What Would You Ask?

Monday night, I’m going to hear Warren Christopher talk about “The Iranian Hostage Crisis and the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal: Implications for International Dispute Resolution and Diplomacy”

I may get a chance to chat with him. My impressions of the US response to the Iran hostage crisis are pretty bleak.

So – what should I ask him? What should I read tomorrow?

11 thoughts on “What Would You Ask?”

  1. Jeez, this is truly eye-glazing. I have found more interest in reading lists of names and crimes and lengths of sentences of convicts sent to Australia

    Warren Christopher is going to talk about the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal for how long? And you seem to have no idea what, if anything, he will say that might be interesting and call for a response?

    I advise you to ask someone: “Where’s the bar?”

  2. One key question:

    Why was the Carter administration’s response to behaviour that had been one of the most clearly recognised acts of war for over three _centuries_ so limp-wristed, confused, and acquiescent?

    Follow-up question:

    Why was the Clinton administration’s response to _repeated_ violent attacks on American interests … so limp-wristed, confused, and acquiescent?

  3. Ho-kay, two suggested questions or question areas, neither based on the dull documents:

    1. “The Government of the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria served as intermediary…” then. Given that in the recent Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006, Hezbollah wound up being treated as a partner in the final resolution much as though it was a state, could you give some of your thoughts on such non-state actors either as partners that one would talk to through an intermediary or as intermediaries that one might need or want in dealing with some states or with similar non-state actors? Would you have accepted a similar non-state intermediary back then? Do you see Hezbollah and similar entities as having “Implications for International Dispute Resolution and Diplomacy”?

    2. Henry Kissinger said that in negotiations, he spent a lot of his time just trying to get the mental map his interlocutor was using clear. Even if the negotiations proved hopeless, he hoped at least to know why, based on what the other guy thought was happening. Did you set your priorities similarly? Did you feel at the time you had a solid grip on what the Iranians thought was happening? Has what has come out since about the behind the scenes ideas of the Iranians at the time confirmed or disconfirmed your impressions?

    I think the Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini and therefore everyone under him had Jimmy Carter pegged as a “headless chicken” who would “not do a damned thing” and the Americans as suckers, and introducing non-state actors into the mix is only going to exacerbate crooked rug-merchant behaviour. You can routinely resolve trivial disputes for small sums of money and things like that, but if someone can be bothered to cheat you they’re going to do so with no lose of face in their culture or any other penalty for acting crookedly, now more than ever. But that’s what I think.

    What does Warren Christopher think?

  4. The Carter Administration attempted a military operation to rescue the hostages. The execution of the mission was a failure and an embarassment. Did Christopher disagree about the need for military action? How did the outcome of that mission affect the bargining position of the Iranians? Can any hostage takers ever be seen as bargining in good faith if there is no genuine threat of force? What role does he think the current Iranian president had in the hostage crisis? Assuming Christopher thinks he was there, what does that say about trusting him in the current nuclear question?

  5. Zbigniew Brzezinski was partly responsible for Jimmy Carter’s “headless chicken” response to the hostage crisis. He saw Islamofascism as a perfect weapon to use against communism. The Brzezinski strategy was partly inspired by Helene Carrere d’Encausse, who, in her book “The Fragmented Empire,” predicted the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a result of revolts by Muslim minorities. When the Islamic revolution started in Iran, Carter and Brzezinski saw it as the confirmation of its assumption that only Islamists could muster enough popular support to provide an alternative to both the existing regime and the pro-Soviet leftist movements.

    Based on this theory, the Carter administration went out of its way to accomodate support the new regime in Tehran.

    Even after the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire, Bzrezinski hates Russia with a passion comparable to Ahab’s hatred of the white whale. In his efforts to kill the whale, Brzezinski is one of the many “hawkish” founders of the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, which supports Chechen Islamists in their war against Russia, even after the Beslan massacre.

    The aspiration of Brzezinski’s Chechen “rebels” include the establishment of an Islamic caliphate under apartheid Sharia law.

    The Brzezinski/Carter strategy of befriending and supporting Salafist-inspired Islamists in an effort to get the commies appears to have been a basis of our foreign policy since 1978. The State Department is still supporing his quest, legitimizing and wooing ‘our’ Islamists in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Chechnya while alienating potentially powerful allies in Russia.

    I guess you could ask Mr. Christopher what he thinks of the State Department’s Ahab-like quest to enforce and legitimize the Brzezinski/Carter headless chicken plan. Does he remember what happened to Ahab and his ship?

  6. Frankly, my opinion of Warren Christopher is so low that I can think of nothing to ask him, as I can think of nothing I want his opinion upon.

  7. bq. Why was the Carter administration’s response to behaviour that had been one of the most clearly recognised acts of war for over three _centuries_ so limp-wristed, confused, and acquiescent?

    *Millennia*, dude. Although “time immemorial” would be more like it. Diplomats were recognized as sacred in the Iliad.

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