The Russo-Iranian Partnership Poses a Global Threat

Iran’s provision of drones and military advisers to Russia has called international attention to an alliance that has been evident to those paying attention to the Middle East for at least a decade. While putative experts have tended to express doubts about the depth of Tehran-Moscow ties, citing centuries of conflict between tsarist and Persian imperial ambitions, Oved Lobel points out that these ties began with the Islamic Republic’s inception. Nor are they limited to the Middle East: Lobel identifies cooperation between the Kremlin and the mullahs as stretching from Latin America to Africa to Myanmar.

The relationship between Iran and Russia is neither recent nor transactional. This entirely ideological alliance began before the collapse of the Soviet Union, particularly with the division of Afghanistan in the mid-1980s, and it is strange that until this year, the conventional wisdom continued to stress tensions and differences rather than partnership.

The first Russian move following the collapse of the USSR was the massive sale of arms to Iran, despite severe U.S. pressure and a secret mid-1995 pact between then-Vice-President Al Gore and Russian’s then-Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to cut off such sales to Iran by 1999 in exchange for not being sanctioned. In 2007, Iran and Russia signed a deal for the S-300 air-defense system, which was ultimately delivered to Iran in 2016.

During the second intifada, it was via Moscow that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a former Soviet proxy, was able to meet with and secure help from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), ultimately resulting in the Karine A affair, in which a massive arms shipment to Palestinian terrorists was intercepted by Israel. Russia continues to maintain ties with all Palestinian terrorist groups, including IRGC clients and proxies like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Read more at Fresh Air

More about: Iran, Latin America, Middle East, Palestinian terror, Russia

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus