Transcript: Christopher Hitchens on The Axis of Evil | Apr 09, 2005

Christopher Hitchens stands on a podium with a banner that reads "Centre for American Studies at the University of Western Ontario."

Christopher is in his forties, with short tousled gray hair and a scruffy salt and pepper beard. He's wearing a gray suit and gray polo shirt.

He says I APOLOGISE FOR MY SLIGHTLY
HEZBOLLAH APPEARANCE.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues BUT I WAS TOLD IN MY RECENT
VOYAGE TO IRAN THAT THE MORE
SCRUFFY I LOOKED, THE MORE
PLAUSIBLE I WOULD APPEAR, AND
THE EASIER IT WOULD BE TO GO TO
THINGS LIKE FRIDAY PRAYERS, AND
IT SO PROVED.
IT'S A COUNTRY FOR THE SCRUFFY.
IT'S MY KIND OF MIDDLE EAST.
BY GOING TO IRAN, A COUNTRY I'D
HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY GETTING A
VISA FOR, FOR MANY, MANY YEARS,
I THINK I'VE BECOME THE ONLY
PERSON WHO HAS, SINCE THE YEAR
2000, BEEN ON THE GROUND IN
NORTH KOREA, IN IRAQ AND IN IRAN.
IN OTHER WORDS, I MAY NOW HAVE
A STUMP SPEECH THAT I CAN GO
AROUND GIVING.
THIS IS MY PROTOTYPE FOR IT, AS
A NATTER OF FACT, WHY I
SUGGESTED THAT WE MIGHT DISCUSS
THIS FAMOUS QUESTION OF THE
AXIS OF EVIL AND WHAT IT MEANS,
OR WHAT DIFFERENT THINGS IT
MIGHT COVER.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Christopher Hitchens. Journalist. Axes of Evil. University of Western Ontario. March 8, 2005."

Christopher continues UM,
BUT I WANT TO BACK UP A LITTLE,
TO ABOUT A DECADE AGO, PERHAPS
A LITTLE MORE, THE MID '90s,
AND BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA AND
KOSOVO, WHERE I ALSO SPENT SOME TIME.
I'VE NEVER ACTUALLY ADDED UP THE
EXACT NUMBER OF DAYS, BUT
LOOKING OUT AT YOU NOW, IT
STRIKES ME LOOKING OUT AT YOU
NOW, THAT A LOT OF YOU ARE
TERRIFYINGLY YOUNG, AND MAY NOT
EVEN REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE
TO LIVE IN THE LAST MONTHS OF
1989, OR NOT REMEMBER IT VERY
CLEARLY, BUT FOR THOSE OF US OF
MY AGE, AND EVEN QUITE A LOT
YOUNGER, THE SENSE OF HUMAN
EMANCIPATION THAT OCCURRED WITH
THE COLLAPSE OF THE BERLIN
WALL, AND THE IMPLOSION OF THE
OSSIFIED FORM OF RUSSO-
COMMUNISM THAT HAD BEEN IMPOSED
ON EASTERN AND BALTIC EUROPE,
AND SOME OF BALKAN EUROPE, THAT
SENSE IS SOMETHING I CAN VERY
VIVIDLY CALL TO MIND.
I WAS IN ROMANIA AT THE TIME IT
ACTUALLY HAPPENED, WATCHING THE
OVERTHROW OF THE CEAUSESCU
REGIME, WHICH WAS PERHAPS THE
MOST BRUTAL AND CORRUPT, AS
WELL AS THE MOST UM...
THE ONE THAT WAS MOST CENTRED
ON A CULT OF PERSONALITY.
AND IT WASN'T JUST THAT IT WAS
EXTRAORDINARY TO SEE SO MANY
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN SO MANY
DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND
SOCIETIES...
SIMPLY BY FOLDING THEIR ARMS
AND ADOPTING AN ATTITUDE OF
DEFIANCE, REVOLUTIONISING AND
CHANGING THEIR SYSTEM.
IT WASN'T THAT IT WAS SO MOVING
TO SEE THAT, IT WAS THE
REALISATION THAT THE COLD WAR
WAS OVER IN THE OTHER WAY, TOO.
THAT IT WAS QUITE LIKELY NOW
THAT WE WOULD NOT HAVE TO THINK
EVERY DAY OF THE POSSIBILITY OF
A MISTAKE OR A CRIME, OR A
BLUNDER LEADING TO WHAT WAS
EUPHEMISTICALLY CALLED IN MY
HOME TOWN OF WASHINGTON, D.C.,
A NUCLEAR EXCHANGE.
IMAGINE THINKING OF A THERMO
NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST AS AN
"EXCHANGE."
BUT THAT WAS THE WAY WE TRIED
TO MAKE THE THOUGHT GO AWAY.
IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY PERIOD.
AND IN THOSE DAYS, SOME OF YOU
WILL REMEMBER, AND YOU CAN LOOK
IT UP, THERE WAS TALK OF A
PEACE DIVIDEND, OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF TRANSFERRING THE
ENORMOUS RESOURCES THAT WE HAD
BEEN PUTTING INTO WARFARE, INTO
PEACEFUL PROJECTS AND INTO
DOING SOMETHING ABOUT THE REAL
VICTIMS OF THE COLD WAR, WHO
WERE THE INHABITANTS OF THE
COUNTRIES WE USED TO CALL THE
THIRD WORLD.
