Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Iranian FM talk

Yesterday the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Mohammad Zarif spoke at my university to a packed auditorium consisting of Canberra diplomats, public servants and scruffy university students. My IR friends had got me to book a ticket with them well in advance so I got to hear him. He was a very eloquent speaker and handled all the provocations attempted at him by pro-westerners very tactfully.

Two things that interested me were: 1) when asked about IS, he strongly alluded to US support for them. I think most of the audience missed it because of their censoring bias, but I picked that up several times during his talk.

The second was his worldview in general. Sergey Lavrov, the Russian FM wrote an excellent article recently that gave me some insight into his thought as well. The difference in their evaluation ability in comparison to that of our western leaders, is that they have an erudite view of history.

The fact that our crop of politicians not only ignore but actively dismiss any lessons from history explains why mistakes get repeated again and again. Lavrov and Zarif both have an innate understanding on their countries' place in time and space, and are able to learn from previous history and extrapolate patterns into the future. Such analytical thinking is abjectly missing on our part.

Needless to say, he was a politician worth his salt and puts Hague/Kerry/Bishop and all of them to shame. I can't think of a single western diplomat who could impress a crowd as much as him (even a crowd in a western university), which says a lot about our choice in leaders.