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Audio Tape: The Power of False Narratives. Two Case Studies: Tunisia (“The Arab Spring’s Only Success Story”) and Iran (The Myth of “the Iranian Threat”). KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

January 27, 2021

Teheran. 42 years of U.S. plans to overthrow the government of Iran have failed. Key to normalizing U.S-Iranian relations: dissolving the myth of the Iranian threat…

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Audio Tape: The Power of False Narratives. Two Case Studies: Tunisia (“The Arab Spring’s Only Success Story”) and Iran (The Myth of “the Iranian Threat”). KGNU Boulder. Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues Hosted by Jim Nelson. Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

The U.S. government, along with the media and much of academia, accept as “fact” the idea that Iran is “a threat.” In fact the way that the narrative created as to why the U.S. should re-engage Iran diplomatically by returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal – is explained by “limiting the threat.”

Our starting point is that as long as elements of liberal and left America “drink the cool aid” and accept what we refer to as “the myth of the Iranian threat” – peace, be it through the JCPOA process or another one – will be difficult to come by.

The power of myth – what Chomsky refers to as “manufacturing consent” – has never been more pronounced than in the way that “narratives” – ways of explaining reality – are shaped by foundations, the media etc. until they become hard and fast truths., truths that then become the basis of policy decisions with profound consequences. When deconstructed, the legs on which they stand begin to wobble until the whole structure collapses.

Two such “narratives” concerning the Middle East and North Africa (MENA countries) that we want to examine and deconstruct in this program are:

  • The oft repeated asssertion that the North African country of Tunisia is “the only Arab Spring success story”
  • The oft repeated assertion that Iran is “a threat” to Middle East regional stability and not only “a” threat, but the main threat

Looking closely at the origins of these narratives – they often take shape in conservative, right wing think tanks, foundations and academic settings – but before long, in no time more often than not, they are embraced by liberal and left institutional/media thinking as well and as such, come to re-enforce the status quo, with profound consequences.

All that and more – KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues..

 

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