Monday, March 16, 2015

Cotton made a boo-boo, but not the one Nicole Fatow claims

I think this is a gotcha attempt that failed to getcha. I'm no fan of Senator Cotton, but I don't think he meant to say that Iran has conquered Tehran. Here's the offending statement:
Moreover we have to stand up to Iran’s attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana’a as well. They do all that without a nuclear weapon. imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon.
From the context, it is pretty clear that "they" refers to the people currently running Iran, not the country itself. His phrasing wasn't perfect, but if you look at his statement I think it is clear what he meant.

In any case, the thing that bugs me about the above is not Cotton's alleged geographic confusion, it's that he subscribes to the theory that Shia have no agency unless they happen to be Persian. It's absurd. Just because the Iranian regime has sided with or aided a group does not mean they control it. I am really tired of people who simply assume that  Hezbollah, the Houthi in Yemen, the Assad Regime in Syria, the Arab Spring protesters in Bahrain, and the Shia minority in Saudi Arabia each do not have their own interests and agendas.

For some reason the idea that support equals control does not apply to anyone except the Iranians. Actually, if it did that would mean that Baghdad was controlled by both the U.S. and Iran.