One of the things that happen to adversaries in history is that, after a while, they start resembling one another.
This could come in the form of caricature- but it is resemblance, nonetheless.
That human beings learn by imitation is nothing new.
People want what other people want.
People do what other people do. In psychological psychology, this is called mimesis, the common heritage of man and ape.
In the ancient world, Romans and Persians, adversaries for centuries, ended up imitating aspects of each other’s personality. The Romans killed their republic and created a monarchy, in imitation of the Persians.
The Persians set up a professional standing army, in imitation of the Romans.
More recently, the Soviets imitated their American adversaries by going for massive industrialization and a permanent quest for technological progress.
The Americans imitated the Soviets by building a huge military arsenal, something that their ‘founding Fathers’ had always shunned.
Are we now witnessing mimesis at work between the Khomeinist regime in Tehran and the American political elite?
It is too early to tell.
However, some signs of this are already visible.
In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conducted his presidential campaign in American style, complete with whistle-stop events and barnstorming.
His slogan was “We Can!”. Two years later, it appeared in the US in a modified version: “Yes, We Can!” as Senator Barack Obama’s campaign slogan.
Last year, Ahmadinejad participated in a televised town hall-style meeting at Columbia University in New York, imitating Bill Clinton in the early 1990s.
This week, Obama and two other Democrat senators, Joseph Biden and John Kerry, have come out with articles and interviews that show they have learned “taqiyah”, and hope to practice it against the Islamic Republic.
Taqiyah, the old art of dissimulation, is designed to mislead adversaries in hostile environments. You say one thing, but you mean the opposite.
The three senators have a problem.
They know that letting the Islamic Republic build a nuclear arsenal could provide it with an insurance against being attacked at home, thus enabling it to do as much mischief as it likes abroad.
That was what the Soviet Union did after 1955, when, having built its bomb, and assured it faced no attack on its home base; it was able to project power across the globe.
When Soviet tanks rolled into Warsaw and Budapest, Moscow knew no one would dare intervene for fear of provoking “the unthinkable.”
By 1979, it looked as if the USSR might fulfill Khrushchev’s promise of “burying capitalism”, and dominating the world.
The three senators know that their electoral base has no stomach for a fight. Most of the 30 million or so who voted in the Democrat Party primaries are not interested in winning even in Iraq. They want to end the war, not win it.
If Obama came and told them that not dealing with the Islamic Republic now could mean a bigger catastrophe later, they would boo him off the stage. They don’t want to bad news.
At the same time, no serious candidate for the presidency of the US, could pretend that the Khomeinist regime isn’t a problem. Obama tried by suggesting that “tiny Iran” spent only one per cent of what the US devotes on defence.
He had to abandon the argument when people reminded him that US marines equipped with half a million dollar of sophisticated materiel could be killed by $5 roadside bombs smuggled into Iraq from Iran.
What to do when you know you are in danger but you don’t want to fight?
You do taqiyah, and hope for the best. You say you want to talk to Ahmadinejad, and then say, no, not him, but the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi. However, you are careful not to say what you hope to talk about and what it is that you plan to offer in exchange for what.
At the same time, anxious not to be branded an appeaser, you pretend that you would use the talks to undermine Ahmadinejad or his regime as a whole.
The most comical example of this taqiyah made in USA, has come from Kerry. Remember him? The guy who stood for presidency in 2004.
In an article in the Washington Post, he attacks the Bush administration for not wanting to talk to Tehran, although this is false.
In May 2006, Condoleezza Rice issued a public invitation to Tehran for a dialogue without preconditions.
She is still waiting for a reply.
But what does Kerry want to do with his proposed talks?
Clever boy that he is, he does not want to solve the explosive issues that could lead to war between the Khomeinist regime and the US.
Having written 800 words urging talks, he says: “Iran won’t care for what we have to say.”
So, why talk?
Clever Kerry says the talks would expose Iran as a threat with bad intentions.” So the aim is not making peace through negotiations but scoring a propaganda point against Ahmadinejad.
Kerry says: “Engaging Iran will spark three controversies likely to strengthen our position.” Ok, although he does not say what “our position” is or whether the US has any.
According to Kerry, engaging Iran will be used for:
1- Isolating Ahmadinejad within the ruling elite,
2-Isolating the ruling elite within Iran,
3- Isolating Iran in the world.
How is that for taqiyah?
By saying we are for diplomacy we can hoodwink the poor peaceniks of the Democrat Party. At the same time, to reassure those who know, we signal that our real aim is to use diplomacy to de-stabilise the regime in Tehran.
In other words, we pull off a double taqiyah.
Are American peaceniks that naïve? We don’t know.
Kerry must think Ahmadinejad and his Khomeinist colleagues are exceptionally dumb to join an exercise designed to split them, weaken their position inside the country, and put the back of their regime to the wall in the international arena.
One could think of a number of adjectives to describe Ahmadinejad. Stupid isn’t one of them.