Jackson Diehl finally loses his sanity?

What happens to someone when he lives in, and imbibes the air of, the Washington bubble for so darn’ long that he completely forgets what the real world looks like? Well, read Jackson Diehl’s piece in Sunday’s waPo, and you can get some idea.
The guy has completely lost touch with the real world!
His lede (lead) is this:

    The Obama administration’s positive tone following its first diplomatic encounter with Iran covers a deep and growing gloom in Washington and European capitals. Seven hours of palaver in Geneva haven’t altered an emerging conclusion: None of the steps the West is considering to stop the Iranian nuclear program is likely to work.
    Not talks. Not sanctions, even of the “crippling” variety the Obama administration has spoken of. Not military strikes. And probably not support for regime change through the still-vibrant opposition.

Who is he hearing this from?
If it is not the voices inside his own sad head, it must be a small coterie of like-minded people who are all that he talks to these days.
I’ve talked to plenty of people in Washington in the past coupe of days. They have all been– to some degree or another– moderately excited by the outcome of Thursday’s P5+1+1 talks in Geneva and hopeful that those talks might help ramp down the tensions between Washington and Iran, avert war, and lead to a more sensible set of relationships between Washington, Iran, and the rest of the world.
I guess we don’t talk to the same people.
But to be honest, Diehl lost the skill of being a good listener, so essential to the journalist’s art, a long time ago. (According to Ken Silverstein, he lost it a long time ago– certainly at some point before 2002, when he became a rah-rah cheerleader for the necessity and benefits of a US invasion of Iraq.)
But now, it’s gotten so that Diehl hears only the voices inside his own head and those voices of others that he can portray as echoing his own idiosyncrasies.
Six paras into his latest piece, he finally gets to discussing last Thursday’s breakthrough talks in Geneva:

    What of Thursday’s talks in Geneva? Iran agreed to international inspections of its new nuclear facility and to ship out of the country some of the uranium it has enriched. Yet those modest concessions may complicate the negotiations and the prospects for sanctions. The headlines about them already obscured the fact that Tehran’s negotiator declined to respond to the central Western demand: that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment work. Iran has rejected that idea repeatedly, and there is no reason to believe the hard-liners in power will change their position.
    In the meantime, talks about the details of inspections and the uranium shipments could easily become protracted, buying the regime valuable time. (On Friday the Associated Press quoted a member of the Iranian delegation as saying it had not, in fact, agreed to the uranium deal.) Meanwhile, Tehran’s tactical retreat has provided Russia and China with an excuse to veto new sanctions — something they would have been hard-pressed to do had Iran struck an entirely defiant tone in Geneva.

Here you truly see the mind of a paranoiac at work… Everyone’s against us! Non-western powers are never to be trusted! They’re all ganging up on us! Etc., etc…
The sad thing is that Jackson Diehl is not just some individual, unconnected voice on the op-ed page. He’s the deputy editor of the WaPo’s editorial page, and for some reason is regarded as a serious voice on foreign affairs throughout much of he Washington political elite.
I guess the new spirit of realism that has been slowly seeping through official Washington has passed him by. Correct that: not merely passed him by, but actually left him very deeply disturbed indeed. As a result, he has retreated even deeper into some neocon-inspired “American Uber Alles” dreamworld, quite unaware that in reality the fate of the country we both love is nowadays deeply interdependent with the fates of non-western powers like China, Russia, and so on.
Deal with it, Jackson.
Deal with the fact that American citizens, constituting less than 5% of humanity, do not have all (or even most) of the answers for all of humankind and we are no longer able to impose our will on the other 95% in the same way that Pres. G. W. Bush so thoughtlessly and arrogantly did– with your enthusiastic approval– for all the years he was in office.
The world’s changed, Jackson Diehl. It would be kinda nice if either you or the WaPo could recognize that and give the new facts of slightly more equal human powers in the world some due recognition.
It would also be great if you could acknowledge and even welcome the fact that, since Thursday, there is serious new hope for de-escalating the tensions between Washington and Iran, and building a new, less conflict-ridden (and therefore, much more humane) set of relationships in the Middle East and Central Asia.
But I, for one, am not going to hang around and wait for you to come to that relaization. Hanging on the every-last-word of the WaPo and its much-vaunted editorial-page team does seem, after all, so very twentieth century.

5 thoughts on “Jackson Diehl finally loses his sanity?

  1. bevin

    It would be interesting to see an argument against the proposition that this man, (and the many others like him who bear a considerable responsibility for, what now add up to about half a dozen, wars of choice) is exceedingly culpable and, objectively, extremely evil.
    In the passage quoted he is urging war against the people of Iran.
    Why is it that people who act in this way do so with impunity?
    Or, do we hold it to be simply a matter of opinion whether or not to attack a civilian population- not something to which blame ought to be attached but an entirely legitimate way of thinking.
    Would it be considered legitimate for me to publish an article on the benefits likely to arise from a cruise missile attack on London?
    Suppose that I were to suggest cutting all electrical power in Alabama: would that be an acceptable contribution to social discourse?
    You are quite right to entertain fears for the mental health of this person. But surely the fact that his ravings pass, otherwise unremarked upon, in one of the United States’s major papers is even more significant.
    The sad thing is that, if he is paranoid, he contracted the ailment on Capitol Hill. Where both he and his extremist ideas are accepted and acceptable.

  2. Shirin

    What of Thursday’s talks in Geneva? Iran agreed to international inspections of its new nuclear facility…
    This was no “concession”. Iran had agreed to inspections of the Qum facility before Obama did his big dramatic “reveal”. It pretty much had to agree to that when it reported the facility to the IAEA days before Obama “revealed” the existence of the “secret” facility.
    Obama has been grandstanding like mad over this manufactured crisis, and of course the media have been following along panting eagerly and tails wagging.

  3. Doug

    I think Bevin’s comment is spot on!
    The underlying problem to my mind is simply the poison of ‘Imperialism’ – the universal disease throughout history, that infects the rich and powerful. The US, I believe, is infected root and branch with this complex hydra-like monster who’s venom seems to have the ability to addle the minds and hearts of those who drink into its kool-aid – to the point where reality is only understood in terms of its own single minded agenda.
    I personally do not believe that the reality based community in the US (those such as Helena and millions of others) have yet fully grasped the size, depth, subtlety, and yes, shear evilness of the monster they are wrestling with. Or how its subtle slimy tentacles have co-opted even the more noble and positive aspects of US life to it’s own ends.
    (Sorry if I sound anti-American, I’m not – I’m an anti-imperialist – it’s just that it seems obvious to me that the US has been or has now become the primary expression on the earth, of the very heart and head of this complex evil beast. My prayers are with the American people as they seek to slay the creature.)

  4. epppie

    Absolutely – Obama has been grandstanding like mad, pursuing a mad war policy, trumpeting false and distorted accusations, deliberately pushing Iran deeper and deeper into a corner where Obama claims that Iran has now made ‘commitments’ which we hear it must adhere to ‘or else’ – but Iran has made no commitments beyond what it was already making – it has long been committed to the IAEA process and to the NPT. Iran will be forced to prove a negative, same as Iraq, and then this will become an excuse for a war taht is totally vicious and immoral, even more so than the Iraq War.
    Obama-Apologists like Helena continue to pave the way towards war with their optimistic bs, which continues to tie the peace movement up in knots of self-delusion. What a job to have.

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