FrontPage today features an interview with the magnificent Iranian activists Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi and her husband Elio Bonazzi.
FP: In what ways do you think that the West fails to understand Iran?
BZB & EB: We usually refer to the concept of “cultural imperialism” to explain the failure of most Westerners to understand not only Iran, but also the East in general. Cultural imperialism is the approach for which there is only one way of doing things; that is the Western way, which considers it to be the most advanced, the most civilized, and the most efficient. In the mind of Westerners there is only one way to engage other nations and this way usually implies some sort of economic benefit, in the best case for both participants, in the worst case only for the Western entity, be it a nation, a company or even a cultural institution. The western mentality is fundamentally based on rationality and economic utility, summarized in the notion of “homo economicus”. That notion prevented the nuclear holocaust during the Cold War, because the Russians belong to the same culture, and as the pop singer Sting so eloquently expressed it, “They also love their children.” So even when it became evident that the USSR had lost the cold war, the Russians resisted the biblical temptation of having Samson die with all the Philistines, and decided not to engage in the final conflict, which would have meant the destruction of the planet.
In many occasions, Westerners assume that everybody in the world shares their standard behavior; basically they project their mentality onto all counterparts. And here is where, in the case of Iran, they dramatically fail. The Islamist establishment that unfortunately today governs that country is not interested in making the best possible deal with the West. Its only interest is the destruction of the infidels and their corrupt world.
While in the West the act of engagement is absolutely neutral, and doesn’t imply giving in, but simply to sit down and negotiate, in the mentality of the mullahs to engage basically means that the counterpart proposing engagement feels weak, and tries to beg for a deal from an inferior position.
Don’t fail to read it all.