Self-fulfilling prophecy? A letter to the Globe and Mail

In this morning’s paper (Sept. 11), there is a front-page article entitled “Envoys praise Ottawa’s move on Iran: ‘Threat was very real.'”

The general response to this decision of our federal government has been negative; it cuts off the possibility of communication, to say nothing of abandoning the Canadians in prison in Iran, as well as the Iranian embassy staff, who heard about the closing of the embassy on the BBC after our diplomats had left the country.

They, together with everyone else, has been suffering in recent months from an undeclared war between Israel and Iran, a war of nerves. Bomb us? Will they or won’t they? Ordinary (!) bombs or nuclear weapons–which? The diplomats now have a chance to rest their nerves, even if not to save their lives. I’m not blaming them for leaving, but I am holding the government responsible for creating the situation which required it.

Here then is what I wrote to The Globe and Mail in response to that article.

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Of course the Canadian diplomats in Iran supported the government’s decision to close our embassy there (Envoys praise Ottawa’s move on Iran: ‘Threat was very real’–Sept. 11). Israel, together with its American supporters, has been beating the drums of war on Iran for months; and Canada, as “Israel’s best friend,” was going along with what most of the Israeli defence and security establishment regards as insane.

In sum, Canada wants Iran to believe that the threat is real, rather than something which the U.S. government and the sane members of Israel’s government are in recent days trying to pull back from. So if it’s real, then of course the diplomats would want to be out from under the possibility of the bombing of Tehran.

The whole thing has something of the character of self-fulfilling prophecy: if we talk about it long enough and loudly enough, it will happen. My hope, of course, is that sanity will prevail, and our withdrawal from diplomatic relations with Iran will prove to have been an empty gesture.

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