We talked with Daniel Hannan, british conservative MEP, about the situation in Iran, the death of General Suleimani, leftist reactions to the events in the Middle East, and the British exit (brexit) from the European Union.
Lets us start with »hottest« topic in recent days. Would you agree that killing of general Suleymani was justified security action? After all he was in charge of Iran sponsored terorisit groups worldwide…
If the commander of a hostile military force is not a legitimate target, it is hard to think who is. Suleimani is the highest-ranking enemy general killed by the US since Admiral Yamamoto in 1943. Frankly, I don’t understand why the Americans don’t do it more often. They have the technology. And striking senior enemy commanders seems to me a far better use of their firepower than hitting ordinary militiamen.
Iranian disidents clamim, that apart of beeing terrorist leader, late Suleymani was butcher of his own people, is this correct?
It is certainly true that Suleimani has killed many more people in Muslim-majority than in the West. The terrorist cells and militias he ran were responsible for terrible suffering, especially in the Arab world – in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. He was also part of the apparatus of internal repression in Iran. No doubt he had his admirers among those who supported the regime. But, as we saw when democracy came to central and eastern Europe in 1989, the supporters of a dictatorial regime are fewer than you might think from watching state-sponsored demonstrations.
So why leftists in the west mourn Sulaymani death and some of them even try to portray him as some sort of hero, example to look upon?
It’s not about Iran for them. It’s about the West. Those commentators who were reporting breathlessly on the demonstrations at Suleimani’s multiple funerals, but who have had nothing to say about the protestst currently taking place in Iranian cities, need to ask themselves some hard questions about what motivates them. They are plainly not interested in the welfare of the Iranian people. Indeed, the Iranian people are just a prop for them, a supporting cast in their domestic drama. Their real target is the West.
Why western »progressives« regularly express their contempt to our civilization and try to find excusses for third world despots and even terrorists? They go so far thet they even blame western civilisation as somehow responsible for terrorist actions…
Yes, it’s a kind of solipsism. Everything is always about us. If people join the Islamic State, it’s our fault. If the Burmese military are persecuting Rohingya civilians, it’s something to do with colonialism. Apart from being obviously and spectacularly wrong, it’s a curiously racist view of the world. People in developing countries are denied agency. Everything they do is supposed to be in response to what we do. And these progressives claim that we are the arrogant ones!
In your recent article on Iran, you pointed out, that with iranian ayatollahs we focus primarly on »islamic« while mostly disregard »revolutionary«, which is equal, if not more dangerous. Can you tell us more about that?
When we think of, say, Osama bin Laden, we tend to imagine a bearded, ascetic figure in a turban. But the far more telling photograph is the one of him as a teenager in flares next to a pink cadillac. Revolutionary Islamism is precisely that – revolutionary. It makes no concessions to past practice, to tradition or, indeed, to human nature. It aims to tear everything down and start again at Year Zero.
Do you think that Iran will go into full scale war with the west? Or Teheran regime will crumble becouse ecconomic sanctions and internal uprising?
My guess is that the Iranian regime will crumble. It has too many domestic enemies: students, human rights activists, communists, monarchists, Sunni muslims, Azeris and other national minorities. It has become, like all dictatorships, corrupt and self-serving. It has lost whatever legitimacy it once claimed – even among its original supporters.
To change the topic and adress antoher important issue. You are MEP for twenty years now, so you have more insight on european politics and relations and EU mechanisms than rest of us. So what coused or what triggered Britons that you decided to leave European Union?
We wanted a single market, not a single government. If the EU had simply been a club for like-minded countries, a forum to co-operate, there would have been no argument, and certaonly no referendum. The problem was that, after Maastricht, the EU decided to go down the road toward statehood. It acquired, one by one, all the trappings and characteristics of a nation-state: a currency, a parliament, a president, overseas embassies, a legal system, external borders, a flag, a passport, a national anthem. As late as February 2016, had David Cameron been able to come back with any return of power, we could have won the subsequent referendum. But, faced with the loss of their second financial contributor, Eurocrats were still unwilling to concede the principle that power could ever be devolved from Brussels to the national capitals.
Cameron cabinet made a paper in which they predict rather grim ecconomic future for Britain in case of brexit. Some »remainers« argued, that even the City may be in jeopardize as many financial companies would leave, »brexiters« on another hand dismis grim predictions as pure negative propaganda, some sort of fabricated »project fear«? What is your oppinion, will post brexit Britain flourish or strugle?
Never mind my opinion. The fact is that Britain, in defiance of all the predictions, has continued to flourish. We have more people in work than ever before in our history, the stock exchange has surged, exports are up, manufacturing orders are increasing and we have attracted more foreign direct investment since the vote than any country in the world except China. The British economy has outperformed that of the eurozone and, now that the trheat of a Corbyn government has been lifted, I expect our growth to accelerate. I of course hope that the eurozone also prospers: we very much want to live next to wealthy neighbours.
Do you think brexit will lead to disentegration of European Union, as some political analysts predict?
Nothing lasts forever. Europe may be around for a long time, but the EU is no more permanent than the Hanseatic League or the Holy Roman Empire. Eurocrats might have responded to Brexit by asking why they had become unpopular, by looking at whether there were any powers they might return to the nations, by seeking to be more modest. Instead, they have done the opposite, grabbing at more power, especially in the fields of military and fiscal integration. I can’t see it ending well.
For the end, on more personal note, can you share your own post brexit plans, after you leave MEP office?
I have always wanted to have a go at teaching. Now is my opportunity.
Thanks for your answers.