Ignatieff on Iran - Macleans.ca

Ignatieff on Iran

The Liberal leader tries to explain his position on peace in the Middle East


Ignatieff on IranThe Liberal leader tries to explain his position on peace in the Middle East.

“Iran has to understand that the international community is united on the proposition that you can’t deny the Holocaust, and you can’t threaten any of your neighbours, and certainly not the Jewish state. And that means the Iranian government has to be aware that those feelings, those views, are backed up with appropriate military force… so they are backed up by credible deterrents.

“But I think it’s legitimate… to say no thoughtful Israeli and no thoughtful Iranian, in my view, wants this to come to conflict, and it would be a catastrophe for both sides.

“Canada has always stood for peace. So … Canada has to stand essentially for three things: unequivocal condemnation of Holocaust-denying rhetoric [and] anti-Israeli rhetoric by the Iranian regime; commitment to credible military deterrence; commitment to demanding that Iran comply with the International Atomic Energy Association in respect of its domestic nuclear program. And as Canada has always said, there are no military solutions in this region.

“At the end of the day, Iran is a great power. Israel is a legitimate democratic state. There are no ultimate military solutions to these problems. There has to be some kind of opening of the doors, in which Israel and Iran eventually sit down and live in peace with each other.”


Ignatieff on Iran

  1. Ignatieff seems to be channeling Clement Attlee instead of Winston Churchill.

  2. Iggy has been learning how to speak in platitudes, that’s for sure. I don’t even know where to start on how asinine Iggy’s statements are. I don’t know how ‘thoughtful’ they are but Iran’s leaders would like nothing better than to push the Jews into the sea and Bibi is saying that Israel will take care of Iran’s nuclear program if US doesn’t. And Canada hasn’t always ‘stood for peace’, it’s only been that way since Libs decided it was better for Canadian military to be eunuchs than fighting force.

    • The only item about this article that inspires me is that I doubt it will make us look bad on the global stage as I doubt that any leader of the oppsotion in Canada gets any real press .. unless it’s from some of the ol homies from Haaaavaaaad! Me thinks this speech is damage control to some of the frustrated left wing nut crowd out there that think he is too close to Stevie boy on the israel file –

    • So, you think there really IS a military solution to the tensions between Israel and Iran? What, pray tell, would that be? Ignatieff isn’t saying Israel shouldn’t defend itself. He explicitly notes as important “credible military deterrence” (which I read as “I don’t have a problem with the fact that Israel has nukes”). My impression is that Ignatieff is a man who’d come out in favour of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. However, he’s simply acknowledging that there is no military solution to the tensions between Israel and Iran.

      If you’ve got a way to militarily remove Iran as a threat to Israel for all time, then tell the Israelis. Personally, short of nuking the whole country into oblivion, I just don’t see it. And I’m quite certain that Netanyahu has no intention of razing Iran to the ground.

      • I think Jews/Muslims are implacable enemies in the Middle East and there is no ‘solution’, military or otherwise. I am just tired of these milquetoast pols saying things like “backed up with appropriate military force” and “no thoughtful Israeli … wants this to come to conflict” and “There are no ultimate military solutions”. That’s as clear as mud as far as I am concerned. Take a position, for god’s sake.

        • OK, I’m a little unclear here. You’re saying there is no solution, period, but you don’t want anyone to say that out loud?

          How can you go from saying “There is no solution to this problem” to “I wish politicians would stop saying there is no [particular type of] solution to this problem? What position do you want Ignatieff to take, for God’s sake? That there IS a military solution to this problem or that there is no solution to this problem, period? Should he take a stand that there is an easy answer, or should he take a stand that there’s no answer whatsoever?

          Am I missing something?

          • Get some tin foil, form it into a hat then wear it. Then you’ll understand.

          • Yeesh, anyone would think jwl was a veteren from the boer war the way he goes on about us being eunuchs under the liberals. How many American adventures of consequence have we sat out – other than the insane ones ie., Vietnam and Iraq jwl? Get over it, we aren’t going to be the 4th largest military in the world anymore.

  3. So how can he claim that we need a credibile military deterrence, and in the very next sentence, claim that there is no military solution in the region?

    • Needing military power to deter your enemies from attacking is one thing, thinking military power can eliminate your enemies is another.

      NATO needed a nuclear deterrence to keep the Soviets in check, but I don’t think anyone ever seriously considered that firing our nukes would solve our problems with the Soviets. “Military power is needed as a serious and credible deterrent” and “Military power can’t solve a complex problem” are not remotely mutually exclusive propositions.

      • “thinking military power can eliminate your enemies is another.”