THAT THERE WOULD BE, POSSIBLY,
A NEW INTERNATIONALISM, A NEW
COMITY INTERNATIONALLY, A NEW
RENUNCIATION OF FORCE, SOME
SPARE MONEY, AND A COMMON
FEELING THAT THE VALUES OF
PLURALISM AND DEMOCRACY WERE
WORTH HAVING FOR THEIR OWN
SAKE, AND HAD SO TO SPEAK,
PROVED THEIR WORTH IN
IDEOLOGICAL COMBAT AGAINST BOTH
FASCISM AND STALINISM.
IT WAS A BLISSFUL TIME TO BE
AROUND, I TELL YOU.
THAT'S NOVEMBER THE 9th, CALL
IT -- THAT'S THE DAY THE BERLIN
WALL FELL.
CEAUSESCU FELL, ACTUALLY, NOT
UNTIL CHRISTMAS DAY, CHRISTMAS
EVE IN BUCHAREST.
SO THAT'S THE END OF 1989.
THE 2nd OF AUGUST, IN 1990,
SADDAM HUSSEIN INVADED KUWAIT.
ACTUALLY IT'S NOT RALLY
STRICTLY TRUE TO SAY HE INVADED
KUWAIT, HE ANNEXED KUWAIT.
HE ANNOUNCED THAT KUWAIT WAS
PART OF IRAQ.
HE DID SOMETHING THAT HAD NEVER
BEEN TRIED BEFORE, ABOLISH THE
EXISTENCE OF A MEMBER STATE OF
THE UNITED NATIONS, A FELLOW
MUSLIM STATE, AND MEMBER OF THE
ARAB LEAGUE -- QUITE AN
EXTRAORDINARY THING TO HAVE DONE.
AND AROUND THAT TIME, SLOBODAN
MILOSEVIC TRIED TO IMPOSE THE
IDEA OF A NATIONAL SOCIALIST
GREATER SERBIA ON HIS
NEIGHBOURS IN FIRST SLOVENIA,
AND THEN CROATIA, AND THEN,
MOST HEINOUSLY IN BOSNIA-
HERZEGOVINA, AND THEN IN KOSOVO.
AND SUDDENLY IT HIT ME.
I SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN PART OF
THIS NAIVE CHORUS ABOUT THE END
OF HISTORY AND THE PEACE
DIVIDEND.
I HAD SOME RESERVATIONS ABOUT
IT, WHICH I PUBLISHED, BUT I
HAD SHARED IN THE GENERAL
OPTIMISM.
OF COURSE WE WERE NOT YET OUT
FROM UNDER THE RULE, OR THE
DANGER THAT POSED BY
PSYCHOPATHIC DICTATORSHIP.
SO I HAD TO SPEND A LOT OF
TIME, FIRST IN NORTHERN IRAQ
AND KURDISTAN, THEN IN SARAJEVO
AND MOSCOW, WITNESSING WHAT
HAPPENS WHEN DICTATORS ARE
ALLOWED TO GET THEIR WAY.
AND THE SHAMEFUL THOUGHT THAT
ONE HAD ABOUT IT, IN BOTH
CASES, THE CASES OF SADDAM
HUSSEIN AND SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC,
THEY HAD BEEN ALLOWED TO GET
AWAY WITH THE IMPRESSION THAT
THEY WERE THOUGHT OF BY WESTERN
DEMOCRATIC SOCIETIES AS ALLIES,
EVEN SOMETIMES AS CLIENTS, OR
IF ONE COULDN'T GO QUITE THAT
FAR, AS NECESSARY PARTNERS FOR
NEGOTIATION.
AND IN FACT, MILOSEVIC, I
REMEMBER BEING CALLED BY THE
CLINTON ADMINISTRATION, "A
PARTNER IN PEACE" IS WHEN HE
CAME-- HE DEIGNED TO COME TO
SIGN THE DAYTON ACCORDS WITH
UM... DON'T LET ME FORGET HIS
NAME, MR. CLINTON'S NEGOTIATOR,
RICHARD--
HOLBROOKE, THANK YOU.
UM... ALTHOUGH MR. HOLBROOKE
HAD TO GRANT MILOSEVIC
IMMUNITY FROM PROSECUTION TO
LAND ON AN AMERICAN AIRFORCE
BASE, AND THIS IMMUNITY WAS
GRANTED TO HIM.
I FELT THAT WAS A MOMENT OF
SHAME, AND I BEGAN TO EVOLVE
THE FOLLOWING VIEW OF IT.
CO-EXISTENCE WITH PSYCHOPATHIC
DICTATORSHIPS IS, IN FACT, NOT
POSSIBLE.
AND THAT IS A GOOD THING,
PROBABLY, BECAUSE IT--
NOR IS IT DESIRABLE.
TWO OR THREE YEARS AFTER
MILOSEVIC HAD BEEN CALLED A
PARTNER IN PEACE AT DAYTON, ONE
OF HIS OTHER CONDITIONS, AS
WELL AS NOT BEING ARRESTED, WAS
THAT THE NAME KOSOVO NOT BE
MENTIONED IN ANY OF THE
CONVERSATIONS, THAT THE SUBJECT
NOT BE BROUGHT UP.
THAT WAS ACCEDED TO AS WELL BY
THE ADMINISTRATION SO EAGER TO
DECLARE A PEACEFUL VICTORY.
