Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Communications / RFE/RL In The News

Esfandiari Examines Iran, Ahmadinejad's UN Speech On 'The John Batchelor Show'

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the UN, the recent "first-ever behind-the-scenes portrait” of Ahmadinejad on NBC and Iran’s growing unease about the protests in neighboring Syria were among the topics RFE/RL correspondent and "Persian Letters" blogger Golnaz Esfandiari discussed during a live interview on the Thursday, September 22 edition of “The John Batchelor Show”. Responding to questions posed by host John Batchelor and co-host Malcolm Hoenlein, Esfandiari noted that the demand for change demonstrated in the 2009 Green Movement protests remain, in spite of the brutal government crackdown that has forced Iran’s opposition movement to go underground.

Listen to the interview here; the conversation with Esfandiari begins at the 30:30 mark of the program.
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Comment Sorting
by: Christopher Rushlau from: Portland Maine USA
September 28, 2011 18:03
Batchelor's opening for this episode describes Abbas' bid for Palestinian membership in the UN as a "ploy", and Batchelor tells us his co-host is head of the conference of major US Jewish organizations.
If RFERL sends its reporters to appear on this show, I take it they also appear on Hamas and Hizbullah broadcasts?
Is that a "yes"?
I will assume, not wanting to listen to Dr. Esfandiari's examination of corruption-riddled Iran nor the learned Mr. Oran, that you went to Batchelor in order to toe the party line that says the 2009 election in Iran did not reflect the will of the people.
The case is similar to Syria. The fact that civil rights are not respected as carefully in Iran or Syria as they are in the US (where, ironically, nobody in the middle class uses them) does not mean that these former two regimes are not popular, nor that they are not under external attack.
That distinction between regime and public is more in play in Yemen, where it appears (this sounds hysterical of me but one must be prepared to believe the worst) that the Al Qaeda quarry is part of the anti-terrorist regime that the US and Saudi Arabia have been supporting. And arrayed against these two domestic forces are the vast majority of the Yemeni people. That leaves Saudi Arabia on its merry way to female suffrage along with ten lashes for driving while female, and the US as the undisputed Super-Failed-State?
It is one thing to flout the principles of democracy ("who cares what the people want?") in your boardroom or studio. It is another to bet, over and over again, in US statecraft that this simply does not matter.
You may be led to this nonchalance by your experience of US politics, where the people's representatives, down to the municipal level, have proven themselves willing to betray the public trust for the sake of foreign intrigues that hasten the descent into global anarchy. But it only takes a few million US people to betray the Constitution. That few million are irrelevant in the broader scheme of things internationally.
A dim historical example might make this point clear to you. It was not FDR who beat Hitler, nor was it Stalin. It was the Russian public. That public defeated Hitler in spite of Stalin.
Chinese support the current Chinese state. Do you dispute it?
You might even grant that the US public overwhelmingly distrusts the US state.
The problem you face is in your concept of law, the voice of justice. Law is a well-written paragraph. If the thesis is not clear, the evidence not effective, or the significance not forceful, the law is without effect. (Mortimer Adler's three criteria of argument) If all the judges in the land declare some inanity to be the law, the law is without effect at large. If all the broadcasters shout out this judicial result, the law remains without effect. If it is not reasonable, it is not the law.
Why was Esfandiari on Batchelor's show? Does RFERL follow a fairness doctrine? No, I won't go listen to it. As soon as Batchelor made his opening remarks, Esfandiari should have left the studio. It would have been unseemly for him to engage the hosts in open controversy. That is not his job in the government. Neither is it his job to lend a smeared patina of legitimacy to racism and corruption by participating in a jingoist broadcast (that isn't even jingoistic for the US!).

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