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Herb London: Post-Structuralism In Talks With Iran

 If one relies on recent accounts in the news, we are all post-structuralists now. Post structuralism was a response to the structural intellectual movement that human culture can be understood in logic and language. Post-structuralists are skeptical of human science accepting relativism and obscure phenomenology as its method. As post-structuralists see it, objective conditions only reveal the superficial dimensions of human behavior.

Several years ago it was revealed that the conditions described in RigobutaMenchau’s work, which resulted in a Nobel Peace Prize, was fraudulent. The condition she described didn’t exist. One might assume an embarrassed Ms. Manchu would apologize. However, in the post -tructuralist world, she said that even if the report was inaccurate, these are events that might have occurred.

At Duke University members of the lacrosse team were accused of raping a woman of dubious repute at a team gathering. Although the claims of rape were unproven, a significant number of faculty members rushed to judgment with accusations against the students. After DNA testing demonstrated beyond a doubt that sexual encounters had not occurred with players or the team, the faculty members in question maintained - based on their assessment of class, gender and race - that it is an act that could have occurred.

In an event startlingly similar, a Rolling Stone article that attributed a case of rape at University of Virginia, led to a variety of campus decisions, including the closing of fraternities. It was argued that the woman, about whom the article was written, was gang raped at a fraternity party. Days after the article was published and the administration responded, the contentious fell apart. The story turned out to be a fabrication. Did the president of the university recant? Did the faculty members who rushed to judgment apologize? Of course, neither occurred.

Arguably the most recent example of post-modernist thinking resides with President Obama. In his State of The Union address the president said, “Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material.” By any standard, this statement is false, yet the president and his spokesman badly needed them to be true. So they pretended they were true.

In order to keep negotiations alive, President Obama accepted the Joint Plan of Action that allowed Iran to continue making sustained progress along its uranium and plutonium tracks with no restriction on ballistic missile development. Rouhani-Iran’s president and negotiator – greeted this news as the “right to enrich.” In fact, he boasted that Iran would continue to bolster its nuclear program “forever.”

Post-structuralist Obama’s denial is reminiscent of a comment Khrushev made to Nixon: “If people believe there’s an imaginary river out there, you don’t tell them there’s no river there. You build an imaginary bridge over the imaginary river.”

Despite a world President Obama would like to see, reality intrudes. The Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard stated the position of his terrorist nation clearly, a position the president has chosen to ignore. He said, “There are only two things that would end enmity between us and the U.S.  Either the U.S. president and E.U. leaders should convert to Islam and imitate the Supreme Leader, or Iran should abandon Islam and the Islamic revolution… I do not know why some people believe that some day we will make peace with the U.S. and start relations with them.”

The post-structuraist view is predicated on what you want to believe. Curiously, rather than face reality, many would prefer the fantasy, even detesting the truth tellers. As George Orwell noted, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”  

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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