HE HAD TO BE IN EFFECT EVICTED
FROM POWER IN HIS OWN COUNTRY,
JUST AS THOSE WHO HE HAD
EVICTED FROM THEIR HOMES IN
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA AND KOSOVO,
HAD TO BE FORCIBLY TAKEN HOME,
AND HIS ETHNIC CLEANSING
UNDONE.
IN ALL THE YEARS THAT WERE
SPENT IN TRYING TO CONTAIN, OR
EVEN TO COERCE OR TO CIVILISE
DOMESTICATE THIS MAN, HAD BEEN
WASTED.
THEY HAD, IN FACT, ALL BEEN
EXPLOITED BY HIM TO ADVANCE HIS
PROGRAM, HIS MAD IDEA OF A
GREATER SERBIA.
AND THE SAME HAD BEEN TRUE
EVERY TIME PEOPLE HAD EVER
TRIED TO MAKE NICE WITH SADDAM
HUSSEIN.
IT SEEMED THAT HIS APPETITE FOR
POWER ONLY GREW WITH THE
EATING.
AND THEN IN A COUNTRY, THAT
MOST PEOPLE HADN'T BEEN
THINKING ABOUT, IN RWANDA, A
RACIST PARTY DECIDED THAT IT
COULD BRING ABOUT A FINAL
SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF ITS
RACISM, NAMELY THE
EXTERMINATION OF THE MEMBERS OF
THE OTHER TRIBE, AND OF THE
MEMBERS OF ITS OWN TRIBE WHO
WERE AGAINST GENOCIDE.
AND THEY KNEW, BY THIS STAGE,
THEY KNEW THAT THEY COULD DO
THIS WITHOUT THE DANGER OR EVEN
THE THREAT, OR THE RISK OF
FOREIGN INTERVENTION OR ANY
RESISTANCE TO THEIR PLANNED
PROGRAM OF EXTERMINATION, AND
THEY WERE RIGHT.
AND MEANWHILE IN NORTH KOREA,
THE WAR THAT NEVER STOPPED --
NORTH KOREA IS STILL OFFICIALLY
AT WAR WITH THE UNITED STATES.
WE ARE ONLY IN AN ARMISTICE
PERIOD, A PERIOD OF ARMISTICE
THAT WAS--
I SAY WE, YOU'LL PARDON ME --
THE UNITED STATES IS ONLY IN A
PERIOD OF ARMISTICE AND ARMED
TRUCE WITH NORTH KOREA, EVER
SINCE THE ARMISTICE OF 1951.
IT SEEMED THAT YET ANOTHER
STATE OF THE ONE PARTY AND THE
ONE MAN AND THE ONE IDEOLOGY,
WANTED TO BECOME GRANDER STILL
BY THE ACQUISITION OF WEAPONS
OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
I DON'T NEED TO TELL YOU HOW
THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN
COMPLETELY CONSUMED BY THIS
QUESTION, AND HOW TO ADDRESS
AND APPROACH IT.
AND I'LL GIVE YOU, IF I MAY,
GIVE YOU THREE BRIEF CAPSULES,
FIRST FROM IRAQ, AND THEN FROM
NORTH KOREA AND THEN FROM IRAN.
I THINK THE WAY I WOULD WANT TO
PUT IT, ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERE IN
SADDAM HUSSEIN'S IRAQ, THE WAY
THAT IS MOST MEMORABLE TO ME.
I WILL HOPE WILL BE MEMORABLE
TO YOU, TOO.
IF YOU GO TO EL SALVADOR, SAY,
OR SOUTH AFRICA OR POLAND OR
THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA, YOU CAN
MEET PEOPLE WHO WERE HEROIC
MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITION IN
THE BAD OLD DAYS, AND THEY CAN
TELL YOU TERRIBLE STORIES ABOUT
WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM AND TO
THEIR FAMILIES.
BUT WHAT I NOTICED ABOUT IRAQ
WAS NOT JUST THAT EVERY IRAQI
AND IRAQI KURD THAT I KNEW
COULD TELL A TERRIBLE STORY
ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO
HIMSELF OR HERSELF OR THEIR
FAMILIES, BUT EVERYBODY I KNEW
WHO HAD BEEN A MEMBER OR
SUPPORTER OF THE GOVERNMENT
COULD TELL THE SAME STORY OF
HOW THEIR FAMILIES HAD
DISAPPEARED OR HOW THEY,
THEMSELVES HAD BEEN ARRESTED
FOR NO REASON AND BRUTALLY
TORTURED.
I KNEW, FOR EXAMPLE, QUITE
WELL, A MAN CALLED MAZEN
ZARHAWI, HE WAS SADDAM
HUSSEIN'S PERSONAL INTERPRETER
IN ENGLISH, HE SPOKE ENGLISH
FAULTLESSLY.
