I Europe and the U.S. bow and scrape to ascendant Iran.
By DANIEL HENNINGER
Wall Street Journal Jan. 27, 2016
Some wonder how history will treat Barack Obama’s presidency. That depends on who writes the histories.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s account will fist-pump the Iran nuclear deal as the central foreign-policy event of the Obama presidency, a triumph for Western diplomacy.
But news photographs in recent weeks are producing a different history. These photos document the abject humiliation of the West by Iran. Americans who plan to vote in their presidential election should look hard at these photos, because the West’s direction after this will turn on the decisions they make. (Photos are shown in the Wall Street Journal article)
Recent obvious embarrassing humbling of the West occurred in Rome’s Capitoline Museums, a repository of art dating to Western antiquity. Out of what the government of Italy called “respect” for the sensibilities of visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the museum placed large white boxes over several nude sculptures, including a Venus created in the second century B.C. Then, because Mr. Rouhani will not attend a meal that serves alcohol to anyone, the nominally Italian government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi declined to serve wine.
They did so for the same reason that beggars grub change in front of Rome’s churches. Freed by the Obama nuclear deal with Iran, Italy’s tin-cup businesses signed about a dozen deals with Mr. Rouhani this week, totaling $18 billion.
The bowing and scraping to Mr. Rouhani continues this week as France and Germany sign more deals. This is not economic re-normalization. Rather than reform its weak, politically unstable economies, Europe is content to make itself a dependency of the aborning Iranian empire.
The second photo of Western submission (shown in Wall Street Journal article) depicts what appears to be a glee-filled meeting between the president of Iran and the leader of the world’s Catholics, Pope Francis, who gave Mr. Rouhani 40 minutes of his time. The Vatican argues this is realpolitik by a pope trying to protect Christians in the Middle East by inducing Iran to play an “important role” in the peace process.
Set aside the “role” Iran has played in the death of a quarter-million Syrians and the refugees now destabilizing Europe. One still may ask: Why the Pope’s public and jolly photo-ops with this person?
The U.S. State Department’s religious-freedom report says in 2014 Iran executed at least 24 individuals for the crime of moharebeh (enmity against God). And surely that understates the total killed.
The persecuted in Iran include Bahais, Sunni Muslims, Christians (notably evangelicals), Jews, Yarsanis and even Shia groups.
Mr. Rouhani is grinning in this photo because he knows these people can’t move Iran’s culture out of the 16th century.
The third photograph is of 10 sailors from the U.S. Navy who are kneeling in rows, hands on their heads, on the deck of an Iranian boat.
The Obama administration hasn’t provided an explanation for how this “deviation” and capture by Iran in the Persian Gulf happened.
Instead of outrage over Iran’s treatment of the sailors, Sec. Kerry praised the Iranians’ “cooperation and quick response.”
Cooperation? Iran humiliated the sailors by making them kneel in the style of an Islamic State execution ceremony and then humiliated the U.S. by releasing that photo.
Meeting in a congratulatory ceremony with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members who took the sailors, Iranian supremo Ayatollah Khamenei said, “This event should be considered God’s work.”
One is tempted to tip one’s hat to the Khamenei-Rouhani strategy team. Iran took the West’s measure with its nuclear brinkmanship and the West bent.
Some may say the Italians are the Italians, the pope has his reasons, and Barack Obama and John Kerry are just finishing their apology tour. But that understates the long series of political compromises and cultural surrenders that have brought the U.S. and Europe to this point.
Italy’s repudiation of its own heritage to accommodate Iran’s president is a significant symbolic event. The Capitoline’s Venus isn’t just a naked lady carved out of marble. Just as the naked man and woman in Masaccio’s “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden,” painted in 1423 at the dawn of the Renaissance, are hardly figure studies.
In her recently published book arguing a relationship between the Western artistic legacy and democratic evolution, “David’s Sling,” Victoria Gardner Coates says these works “are not isolated aesthetic objects; part of their value as historical evidence derives from their role in the public life of the communities that produced them.”
Unless that public life is forgotten. Western schools may no longer teach the Battle of Thermopylae, but one may assume Hassan Rouhani knows the details of Persia’s historic loss to brave Greece in 480 B.C. as if it were yesterday.
Putting a white box over a Venus to placate a Rouhani is a loss in the Persians’ return trip to the West.
II Iran flies unarmed drone over US warship to take ‘precise’ photos as part of an ongoing naval drill in the Persian Gulf, state TV reported.
By Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell
Associated Press in Palm Beach Post, Jan 28, 2016
A US navy commander called the drone’s flight ‘abnormal and unprofessional’
The US navy confirmed an Iranian drone flew near the French carrier Charles De Gaulle and “directly over” the American carrier USS Harry Truman on 12 January, while the vessels were in international waters in the Persian Gulf.
Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the US navy’s 5th fleet, said the navy did not fire on the drone because it was unarmed and posed “no danger to the ship” as the carrier was not conducting flight operations. Commander Stephens called the drone’s flight “abnormal and unprofessional”. He added that the US navy was “not in a position to verify the authenticity of the video as there are countless examples of similar footage to be found on the internet.”
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Islamic Republic’s navy, called the drone flight “a sign of bravery”. He told state TV it “allowed our men to get so close to the warship and shoot such a beautiful and accurate footage of the combat units of the foreign forces”.
The reported drone surveillance comes after Iran’s navy began naval drills over a 1.16-million-square-mile area, including parts of the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Iran said on Wednesday its navy warned a US warship to leave an area of the naval drill – the US navy later denied its operations were affected by the drill.
Tensions remain high after a series of naval incidents between Iran and the US in the greater Persian Gulf, including test rocket fire by Iran near US warships and its brief capture of American sailors who drifted into its territorial waters.
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