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Mark Steyn – Iran’s Complicated, We’re Complicated, Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

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HH: I’m joined by Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn, who may or may not know that this is the University of Michigan fight song. Mark Steyn, did you know that?

MS: No, I didn’t. I’m somewhat stunned to know the University of Michigan has a fight song. So that’s for when the safe space breaks down, is it?

HH: It is. Well, I want the audience to know that yesterday, after 300 students complained, the University of Michigan cancelled the showing of American Sniper because it was anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and Chris Kyle, the American hero depicted in the movie was a killer. Then Jim Harbaugh, their new football coach, tweeted out Michigan football will watch American Sniper, proud of Chris Kyle and proud to be an American. And if that offends anybody, so be it. And then the University of Michigan put the movie back on. What do you make of this episode?

MS: Well, the thing that I thought was interesting about this, and actually indicated a degree of subtle contempt, I thought, from the authorities, either that or we are just beyond parody here, is that they replaced American Sniper with Paddington Bear, the Paddington Bear movie. Anybody, he’s not so familiar to Americans, but anyone who grew up in the British Commonwealth in the last 60 years knows Paddington Bear, who’s a teddy bear, who’s a stuffed teddy bear, a children’s character, and appears in television and now in this big motion picture. And I think it’s hilarious and actually incredibly logical that if people are going to get, say oh, no, I feel threatened and intimidated by seeing American Sniper, then fine. You watch the teddy bear movie. We’ll schedule Thomas the Tank Engine. We’ll schedule Babe the pig. Oh, wait, no, that would offend all the Muslims, and there’d be a riot. So we won’t have that, but we’ll find some other children’s stuffed character that is safe for you to watch. The logic of the safe space…

HH: I guess Charlotte’s Web is off the list, too.

MS: …is that 23 year old students can only watch Paddington Bear.

HH: They can’t watch Charlotte’s Web, either. We’re back into the pork scene there. We can’t go that way, either.

MS: No.

HH: Mark Steyn, what about the, well, I want to play for you, this is Dick Cheney two days ago on my radio show.

HH: Is he naïve, Mr. Vice President? Or does he have a far-reaching vision that only he entertains of a realigned Middle East that somehow it all works out in the end?

DC: I don’t know, Hugh. I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard. But you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world, reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing. I think this actions are constituted in my mind those of the worst president we’ve ever had.

HH: Mark Steyn, this went to the top of Drudge and stayed there all day long. And they loved the black-hatted Dick Cheney picture. But I think the Vice President was just saying what a lot of people are thinking, which is man, you couldn’t hurt this country more if you wanted to.

MS: No, everywhere I’ve been in the last couple of days, people have played me your Dick Cheney interview and asked me what I thought about it. So I thought I might get a five minute respite here, Hugh, that it would like a safe space from being asked to comment on your Dick Cheney interview. But I’ll say what I said when Sean Hannity played it to me last night, and I said a couple of weeks ago that if Obama were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently? And when you listen to him explain to NPR listeners and other friendly audiences, the logic behind what he’s doing with Iran, what he’s doing is actually, without requiring anything of the government is Iran, is he’s making them a threshold nuclear state, and just as significantly, reintegrating a terrorist state back into the community of nations. And as Dick Cheney was saying, if you try and think of that in terms of the American national interest, there is no conceivable reason why you would want to do that.

HH: Well you see, I think there are two views of what the President could be either Chance the Gardener or the Manchurian candidate.

MS: Right.

HH: And I think what the Vice President was saying is he’s Chance the Gardener who happens to be playing the role of the Manchurian candidate.

MS: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s actually more than that. The Manchurian Candidate was, if you see the original film, the Frank Sinatra/Montgomery Cliff film, which is a great film and not that weaselly remake they did a few years ago where the Manchurian Candidate turned out to be some guy working for Halliburton, more or less…

HH: Yeah.