        Why? I can think of many wars where one side won, the other side lost and the losing side was entirely subdued or eliminated. The problem is that Canada/Western Nations have no desire to do what would be necessary to defeat its enemies.

        • Well, as I said, don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge that Israel could nuke Iran back to the stone age, I just don’t think it’s a VIABLE option.

          Which previous war would you say provides the best analogy to how Israel could remove the threat from Iran militarily?

          • What I don’t understand is why Americans/Israelis don’t go after Iran’s oil extraction industry. Iran does not supply oil to US, or it’s a negligible amount, so why not go after the sole industry that provides the wealth for the mad mullahs to destabilize the Middle East. Or Western nations could occupy Iran and let the democratic minded Iranians take over and see what they can do. Or, this is the most far fetched idea, but see what pressure Saudi Arabia and Egypt can bring to bear on Iran because they hate one another.

          • Well, I certainly like how among:

            1) Attack and destroy Iran’s oil industry.
            2) Invade and occupy Iran, and
            3) Get Saudi Arabia and Egypt to put pressure on Iran,

            that you think option 3 is the most far-fetched.

            I think option 1 would really just hurt the people of Iran, not the mullahs; I don’t think ANYONE has the stomach to invade and occupy another country in that region these days (and it’ll happen to Pakistan before Iran); and, unless you’re suggesting that we get Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ATTACK Iran, then I don’t think that counts as a “military solution”.

          • “unless you’re suggesting that we get Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ATTACK Iran”

            That’s what I was thinking but didn’t erase ‘pressure’ for ‘attack’ before I hit submit comment.

            “option 1 would really just hurt the people of Iran, not the mullahs”

            Depends on how close the mullahs are being to be toppled. Oil money might be the only thing propping up the leadership and removing their sole source of income might be enough to bring them down.

            I find Iran to be entirely beguiling: the mad mullahs are in charge but there is a strong undercurrent of people wanting more democratic country. I read Reading Lolita In Tehran a couple of years ago and it just made me think US/West should be doing much more to encourage Iranian democrats because they do exist.

          • Well, I’ll give you this jwl, I certainly agree that the people of Iran seem much more disposed to the West, and much more likely to try to topple a weakened regime than, say, the people of Iraq or Afghanistan. However, we still live in the universe where Iraq and (though apropos to a lesser degree) Afghanistan happened, so I’d say there’s basically 0% chance that people in the West could be convinced “Trust us, if we just topple Iran’s government the people will rise up and support us”. It may even be true in this case, but one can only play the “we’ll be greeted as liberators” card so many times, and I’m afraid that card has lost its cache.

            I certainly wouldn’t necessarily object to trying to get Saudi Arabia and Egypt to attack Iran, but as you say, perhaps not that likely, and also, perhaps not a great idea. Also, if they won, I’m not sure I’d be all that much more pleased with an Iran ruled by Saudi Arabia, than with the current regime. It seems to me that Saudi Arabia, as friendly as their royal family may be to us, are not exactly exemplary examples of “keeping terrorists in check”. Don’t forget where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from.

        • You mean, like, no desire to commit genocide? Yeah, we’ve turned into such cissies, haven’t we. Bring back the good old days! Kill ’em all! Muaahahahahahha!

          You’re a fool, jwl, did you know that?

  4. I read “there are no military solutions in this region” pretty much the same way I read “we’ll never defeat the insurgency”, and I think they’re both largely true in the context in which those statements were made.

  5. I confess: whenever Aaron posts anything on Ignatieff I read the first sentence of an Iggy quote and start typing. I mean everything the man says is contentious: Iran’s military budget is $12 billion, or about three fifths of Canada’s. Scary, I know, but you are forgetting about their photoshopped “missiles”.

    Anyhow, the suggestion that a country with the aforementioned military currently rationing fuel and other commodities might pick a fight with nuclear armed Israel and nuclear armed USA is surreal, wrapped in Dadaist, inside of absurdist. America and other nations threaten each other all of the time, even if we are to take the most twisted interpretation of the Iranian president’s words, so I don’t see the problem there. And we don’t invade countries that deny the holocaust, Mr. Ignatieff, no matter how repugnant; whether we like it or not The Protocols and other antisemitic tracts still sell millions of copies around the globe and it simply isn’t feasible to nuke them all.

    “At the end of the day, Iran is a great power. Israel is a legitimate democratic state.”

    I might put that the other way around. Israel is a corrupt unicameral police state, has no constitution, is explicitly theocratic, has no trial by jury, violates human rights and international law by the score, has a press that is vetted and censored by the military, and is not recognized by many countries around the world.