HE WAS HALF KURDISH, AND HE WAS, I
THINK, 100 percent GAY, WHICH IS A
RISKY POSITION ALREADY TO HAVE
IN SADAM'S IRAQ, AND HE
PRIVATELY PRODUCED A TAPE OF
THE PLAY OF "THE IMPORTANCE OF
BEING ERNEST" WITH HIMSELF IN
THE PART OF LADY BRACKNELL.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues A REMARKABLE CHAP, AND ALWAYS AT
THE SIDE OF THE LEADER, BUT
UNFORTUNATELY, HAD TO BE AT THE
SIDE OF THE LEADER, WHEN, AFTER
THE INVASION OF KUWAIT, FOREIGN
LEADERS FLEW INTO BAGDAD TO
REPROACH MR. SADDAM HUSSEIN, TO
UPBRAID HIM, TO URGE HIM TO GET
OUT OF KUWAIT WHILE THERE WAS
STILL TIME TO OBEY THE
RESOLUTIONS AND TO AVOID A WAR.
MANY OF THEM SPOKE TO HIM
RATHER BRUSQUELY, AND SADDAM
HUSSEIN DOESN'T LIKE BEING
SPOKEN TO BRUSQUELY BY ANYBODY.
NO MAFIA CHIEFTAIN WILL BE
INSULTED IN FRONT OF HIS
UNDERLINGS.
AND THOSE WHO WERE IN THE ROOM,
WHO'S HAD TO SEE IT HAPPEN,
NAMELY THE INTERPRETER, I
THINK, MUST HAVE KNOWN AT THAT
MOMENT THAT THEY WERE GOING TO
DIE, BECAUSE THEY HAD SEEN
SOMETHING THAT THEY WEREN'T
SUPPOSED TO SEE.
AND THOUGH EVERYONE HAD KNOWN
ALL THE TIME THAT MAZEN WAS
KURDISH AND GAY, IT HADN'T BEEN
HELD AGAINST HIM PARTICULARLY,
HE WAS TOO USEFUL.
SUDDENLY IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT
THESE THINGS MADE HIM A
TRAITOR, AND HE WAS TORN TO
DEATH-- TORN TO PIECES IN A
DUNGEON IN WAYS THAT I WON'T
BOTHER TO DETAIL TO YOU.
ANOTHER FRIEND OF MINE, NAJI
SABRI AL-HADITHI, THE LAST
FOREIGN MINISTER OF SADAM'S
IRAQ, WHO I'D MET ORIGINALLY
WHEN HE RAN THE IRAQI CULTURAL
CENTRE IN LONDON -- HE ROSE TO
BE CULTURAL MINISTER BY MEANS
OF BEING THE EDITOR OF THE
BAGDAD DAILY, WHICH WAS A JOB
OF HIS IN THE MEANTIME.
ONE OF HIS BROTHERS WAS
AMBASSADOR TO MOSCOW FOR IRAQ,
WAS RECALLED FROM MOSCOW,
TORTURED TO DEATH WITH NO
CHARGES, NO EXPLANATION,
NOTHING EVER SAID, AND THE
FOREIGN MINISTER'S OTHER
BROTHER WAS RECALLED FROM
ANOTHER POST AND TORTURED NOT
QUITE TO DEATH, AND HE WENT OUT
TO BE SADAM'S FOREIGN MINISTER
AS A BROKEN MAN.
HE WENT OUT TO REPRESENT THE
MAN WHO HAD MUTILATED HIS
FAMILY.
PSYCHOPATHIC, SADISTIC
DICTATORS LIKE TO DO THIS TO
PEOPLE.
THEY LIKE TO SHOW WHO'S BOSS.
PEOPLE OFTEN USE THE WORD
SYSTEMATIC WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT
REPRESSION OR ABUSE OF HUMAN
RIGHTS, THEY SAY THESE THINGS
ARE SYSTEMATICALLY ABUSED.
OF COURSE THAT'S THE CORRECT
WAY OF UNDERSTANDING IT, BUT IT
MISSES A CERTAIN POINT.
IT MUST BE UNSYSTEMATIC ALSO,
IT MUST BE CAPRICIOUS, IT MUST
BE UNPREDICTABLE.
NOBODY MUST KNOW THAT THEY'RE
SAFE.
NOBODY CAN THINK, I NOW HAVE
PASSED ALL THE TESTS THAT MAKE
ME A LOYAL MEMBER OF THE BA'ATH
PARTY, I'M GOING TO BE ALL
RIGHT.
THEY WILL NEVER BE ALLOWED TO
GET TO THAT MOMENT.
THE FEAR, THE REPUBLIC OF FEAR,
AS MY FRIEND KANAN MAKIYA
DESCRIBED IT IN HIS BRILLIANT
PROFILE ABOUT THIS.
IT MUST ALWAYS BE MAINTAINED.
FOR EXAMPLE WHEN SADAM --
THERE'S EVEN A VIDEO OF THIS.
YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU WANT.
WHEN HE PURGED THE PARTY, HE
HAD THE ROOM FULL OF THE
CENTRAL COMMITTEE, PROBABLY
ABOUT AS FULL AS THIS ONE IS,
AND THEN SOMEONE IS BROUGHT IN
TO MAKE A CONFESSION, AN
OBVIOUSLY BROKEN PERSON, WHO
SOBS A CONFESSION INTO A
MICROPHONE, STANDING THERE
HAGGARDLY AND STARTS READING
OUT A LIST OF THE NAMES OF THE
TRAITORS WHO ARE IN THE PLOT.
AND THEY ARE IN THE AUDIENCE,
AND THEY ARE POINTED TO, AND
THE GUARDS COME AND TAKE THEM
AWAY, ONE BY ONE.
AND NOBODY IN THE ROOM KNOWS IF
THEY'RE ON THE LIST YET
THEMSELVES.
