Ignorant Iran ‘experts’ just the beginning of Washington’s foreign policy troubles

Ignorant Iran ‘experts’ just the beginning of Washington’s foreign policy troubles ...
rt.com 17/09/2019 Politics

Keywords:#2003_invasion_of_Iraq, #Alavi, #Atlantic, #Atlantic_Council, #Beijing, #CNN, #China, #Donald_Trump, #Iran, #Iranian, #Iraq, #Islamic, #Islamic_Republic, #John_Bolton, #Kyrgyzstan, #Mojahedin, #Mojahedin-e_Khalq, #News, #Pentagon, #President, #Rt.com, #Russia, #Russian, #September, #State_Department, #Swedish, #Tehran, #Trump, #US, #Ukraine, #Venezuela, #Washington

An explosive essay calling out the lack of legitimate expertise about Iran ought to be a wake-up call for the US foreign policy field. Yet the same problem also affects Washington’s analysis of Russia, China and many other places.
Imagine a field of study in which less than a third of the experts had related doctorates, half of them could not read, speak or write the language required, and just as many have never set foot inside the relevant country. Preposterous, you might say – yet scientific observation has shown that this is precisely what the US expertise on Iran looks like, according to an essay by political anthropologist Negar Razavi, recently published in the journal Jadaliyya.
Yes precisely @nargesbajoghli. This is a good opportunity for DC folks who took offense at my @jadaliyya piece on #Iran expertise to do what experts **SHOULD** be doing: Raise questions publicly abt evidence/agenda behind this problematic trope/repeatedly disproven claim. https://t.co/9AixPnIaLP
— Negar Razavi (@razaraz) September 14, 2019
Razavi describes the think-tank culture of DC as “a wider system of knowledge production in Washington – one which has consistently rewarded ungrounded, ideologically driven assessments of the Islamic Republic at the expense of qualified, in-depth, and evidence-based analysis.”
This is her conclusion after two years of “ethnographic fieldwork” in the US capital, attending hundreds of events, following the writings and presentations of think-tank experts, and interviewing over 180 people between 2014 and 2016. In other words, this was a serious academic study.
This culture of “expert impunity” when it comes to Iran has combined with historical and contemporary US grievances against Tehran to produce the current policy of confrontation, in which allegations are treated as unquestioned facts while any nuanced assessments are dismissed as the work of “regime apologists,” according to Razavi.
Your occasional reminder that a couple of years ago @CNN had a contracted Russia analyst who, by all accounts, has never been to Russia and can't speak any Russian. https://t.co/tH2eFIjAbX
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) September 16, 2019
If this sounds familiar, that’s because the problem is not limited to Iran. Though Razavi focused exclusively on the state of Iran expertise, her assessment applies in equal measure to the self-styled experts on Venezuela, or Russia, or China, or the Balkans...
The examples are legion. Razavi herself mentions (though not by name) “Heshmat Alavi,” a supposed expert on Iran who recently turned out to be a construct – an online persona operated by the Iranian exile group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK). This is an outfit that seeks regime change in Tehran, and has been endorsed by former National Security Advisor John Bolton and President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Gordon Chang, who predicted the “coming collapse of China” in a 2001 book, has been embraced by CNN and Fox News alike as an expert on Beijing – despite the obvious failure of his prediction to actually materialize. Likewise, Swedish economic Anders Aslund has heralded the demise of Russia since 2000 – and cashed in his “expertise” with the Atlantic Council and the governments of Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and the Baltic states.
Then there was the never-ending parade of “Russia experts” on cable news shows helping cultivate and propagate the hoax of President Donad Trump’s “Russian collusion” over the past three years, only to see the Mueller Report conclusively quash their fabrications. Have there been apologies? Of course not. As Razavi points out, being an “expert” in DC means never having to admit wrongdoing.
Her essay reveals how actual experts and scholars – who warned against things like the 2003 invasion of Iraq or ‘Russiagate’ – have been been sidelined or smeared time and again, while the think-tank factories churned out false expertise on cable channels and social media. Their takes would then find their way into official papers at the State Department and the Pentagon, morphing along the way into facts that “everybody knows” and no one is allowed to question.
The result of this unholy alliance of tanks and think-tanks has been decades of mis-shapen US foreign policy, with arguably disastrous results – from trillions in squandered treasure to millions of deaths around the world.

--- ---

Read more from Source »

Related articles based on keyword density
Media Scam? Iran and America Join Hands in Waging “The Global War on T...
globalresearch.ca 01/07/2014 Politics
By Prof Michel Chossudovsky Global Research, June 21, 2014 Following the incursion of jihadist rebels of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS...View Details»

hosted.ap.org 24/11/2014 News
BY MATTHEW LEE AND GEORGE JAHN ASSOCIATED PRESS VIENNA (AP) -- Still facing significant differences between the U.S. and Iran, negotiators gave up on...View Details»

Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Cuba Support Each Other in Fight Agains...
newsweek.com 07/09/2019 Economy
By Tom O'Connor On 9/6/19 at 1:30 PM EDT Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Cuba are among the nations that have come out against the United States' use ...View Details»

'Nothing left' if Iran hit Saudi facility: FM Zarif ...
aljazeera.com 23/09/2019 Politics
War of words over Saudi oil attacks with the US continues as Iranian leaders arrive for the UN General Assembly. 23 Sep 2019 18:01 GMT Tensions in the...View Details»

Middle East - Security Council debates ending UN sanctions on Iran ...
france24.com 13/03/2015 News
Major world powers have begun talks about a UN Security Council resolution to lift UN sanctions on Iran if a nuclear agreement is struck with Tehran, ...View Details»