Guardian’s Simon Tisdall fears Romney’s belligerence (& Israel’s obsessive fears) may push U.S. to war

Simon Tisdall

His moral instincts are so refined, so sophisticated, and so unburdened by conventional thinking that he was able to see past the  universal enmity towards Sudan’s tragically misunderstood leader, Omar al-Bashir, charged with genocide for acting with intent to destroy non-Arab ethnic groups in the Darfur region.

Al-Bashir’s unimaginably bloody campaign resulted in up to 400,000 dead and resulted in 2.5 million refugees. 

Here’s the money quote from Simon Tisdall’s Dec. 27, 2010 apologia for Omar al-Bahsir.

“ostracised by western governments, [and] makes an easy target. America always needs bogeymen and Bashir fits the bill: big, bothersome, bad-tempered, black, Arab and Muslim.”

That final sentence should be placed in a museum of intellectual thought as a perfect representation of the Guardian Left’s capacity to synthesize anti-Americanism, post-colonialism and a perverse understanding of anti-racism in order to defend the morally indefensible. 

Such background should help partially contextualize Tisdall’s latest “analysis” of the foreign policy implications of the American elections, “You’ve been Romney-ed! Obama must beware of GOP foreign policy vortex“, Jan. 15.

Tisdall’s broad argument is that Obama should keep to his principles and not be pushed unwillingly into a regional war with Iran, as both the result of a political pressure (to be more hawkish and, thus, win re-election) from Mitt Romney’s increasingly confrontational and belligerent foreign policy positions regarding Iran – pressure partially caused by “Israel’s obsession “with eliminating the Iranian threat.”

Tisdall blames Romney for his “uncompromising hostility to the Tehran regime” – such as his support for an “increase [of] US military presence around Iran, stepped up covert warfare, support for Iranian opposition groups, and beefed up military co-operation with Israel” – which, he argues, would play right into Netanyahu’s hands.


All this must be highly encouraging to Netanyahu, who does not get on with Obama, is obsessed with eliminating the Iranian threat, and fears Obama would use a second term to pursue a more forceful regional peacemaking agenda, on Palestine as well as on Iran. For Iranian leaders, pondering war or peace, it must all seem highly provocative.

In this passage Tisdall demonstrates his moral divide: a militaristic Israel which fears the specter of a “peacemaking agenda”, and is irrationally obsessed with the Iranian threat, versus an Iran (“pondering war and peace”) which understandably views such American and Israeli belligerence as “provocative”.

Tisdall’s empathy for the legitimate concerns of the Mullahs in Tehran, and condemnation of Israeli measures meant to thwart the Iranian threat, represents pretty much conventional wisdom at the Guardian.

Such moral reasoning has included:

  • A Guardian editorial warning Israel against saber-rattling against Iran, and arguing that the Jewish state should just learn to live with a nuclear armed Iran (Iran, bolting the stable door, Nov. 9).
  • Saeed Kamali Dehghan’s warning against covert actions by the West and Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes, which will “ruin any chance of dialogue with Tehran” (The covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous, Jan. 11).

Of course, strangely missing from any of these essays and editorials warning about the dangers of provocative acts by Israel and the US is any mention that Iran’s military is not only already engaged in routine belligerence acts, but routinely foments terrorism around the globe, and engages in proxy wars as a component of their foreign policy aims of exporting their Islamist revolution.

Iran is widely recognized as the world’s leading state sponsor of international terrorism.  Both directly and indirectly, Iran funds, trains and arms groups that share the regime’s stated goal of destroying Israel and the West, as well as overthrowing moderate Muslim regimes. Groups who have received the Islamic Republic’s largess include Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas. 

Iran also provides support to Islamist insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have inflicted casualties on American, British, Australian and other multinational forces.

In fact, Iran is attempting to expand its terror network beyond the Middle East, using Hezbollah and splinter groups of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to recruit and train sleeper cells in foreign countries.

The manner in which Tisdall and his Guardian colleagues almost uniformly contextualize the regional tension in a manner which frames Israel and the West as the warmongering aggressors and Iran as the victim of such (imperialist) aggression represents another instructive example of Guardian Left ideology.

The anti-imperialism which inspires such moral inversions, and informs their journalistic activism, is one of the more salient factors in properly understanding the institution’s near universal lack of moral sympathy for the Jewish state and the very real dangers the country faces.

The Guardian’s anti-Zionism doesn’t occur in an ideological vacuum and, as such, their coverage of the Iranian nuclear issue should necessarily be seen as part of their broader perverse understanding of what stances their “liberal” political package demands. 

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