Bret Stephens writes a rather disingenuous column promoting the idea of a “dissidents first” foreign policy. It is a cynical argument that focuses only on dissidents that speak out against adversaries, and it ignores that the coercive policies of sanctions that hawks like Stephens support are usually disastrous for political opponents of sanctioned regimes. Near the end of the column, he engages in a shameless drive-by smear of the Biden administration’s new Iran envoy, Rob Malley, as part of the ongoing smear campaign against him:
In that connection, it beggars belief that the White House is reportedly considering former diplomat Robert Malley as a special envoy for Iran. Malley is widely seen as one of Tehran’s premier apologists in Washington; in November 2019 he went so far as to suggest that massive public protests in Iran justified Tehran’s paranoia about an Israeli-Saudi-U.S. plot. A Malley appointment would signal that, on the things that matter most, Biden’s foreign policy will be coldly transactional.
As usual, Stephens’ claims about Malley are obnoxious and false, and his evidence relies on a selectively edited interview that misrepresents Malley’s position. Stephens makes an extremely serious accusation, and then backs it up with nothing credible. That is not surprising, but it should put his supposed enthusiasm for truth-telling dissenters in perspective. Stephens can’t be paying very close attention to the Biden administration if he has failed to notice that Biden’s National Security Advisor has already spoken in support of political prisoners and victims of abusive regimes in several countries, including Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia. Just as he is distorting Malley’s record and words, he is distorting the Biden administration’s views as well.
Several people have explained just how wrong Stephens is about Malley:
The first false claim is based on a strategically-edited clip from a long interview with @Rob_Malley whose words are taken out of context.
From January 18 to February 14, four large billboards are going up around Seattle that proclaim “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal. Get them out of Puget Sound!”
What can this possibly mean? Nuclear weapons may be unpleasant, but what is illegal about them, and how can they be in Puget Sound?
Since 1970, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, most nations have been forbidden to acquire nuclear weapons, and those already possessing them — or at least those party to the treaty, such as the United States — have been obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Red Lines host Anya Parampil speaks with investigative journalist Gareth Porter about his recent piece in The Grayzone which explores the role CENTCOM Chief General Kenneth McKenzie played in escalating tensions with Iran in the final days of the Trump Administration. Porter also discusses the role General McKenzie will have in the Biden Administration as well as the new president’s Iran strategy.
In what is likely the worst humanitarian disaster in the world right now, the U.S.-backed war in Yemen has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. On this episode – in support of the Day of Action calling for an end to the war in Yemen – get an introduction to the history of that horrible civil war, the U.S. involvement, and some timeless advice warnings on entangling alliances from Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington.
As a teenager, I was a news junkie. (That never changed.) I listened regularly to KFWB News radio in Los Angeles. One of their anchormen, Jeff Riggenbach, had a distinctive baritone voice. When I was 19, I was doing a bit of selling marijuana. A friend came to tell me of someone who wanted to buy a pound. I told him to bring his friend by. When the friend arrived and started talking, I said “You’re Jeff Riggenbach!” “I’m aware of that,” he replied.
Over the years I met Jeff over and over at events and homes of friends. In 1978 we were working in the same offices, Jeff at Libertarian Review and me at Students for a Libertarian Society. We became fast friends.
Jeff Riggenbach is a journalist, author, editor, broadcaster, and educator. A member of the Organization of American Historians and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, he has written for such newspapers as the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle; such magazines as Reason, Inquiry, and Liberty; and such websites as LewRockwell.com, AntiWar.com, and RationalReview.com. His books include In Praise of Decadence (1998), Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism (2009), and Persuaded by Reason: Joan Kennedy Taylor & the Rebirth of American Individualism (2014). Drawing on vocal skills he honed in classical and all-news radio in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Houston, Riggenbach has also narrated the audiobook versions of numerous libertarian works, many of them available on Mises.org.
Jeff was a brilliant and creative man. He died at 74 after a long illness. He made the world better and his passage is a great loss. I will miss him very much.