Thursday, March 5, 2009

The "Iran Lobby" Moves Into The White House - Not a Big Surprise!

from the blog MERE RHETORIC

I was a little worried that the Saudis would use their long-time lobbyist Chas Freeman - now comfortably ensconced as NIC - to buy up the Obama administration. Then I read this report from the Center For Security Policy. Turns out that's not really a possibility because the Iranians won't sell it to them:

A complex network of individuals and organizations with ties to the clerical regime in Tehran is pressing forward in seeming synchrony to influence the new U.S. administration's policy towards the Islamic Republic of Iran. Spearheaded by a de facto partnership between the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other organizations serving as mouthpieces for the mullahs' party line, the network includes well-known American diplomats, congressional representatives, figures from academia and the think tank world. This report-- documenting the rise of what can accurately be described as the "Iran Lobby" in Washington, D.C.--is derived entirely from unclassified open sources and describes in detail the activities, linkages, and objectives of this alarming alliance between NIAC, CAIR and others that is aimed at co-opting America's foreign policy in the Middle East and specifically with Iran... Of special concern is the growing penetration of the Obama Administration by a number of individuals with such associations.
The full report [PDF] names names, many of which will be known to longtime MR readers. In fact, the entire thrust of the paper should seem uncomfortably familiar:

Despite Iran's obvious and increasing intransigence during the 1990s, foreign policy experts were sure that reformists were just about to sweep to victory. And then when that didn't happen they insisted that newly categorized "conservative pragmatists" were going to take the day. Wrong and wrong. Despite Iran's obvious role in linking Hezbollah and Mugniyah, these same experts insisted for decades that Mugniyah was anything but a Hezbollah operative. Laughingly wrong. Despite a broad consensus across the Iranian regime that the Islamic Republic should nuclearize, the foreign policy left focuses on subtle intrigues that may or may not exist. Not really important. Despite Iran's obvious progress toward the bomb, they came up with the suggestion that we didn't have to worry because Iran could never get enough of their Pakistani-bought centrifuges to work. Problem solved. And then of course there's the whole "Sunnis and Shiites don't work together" smugness with which the left greets any suggestion that Iran is backing terrorism against Israel. Right.
See also here and here.

Isn't it strange that Mearsheimer, Brzezinski, and their ilk - usually so quick to ferret out foreign influences on US policy-making - have been silent as CAIR infiltrated the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party? I'm not suggesting that they're part of a deliberate conspiracy to exert Iranian on the US's ruling party. Really. That's not how it happens. It happens around the CSIS watercooler with an exasperated one-liner about Israeli influence, conveying to a new intern what counts as sophistication. It happens in a Foggy Bottom office with a well-timed cringe about Iranian intransigence, telling a low-level bureaucrat what to excise. And it happens on academic panels with glowing reviews, signaling to young scholars what gets published. Outside of actual lobbies like NIAC and CAIR, actual lobbyists like Freeman, and genuinely execrable academics like Juan Cole - anti-Israel and pro-Iranian foreign policy expertise is institutional.
That doesn't make the Iran Lobby's influence any less real. It doesn't matter whether the politicized State Department washouts who hijacked the NIE were doing it in good faith or not. They still committed a quasi-putsch that allowed Iran to run out the clock until their nuke program became undeniable. Ditto for the academics - and the future Democratic President - who picked up the report and ran with it.
Though Brzezinski's shrill campaign to undermine Israeli self-defense by leveraging his vaunted foreign policy credentials - that's getting a little suspicious.
Also suspicious: how lifetime politicians and political scientists, knowing how institutions work, could conclude that there's a shadowy pro-Israel cabal secretly controlling the US. It's almost as if there's something driving them other than objective concerns about foreign influence. Levelheaded analysis couldn't cause Mearsheimer to become physically disturbed when railing against "Jewish activists," "major Jewish organizations" and the "Israel lobby." And it couldn't cause Carter to become physically nauseous at the thought of Jews living in the West Bank. That's a different kind of concern about a different kind of problem.
Incidentally, I was just kidding about Chas Freeman trying to buy the White House for the Saudis. He wears at least a couple hats and is among the more prominent members of the diffuse Iran Lobby. Of course he is.
References and previously after the jump (h/t: MR reader CB)...

[Center For Security Policy]* Obama Discovers That Iran Has Nukes, Circa 2011 (Plus: Sophisticated Foreign Policy Expertise About Iran Is Very Sophisticated) [MR]* Smug Liberal Sophistication Untroubled By Undeniable Evidence That Hardliners Are Winning In Iran [MR]* Obligatory Post About Iran's "Hezbollah Radiation Will Destroy Israel" Threat (Plus: Mugniyah Assassination Dramatically Demonstrates Absurdity Of Liberal Foreign Policy Sophistication) [MR]* Mathematical Proof That Negotiating With Iran Is Stupid. Not Wrong. Stupid. [MR]* Iran Misses Memo About How Sunnis And Shiites Don't Cooperate, Gives Syria Cutting Edge Offensive Missiles (Plus: Expert Sophistication Wrong On Iranian Nuclearization. Again) [MR]* Hezbollah Outreach To "Sunnis Who Are Loyal To Hezbollah" Not So Kind To Expert Expertise Of Foreign Policy Experts Who Deny Sunni-Shiite Cooperation [MR]* Smug Liberal Sophistication Undisturbed By Decades Of Disastrously Wrong Domestic And International Predictions [MR]* Iranian Cleric: Put A Bullet In Livni's Head (Plus: Smug Liberal Sophistication Unperturbed By Spectacularly Wrong Iran Predictions, Failed Anti-Iran Efforts) [MR]* Video: Obama Outreach Coordinator Meets With CAIR Reps, Terrorist-Endorsing Preachers (Plus: FBI Testimony Links CAIR To Terrorists) [MR]* So, About Those Unindicted Co-Conspirators That Democrats Are So Cozy With... [MR]* WaPo: NIE Conclusions Were Engineered By Easily Identifiable, Hysterically Anti-Bush State Department Washouts [MR]* Bolton calls report on Iran 'quasi-putsch' [LAT]* US Spy Agencies: Actually, It Turns Out That Iran Is Developing Nukes (UPDATE: Obama On The NIE: "Bush Continues To Not Let Facts Get In The Way Of His Ideology") [MR]* Q&A: McCain, Obama on Iraq, Iran, Putin [USA Today]* Brzezinski: Israeli Campaign Against Iran Will Detonate US-Israel Relations [MR]* We're Considering the Possibility that Walt and Mearsheimer Might Not Be Faking Their Ignorance [MR]* Carter "Nauseated" By Jewish Settlements [MR]

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