published widely, including articles in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Interest, Survival, World Policy Journal, Washington Quarterly, Orbis, Middle East Journal and Middle East Policy.
His commentaries have also been featured in many newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times and International Herald Tribune.
Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Takeyh was Senior Advisor on Iran at the Department of State. He was previously a fellow at the Washington Institute of Near East Policy and has taught at National War College, Yale University, and University of California, Berkeley.
The impressive array of credits in Takeyh’s background makes it impossible for most people to fault his statements or analyses.
However, even the most honoured scholars and experts can make mistakes if they have blind spots, been influenced by others, fail to see the weaknesses in their assumptions or have ulterior motives.
Highly regarded scholars and experts can represent an even greater danger than a Chalabi business tycoon and politician. The great danger comes when scholars exercise their potential to lead the world into another war.