PEOPLE BEGIN TO WEEP AND SCREAM
AND CRY, AND MAKE HYSTERICAL
DECLARATIONS OF LOVE AND
ADULATIONS FOR SADAM HUSSEIN,
EVEN AS THEY'RE VOMITING AND
EXCRETING WITH FEAR.
AND THEN IT'S OVER, AND THE
ONES WHO ARE IN THE PLOT HAVE
BEEN DRAGGED FROM THE ROOM, AND
THEN THE VIDEO COMES TO AN END.
AND THEN THERE'S A SECOND HALF,
WHICH I HAVEN'T SEEN.
IT'S HARDER TO GET -- THAT THE
PEOPLE WHO SURVIVED, THEN HAVE
TO GO OUT INTO THE COURTYARD
AND SHOOT THEIR FORMER
COLLEAGUES WHO WERE FOUND TO BE
PART OF THE CONSPIRACY.
THAT'S A DETAIL THAT, AS KANAN
MAKIYA SAYS, NEITHER STALIN NOR
HITLER EVER THOUGHT OF DOING
THAT.
THAT'S A SPECIAL TWIST, A
DETAIL, AN EXQUISITE ADDITION,
IF YOU LIKE, FOR SHOWING WHO'S
IN POWER, AND FOR MAKING AN
ACCOMPLICE OF EVERYONE WHO
SERVES YOU, FOR DIRTYING THEM
UP, AS THE MOBSTERS WOULD SAY.
I DON'T TELL YOU THIS BECAUSE
I'M INTERESTED IN THE
PORNOGRAPHY OF DICTATORSHIP,
THOUGH I AM, I TELL YOU THIS,
BECAUSE I COULD FIND PEOPLE ALL
OVER WASHINGTON, D.C. WH WOULD
NONETHELESS SAY TO ME, WELL,
SADAM MAY BE A BAD GUY--
BY THE WAY, ANYONE WHO STARTS A
SENTENCE SAYING THAT, YOU KNOW
RIGHT AWAY, KNOWS AND CARES
NOTHING ABOUT IRAQ.
SADAM MAY BE A BAD GUY, THEY
WOULD SAY -- AND I HOPE NONE OF
YOU HAVE SAID IT, AND I HOPE IF
YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAYING IT FROM
NOW ON, YOU'LL CHALLENGE IT.
HE MAY BE A BAD GUY, THE
ARGUMENT WENT ON, BUT HE'S A
REALIST, HE UNDERSTANDS
CONTAINMENT, HE UNDERSTANDS
SELF-PRESERVATION, HE
UNDERSTANDS SELF INTEREST.
NOT SO, NOT SO AT ALL.
IT'S QUITE EVIDENT TO ME, AND
TO ANYONE WHO TASTED WHAT THE
ATMOSPHERE OF IRAQ INSIDE WAS
LIKE, AND HAVE SEEN THE MASS
GRAVES AND HEARD THE STORIES,
THAT HERE WAS A MAN WHO WAS
QUITE OBVIOUSLY DELUSIONAL, AND
WHO HAD, AROUND HIM, FOR
REASONS THAT MUST BE OBVIOUS TO
YOU BY NOW, IF THEY WEREN'T
BEFORE, NO ONE WHO WOULD TELL
HIM HE WAS MAKING A MISTAKE.
FOR HIM TO INVADE KUWAIT WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY MISTAKE.
FOR HIM TO REFUSE TO GET OUT,
THINKING HE WOULD GET AWAY WITH
IT, SHOWED THAT HE MUST HAVE
LOST CONTROL OF HIS SENSES.
HE WAS VISITED-- OR HIS FOREIGN
MINISTER WAS SUMMONED, RATHER,
BY JAMES BAKER JUST BEFORE THE
COALITION INTERVENTION BEGAN,
TARIQ AZIZ WAS HANDED A NOTE IN
VIENNA, I BELIEVE IT WAS, OR
PERHAPS ZURICH.
HE WAS TOLD, SINCE YOU'RE NOT
GOING TO LEAVE KUWAIT, WE'RE
GOING TO THROW YOU OUT.
YOU'VE RUN OUT YOUR CLOCK.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL.
IF YOU DO ANY OF THREE THINGS, WE WILL
CONSIDER OURSELVES FREED FROM
ALL MILITARY RESTRAINT, AND
EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT THAT MEANS
WHEN THE UNITED STATES SAYS IT.
WE'LL DENY OURSELVES NO COURSE
OF ACTION -- ANY ONE OF THESE
THREE THINGS.
IF YOU SET FIRE TO THE KUWAITI OIL
FIELDS OR TRY TO DESTROY THE
KUWAITI OIL INDUSTRY ON YOUR WAY
OUT, IF YOU DO THAT, OR
SABOTAGE IT, WE WILL CONSIDER
OURSELVES NOT BOUND BY U.N.
RESOLUTIONS.
IF YOU USE INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM AGAINST US, AND TRY
AND OPEN A SECOND FRONT OF THAT
TYPE, THE SAME APPLIES, AND IF
YOU USE CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL
WEAPONS ON OUR FORCES.