MS: But if you see the original, the Manchurian Candidate was actually acting unwittingly. I think there’s more to it. I don’t quite buy that this time. I think Obama has a particular view of the world, and his particular view of the world, I think, ends American power and influence in the world. It’s basically Obama has concluded that the post-war era, I mean, really going back to when in the mid-20th Century with Britain in decline and America picking up the slack, Obama has determined to end that 1950 moment. And I don’t know why, but I think it’s intentional.

HH: Now I have adopted the hashtag #dontgoback, because I got up this morning and read that the Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, has said hey, the sanctions come off the first day. There’s no ands, ifs or buts about it. And then the defense minister of Iran came out and said by the way, our military bases are a red line. You don’t get to go there. In other words, drop dead, America, our way or the highway, or hit me again if we go back. There’s no way we should go back, Mark Steyn.

MS: No, I mean, I’ve been writing about this for a long time. About a decade ago, I dusted off the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, 1933, I think it is. And there’s basically most of the things that you need to be recognized as a state are obvious. You need a permanent population, you need a territory, you need a government. But the fourth qualification is the capacity to enter into state to state relations. And that means things like not seizing embassies, not issuing, taking out contracts on foreign nations as they did with Salman Rushdie, and they killed a bunch of his publishers and translators, not blowing up community centers in Argentina for which eventually the former education minister and speaker of the Majlis, the Iranian Parliament, were actually charged by the Argentine government. I mean, that’s like John Boehner blowing up a community center in Slovenia. So Iran does not have the capacity for state to state relations. It fails, and yet Obama said it doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t go into this deal expecting Iran to change. We will now be creating a state that is incapable of state to state relations, and giving it a nuclear bomb. No good will come of that.

HH: Now I would like to know if you’d go into your bedroom, Mark, and take a Twitter photo of your bedside table, because I know that the Montevideo Convention is right there along with the Litvinov Agreement and Smoot-Hawley Tariff right there.

MS: No, actually, I keep the Montevideo Convention next to the sheet music for my disco arrangement of Marshmallow World, Hugh. So it’s an eclectic mix on my nightstand.

HH: I do want that nightstand picture, but I’ve got to play for you the President on Sunday talking with Thomas Friedman, his favorite ever reporter. Here’s the President on complicated states.

BO: Well, I think that it’s important to recognize that Iran’s a complicated country, just like we’re a complicated country.

HH: Now doesn’t that sound like a show tune to you? They’re a complicated country, we’re a complicated country?

MS: I know. Well, this is a bit like when he was asked about American exceptionalism, and he said the Greeks thought they were exceptional, too. You know, everybody’s exceptional, everybody’s complicated.

HH: Yeah.

MS: And this is the relation, Barack Obama’s relationship guide to state to state relations. It’s replaced the Montevideo Convention. You know, it’s complicated. Barack Obama – get along with your terrorist neighbor. Call Barack Obama on his relationship show now. It’s complicated.

HH: Well, it can’t be too complicated, because Marie Harf indicated yesterday if it gets too complicated, we’re going to lose a lot of people. Here’s Marie Harf at the State Department yesterday.

MH: And I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives. I heard a lot of sort of big words and big thoughts in that piece. And those are certainly, there’s a place for that, but I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives about what they would do differently.

HH: You know, Mark Steyn, if she, if big words were, you know…

MS: Well, that’s what Obama meant when he said it was complicated. It’s got too many big words in it for Marie Harf. That’s actually the problem with this whole thing from the beginning.

HH: I know, we’re laughing, but it’s actually tragedy. They’re going to have a nuclear weapon. The Iranians are going to have a nuclear weapon. They’re a fanatical, crazed, end times-driven state.

MS: Yeah, it isn’t actually funny. And the people who prowl through the rubble of our civilization, and if there’s a surviving video copy of Marie Harf’s press conference, they will marvel that we did this to ourselves. I mean, if the big words, if the official spokesperson for the foreign affairs of the United States finds that Henry Kissinger/George Schultz piece too many big words for her to understand, then it’s no surprise we’re in the situation we’re in.

HH: Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World, everything he writes, including the new song to the It’s Complicated, We’re Complicated musical available at, America.

End of interview.


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