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.