NOW WE DON'T KNOW, I, AT ANY
RATE, DON'T CLAIM TO KNOW WHAT
THE GULF WAR SYNDROME THAT
AFFECTS SO MANY SOLDIERS
ACTUALLY IS, BUT IT IS
CONSISTENT WITH AT LEAST THE
POSSIBILITY THAT SOME LOCAL
COMMANDERS OF SADAM HUSSEIN'S
WERE ALLOWED TO, ENABLED TO,
PERMITTED TO USE THOSE WEAPONS
IN THE FIELD.
IT'S NOT TO BE EXCLUDED.
I WON'T SAY IT CAN BE ASSERTED.
IT'S WORTH BEARING IN MIND.
IT IS BEYOND DOUBT THAT ON HIS
WAY OUT OF KUWAIT, WHEN HE HAD
NOTHING TO LOSE, AND NOTHING TO
GAIN, QUITE POINTLESSLY,
VICIOUSLY, SADDAM HUSSEIN
ORDERED NOT JUST THE IGNITION
OF THE OIL FIELDS, BUT THE
SMASHING OF THE HEADS OF THE
OIL WELLS SO THAT THE OIL WOULD
RUN STRAIGHT INTO THE GULF,
WHICH IT DID.
IT WAS THOUGHT, AT ONE POINT,
THAT IT WOULD TAKE TEN YEARS TO
CLEAN IT UP.
AND IT DESTROYED ALMOST ALL THE
MARINE AND BIRD LIFE OF THE
AREA, AS WELL AS CAUSING AN
APPALLING CONFLAGRATION THAT
RAGED FOR SEVERAL MONTHS
BEFORE, AND THIS WILL DEPRESS
SOME OF YOU, IT WAS PUT OUT BY
HALIBURTON, BY KELLOGG BROWN
AND ROOT, ROBERT RATHER MORE
QUICKLY THAN THAT.
SORRY TO BREAK THE NEWS, BUT
THERE IT IS.
AND UM...
THE FOLLOWING YEAR, WHEN GEORGE
BUSH MADE A VISIT TO KUWAIT,
GEORGE BUSH SENIOR, MADE A
VISIT TO KUWAIT, TO CELEBRATE,
AS IT WERE, THE ANNIVERSARY OF
THE LIBERATION, AN IRAQI DEATH
SQUAD WAS CAUGHT RED HANDED
TRYING TO KILL HIM.
IMAGINE IF THEY HAD SUCCEEDED.
SO THAT YOU HAD A DICTATOR, WHO
WAS ACTUALLY INSANELY AND
OBSCENELY RASH.
AND WHOSE MOVEMENTS COULD NOT
BE PREDICTED, AND WHOSE SENSE
OF SELF-PRESERVATION WAS
EXTREMELY FRAGILE, AND WHOSE
HOLD ON REALITY HAD LARGELY
GONE.
AND IT WAS FOR THIS REASON, AND
FOR HIS CONTINUED INTEREST IN
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION AND
THE SPONSORSHIP OF TERRORISM,
THAT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IT WAS
LONG OVERDUE TO REMOVE HIM FROM
POWER, AND THAT THE YEAR TO
HAVE DONE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN
1991.
AND IT'S A SHAME AND A DISGRACE
TO THE CIVILISED WORLD, IN MY
OPINION, THAT IT ALLOWED
CONTINUED COEXISTENCE,
CONTINUED SURVIVAL TO THIS
REGIME, AND WASTED A DOZEN
YEARS OF THE LIVES OF THE IRAQI
PEOPLE WHICH WERE CONSUMED BY
THE LOCUST.
BUT I DARE SAY PEOPLE WILL WANT
TO ASK ME ABOUT THAT.
WHEN I WENT TO PYONGYANG IN
NORTH KOREA AND STARTED
TRAVELLING AS FAR AS I COULD
OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL CITY,
THOUGH NO JOURNALIST HAS EVER
BEEN ALLOWED TO GO OFF ON THEIR
OWN, IN NORTH KOREA, AND I
DON'T THINK, EVER WILL BE.
AND IN ANY CASE, IT'S A LAW IN
KOREA THAT NO KOREAN IS ALLOWED
TO SPEAK TO A FOREIGN VISITOR.
SO IT'S HARDLY NECESSARY TO
PREVENT JOURNALISTS FROM TRYING
TO TALK TO THEM, BECAUSE YOU
CAN SEE IN THE FACE OF ANY
NORTH KOREAN, IF YOU CAN GET
THAT NEAR THEM, THAT THEY'LL
BACK AWAY, FRIGHTENED.
THEY KNOW THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED
TO.
ONE THEREFORE CANNOT GIVE YOU
QUITE AS MANY ANECDOTES ABOUT
WHAT THE TEXTURE OF EVERYDAY
LIFE IS.
HOWEVER, I AM ONE OF THOSE
AUTHORS WHO DOES THEIR BEST TO
WAGE A WAR ON CLICHÉ.
I WENT TO PRAGUE ONCE, UNDER
THE DAYS OF THE OLD STALINIST
REGIME, AND I THOUGHT, WHATEVER
HAPPENS TO ME ON THIS VISIT, I
AM NOT GOING TO MENTION FRANZ KAFKA.
I'M GOING TO BE THE FIRST WRITER TO
REPORT FROM COMMUNIST PRAGUE,
WHO DOESN'T HAVE KAFKA IN THE
PIECE.
THAT I KNOW GOING IN.
I WENT TO A MEETING OF VACLAV
HAVEL'S OPPOSITION GROUP IN A
PRIVATE HOME.
