Never be fooled into thinking that because someone holds the title 'Professor'- he or she will be a font of wisdom, knowledge and insight. Just think of Timothy Garton-Ash, Professor of European Studies at Oxford University, who recently wrote that Slobodan Milosevic was the leader of Yugoslavia when Slovenia declared independence in 1991!. Niall Ferguson is another academic who doesn't let little things like facts get in the way of a good argument. Here's an extract from his Sunday Telegraph piece today. You'd think from reading it that Iran has already stated its ambition to develop nuclear weapons. It hasn't. Neither has it made any claim that nuclear missiles are its 'right'; on the contrary, the Supreme Leader of Iran has issued a fatwah prohibiting their development. Still, never mind. Who needs to bother with little things like facts when you're a highly-paid Professor at Harvard and cheerleader for the most powerful Empire the world has ever seen?
'The new American diplomacy will be effective only if the Iranians are left in no doubt: they cannot have nuclear missiles. They are not a "right", as they like to claim, but a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran is a signatory, and a threat to peace. They can renounce them in return for some fat, juicy carrots, or in response to some irksome sticks. But if they press on regardless, they will invite a Clausewitzian response.
The best line in X-Men: The Last Stand is uttered by Sir Ian McKellen, as Magneto. "They wish to cure us," he thunders, "but I say, we are the cure." Many people around the world have wanted to cure the Bush administration of its belief in armed force as a legitimate instrument of policy. But if Iran spurns Condi's carrots and sticks, then the old, pre-mutant Bush will indeed be the only cure.'
As an antidote to Ferguson's obnoxious pro-war propaganda, here's a superb piece from Jonathan Steele on Iran from Friday's Guardian.