    Ahmadinejad was elected, by verifiable paper ballots, in a free and fair election. Iran has a constitution, rule of law, a media I would argue is better by far than Canada’s, and relations with virtually all other countries. Some parties were banned from running in their last election, but that is not different from Israel or Canada. Unlike Israel’s president, Ahmadinejad hasn’t been indicted for rape.

    I am no friend of Iran, or of Ahmadinejad, but facts are facts, or “satire”, I’m starting to lose track here…

    • Moshe Katsav (the guy who was indited for rape) is no longer the president of Israel. Iran is easily more theocratic than Israel. Freedom of the press as we know it does not exist in Iran, and their media is certainly not “better by far” than Canada’s. “Facts are facts”, indeed.

      • Cheerfully withdraw the first point, acknowledge the second, and insist that you are wrong on points three and four, I had IRNA bookmarked for a while when it looked like war was about to start, it is excellent, much better than Canada’s equivilent, and I swear I’m not joking here.

        Besides, it was all an elaborate ploy to get you to respond to the substance of my comment for once, gotcha!

    • I tried to post a reply about how that was a substantive, and not at all troll-like post LEV, and that while I still think it’s a somewhat “crazy” post, that I appreciated that fact (not “appreciated” in terms of “thanks”, which would be condescending, but “appreciated” in terms of “understood” – i.e. that I acknowledge that not all your posts constitute “troll” behaviour, though I maintain that many have). However, that reply didn’t get through (I think I used one of your other pen names which has been blocked in the reply).

      Hopefully this reply will get through!

  6. Iran is not a great power, it’s a nothing country. Iran nuking Jerusalem is about as likely as Iran building a giant statue of Allah getting buttsex from George W Bush.

    And legitimate democratic countries don’t spend decades annexing bits of their neighbours.

  7. Remind me again why the Libs picked Iggy over Rae?

    • He hasn’t trashed an economy yet. Oops, how did that con talking point get in there?

      • wayne … busily taking notes sending cc to con troll talking point headq.

  8. Man…it must be uncomfortable with that fencepost wedged up there so tight.

  9. In the CJN Interview, Ignatieff says this to explain away his 2002 reference to ‘Bantustans’:

    because all citizens of Israel have equal rights.

    This isn’t entirely true, as shown by the case currently before the Israeli Supreme Court on the marriage and citizenship law which denies Arab Israeli citizens the right to have their spouses live with them and become citizens should the spouses come from the occupied territories or a ‘hostile’ Arab country.

    It’s a race-based law, as made clear by Ministry of Justice lawyers who thus defended the law being challenged in court: “”The State of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.”


  10. ‘Canada has to stand essentially for three things: unequivocal condemnation of Holocaust-denying rhetoric [and] anti-Israeli rhetoric by the Iranian regime; commitment to credible military deterrence; commitment to demanding that Iran comply with the International Atomic Energy Association in respect of its domestic nuclear program. ”

    Iggy is doing an amazing job of shredding any goodwill people (like me) who didn’t like him (or the way he got to be leader) gave him in an effort to pull the Liberal Party together.

    I’d like hear less Holocaust denial. At the same time – I’d like to hear less of Zionists (and certain western politicians) wrapping themslves in it. While there is no doubt in my mind that approx. 6 million Jews died as a result of purges in WWII – there were huge numbers of gypsys and homosexuals that suffered the same fate at the same time…and millions of Russians (estimates of up to 30 million) under Stalin. And since then, we have had Rwanda, and Sudan and…so many more…and damned politicians have stood by and said – give me the legal definition of genocide again please…..


    As for Iggy and his waving the Nuclear weapon enbargo – until Israel gives up the estimated 50 it has (illegally) in its arsenal – do you really think any of its Arab neighbours are going to play ball with that order!


    • No-one’s made a cottage industry of denying all those deaths you mention – except the holacaust. That’s one of he reason’s it’s unique, although we have had similar events since. Whether you agree with Israeli policy or not, they are the only functional democracy in the region, and we do have historical/religious ties. In light of this, your last point makes no sense at all. If Israel were to give up her NW’s tomorrow, do you seriously think other regional parties will follow suit? Would you bet your existance on such a flimsy hope? I do believe, however the kind of intolerance shown to critics of Israel, and the kind of blind ,dumb loyalty that Harper has advocatd is not in anyway helpful. Iggie’s being sensible – as long as he doesn’t try and stifle debate like some in ths country, i’m fine with him – so far.

      • Ah, Wabbit. Jason Kenney just called. Do you know where you’re dog is ?

        • Your. I hate that.

  11. I think Iggy has it right. However he will pay one hell of a price from Toronto Star opinionists Haroon Siddiqui and Linda McQuaig.

  12. Iran if necessary, but not necessarily Iran.