THE MEETING WENT ON FOR A
LITTLE WHILE, AND THE DOOR
SUDDENLY FELL IN.
THERE WAS A MOB OF SECRET POLICEMEN,
DOGS AND SEARCH LIGHTS, AND A
VIDEO CAMERA TO CATCH US ALL ON.
THEY SMASH YOU UP AGAINST THE
WALL, "YOU'RE COMING WITH US."
"WHERE ARE WE GOING, AND WHAT'S
THE CHARGE?"
"WE'RE NOT TELLING YOU WHAT THE
CHARGE IS."
I THOUGHT, "SHIT, NOW I'VE GOT
TO MENTION KAFKA."

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues THEY MAKE YOU DO IT.
IT'S COMPULSORY.
WELL, WHEN I'D SPENT SOME TIME
IN NORTH KOREA, WHERE...
THE HEAD OF STATE IS THE DEAD
FATHER OF THE CURRENT LEADER,
KIM JONG-IL, THE DEAR LEADER,
IS HEAD OF THE PARTY IN NORTH
KOREA, THE KOREA WORKS PARTY,
AND HE'S HEAD OF THE ARMED
FORCES, BUT HE'S NOT HEAD OF
STATE.
HIS DEAD FATHER IS STILL THE
HEAD OF STATE, FOREVER.
MAKES IT, I THINK, THE WORLD'S
FIRST NECROCRACY.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues OR MAUSELOCRAY OR THANITOCRACY,
BUT ABSENT THAT COMPLETELY
INSANE DETAIL, HERE'S WHAT IT'S
LIKE.
THERE'S A PICTURE OF HIM ON
EVERY WALL.
THERE HAS TO BE A PICTURE OF
HIM IN EVERY HOUSE.
HE IS NEVER OFF THE TELEVISION
SCREEN, HE IS NEVER OFF THE
WIRELESS, THE RADIO.
ALL FILMS ARE ABOUT HIM, AND
ALL PLAYS ARE ABOUT HIM, ALL
EDUCATION IS ABOUT HIM, ALL
PUBLIC EVENTS ARE ABOUT HIM,
ALL HOLIDAYS ARE ABOUT HIM.
UM...
AND IT'S AS IF SOMEBODY IN
1950, WHICH IS THE YEAR THAT
GEORGE ORWELL DIED, IN NORTH
KOREA GOT HOLD OF A COPY OF
"1984," AND THOUGHT, I WONDER
IF WE COULD MAKE THIS WORK?

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues ANYWAY, LET'S HAVE A GO,
BECAUSE WE'VE GOT THESE PEOPLE
LOCKED UP IN THIS SMALL
COUNTRY, WITH STALIN AND MAO ON
OUR NORTHERN BORDERS, WHICH
AREN'T VERY LONG, WITH AN
UNCROSSABLE MILITARY FRONTIER,
THE DEMILITARISED ZONE, IN THE
SOUTH, ARE THE OCEAN ON BOTH
SIDES, COMPLETELY HERMETIC.
ALREADY FOR A LONG TIME, CUT
OFF FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD.
WE COULD DO AN EXPERIMENT HERE.
MAYBE WE COULD CREATE A
PERFECTLY SUPERVISED, PERFECTLY
REGIMENTED, PERFECTLY DRILLED
SOCIETY WHERE EVERYONE WAS THE
PROPERTY OF THE STATE 24-7, AS
IT WERE, WHERE THERE WAS NO--
NO RESPITE.
AND I HEARD, OF COURSE, THAT
THEY DO MARCH THE CHILDREN TO
SCHOOL CARRYING THE PICTURE OF
THE LEADER, THEY DO, DO ALL
THIS STUFF, SO WHEN I FIRST SAW
IT, I THOUGHT, YEAH THAT'S
RIGHT, I KNEW THEY DID THIS.
THEN AFTER A FEW DAYS, I
THOUGHT, THEY ACTUALLY DO, DO
IT, AND THEY'VE BEEN DOING IT
EVERY DAY SINCE 1950.
AND THEY'LL BE DOING IT AFTER
I'VE GONE.
NOW THE PROMISE OF THE
AUTHORITARIAN STATE, THE STATE
THAT SAYS THAT YOU ARE STATE
PROPERTY, YOU, THE CITIZEN
BELONG TO US, IS THAT IN
RETURN, YOU WILL GET, SAY THREE
MEALS A DAY, AND YOUR CHILDREN
WON'T STARVE AND WILL BE
CLOTHED AND SO FORTH, AND
YOU'LL BE HOUSED.
THAT'S THE LEAST YOU CAN EXPECT
FOR BEING STATE PROPERTY.
AND FOR A CONSIDERABLE PERIOD
OF TIME IN SOME OF THE EASTERN
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, A VERSION
OF THAT PROMISE WAS KEPT.
IT BEGAN TO BREAK DOWN, AND IN
CHINA, TOO, A VERSION OF IT WAS
KEPT, WHICH HAS BROKEN DOWN
FROM TIME TO TIME.
AND IT IS ALSO NOW BE REPLACED
BY CAPITALISM.
IN NORTH KOREA, YOU'RE STATE
PROPERTY BUT YOU'RE STARVING.
IT'S A FAMINE STATE.
WE DON'T KNOW HOW MANY NORTH
KOREANS DIED IN THE FAMINE OF
THE '90s, AND IT'S IMPOSSIBLE
TO FIND OUT.
