Charlie Rose - Final Four, NCAA Basketball / Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett (March 29, 2010)
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(Mar 29, 2010)
Final Four, NCAA Basketball update Jay Bilas, ESPN and CBS Sports & Willie Geist of MSNBC | Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on Iran
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Rose appears to have spent more time preparing for the Final Four segment that preceded the Leveretts interview than for the Iran discussion; with one exception, Rose repeated the talking points that have more to do with Israel than with US - Iran relations; namely, the two great canards that Israel has relied on to demonize Iran since Ahmadinejad's election in 2005: "Ahmadinejad said Israel should be wiped off the map;" "Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust." Rose slipped into full-alpha-male posture as he insisted that Flynt ADDRESS THESE ISSUES! Flynt did not flinch, not a muscle. This viewer would have preferred that Dr. Leverett lambast Rose for repeating nonsense than any self-respecting journalist would know was wrong, but Leverett contented himself with taking Rose to school, patiently explaining that "Ahmadinejad is a very good politician, and while his rhetoric -- on both "Israel's existence" and Holocaust -- does not play well in the West, it serves his purposes among both Sunni and Shi'ia, who seem him as standing up to Israel. (Rose made some reference to Rafsanjani being in opposition to the "power structure" in Iran; Leverett corrected him on that misperception: Rafsanjani and others may have differing agendas, but there is no evidence of deep fractures in the power base; indeed, Rafsanjani told a leadership conference that the "Supreme Leader is the unifying center.")
Hillary Mann said that, as a Jewish person, she is hurt by such statements, but that as a strategic thinker, it is her assessment that Israel's security was better served by ignoring similar rhetoric from Sadat and making peace with Egypt, and that, similarly, and similar to Nixon's engagement with China, Israel's security would be best served by ignoring the rhetoric and making the necessary strategic moves to "turn Iran," to "engage Iran" to achieve a rapprochement.
Flynt Leverett just gets better and better. Hillary Mann Leverett seconds his views usefully.
It would be helpful if US policymakers paid more attention to strategic thinkers like the Leveretts.