BUT IT'S SEVERAL MILLION.
AND THE AVERAGE HEIGHT OF
PEOPLE IN NORTH KOREA HAS
SHRUNK BY SEVERAL INCHES.
AND OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION
I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY PEOPLE
DIDN'T ANY SHORTER WHO HAD
ALREADY FULLY GROWN, EXCUSE ME,
BUT OF THE -- THOUGH IF THE
REGIME COULD MAKE THAT HAPPEN,
IT WOULD CERTAINLY GIVE IT A
TRY.
BUT THE BABIES BORN IN THAT
PERIOD, THE YOUNG OF KOREA ARE
MUCH, MUCH, MUCH SHORTER THAN
THEIR SOUTH KOREAN
COUNTERPARTS, OR THEIR PARENTS.
AND EVEN THOUGH THE REGIME MAKES
EVERY EFFORT TO SHOW YOU ONLY
THE GOOD BITS OF THE COUNTRY,
IT CAN'T STOP YOU SEEING FROM
THE BUS, AS YOU GO ACROSS THE
COUNTRY, OLD PEOPLE PICKING UP
INDIVIDUAL GRAINS OF RICE FROM
THE FIELDS, AND PEOPLE TRYING
TO EAT GRASS.
IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO CONCEAL A THING
OF THIS KIND.
SO THAT THE PROMISE, AS IT
WERE, HAS BROKEN DOWN.
I FINALLY HAD TO EAT A DOG, I
WAS SO HUNGRY MYSELF, AND I WAS
A PRIVILEGED VISITOR, AND A
PROTECTED GUEST IN A PRIVILEGED
CITY OF PYONGYANG, BUT I
FINALLY HAD TO HAVE A POOCH FOR
SUPPER.
THEY WOULDN'T TELL ME WHAT
KIND.
I SOMEHOW WANTED TO KNOW.
IT WAS A BIG DOG, THEY SAID, AS
IF THAT MADE IT BETTER SOMEHOW.
DON'T ASK FOR A DOGGIE BAG IF
YOU'RE IN NORTH KOREA, ANYWAY.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues AND I ACTUALLY GOT THINNER
MYSELF.
I MUST GO THERE MORE OFTEN IF
YOU LIKE.
BUT IN OTHER WORDS IT'S THE
PERFECT COMBINATION OF EVIL, IF
YOU WILL.
THE CONCEPT OF FREEDOM IS
UNKNOWN.
IT'S NOT JUST NEGATED, IT'S NOT
KNOWN, IT DOESN'T EXIST.
THE CONCEPT OF RIGHTS DO NOT
EXIST.
BUT NOR IS THERE THE MOST
ELEMENTARY PROVISION FOR
EDUCATION, HEALTH, NUTRITION
AND SO FORTH.
THAT'S THE BEST WAY I CAN PUT
IT.
THEY MANAGE TO MAXIMISE THE
WORST FORMS OF ALL KINDS OF
OPPRESSION, AND CONDENSE,
REFINE, DISTILL, AND THEN
AGAIN, REFINE THEM, TO MAKE IT
THE MOST MISERABLE PLACE IN THE
HISTORY, PERHAPS, OF THE WORLD,
AND CERTAINLY ON THE FACE OF
THE PLANET AT PRESENT.
AND, AS ALWAYS WITH SUCH
COUNTRIES, THERE IS ONLY ONE
THING THAT DOES WORK, AND
THAT'S THE MILITARY AND THE
POLICE.
AND WE KNOW THAT THE POWER
PROJECTION, MADE BY THE REGIME,
THE WAY IT BELIEVES THAT IT CAN
SUSTAIN ITSELF AND SURVIVE
THESE RIGOURS AND THESE
PRESSURES, IS TO USE NUCLEAR
WEAPONS EITHER AS BLACKMAIL OR
AS UM...
WHAT WOULD BE THE WORD --
EXTORTION.
IN OTHER WORDS TO ASK FOR THE
FOOD IT CAN'T GROW, TO BE
DELIVERED TO ITS DOORSTEP IN
EXCHANGE FOR EMPTY PROMISES
ABOUT A POSSIBLE FUTURE
DENUCLEARISATION.
HERE'S HOW CRAZY IT IS, BY THE
WAY.
USAID, WHEN IT GIVES OUT BAGS
OF GRAIN, OR WHATEVER ELSE IT
MIGHT HAPPEN TO BE, THEY INSIST
ON STENCILING ON THE SACKS THE
STARS AND STRIPES, AND IT SAYS,
"A GIFT FROM THE PEOPLE OF THE
UNITED STATES."
AND IT WILL SAY IT ALSO IN THE
LOCAL LANGUAGE.
SO THAT THE STUFF CAN'T BE
ABUSED, AND SO THAT PEOPLE
KNOW IT'S FROM AMERICA.
IT'S A SMALL ENOUGH THING.
NORTH KOREANS DON'T MIND
HANDING IT OUT LIKE THAT AT ALL
BEFORE IT GOES ONTO THE BLACK
MARKET, WHERE IT'S USUALLY
BOUGHT UP BY THE ARMY AND THE
PARTY PEOPLE IF IT ISN'T--
WHO HAVE FIRST CRACK AT IT
ANYWAY.
BUT THEY DON'T MIND PEOPLE IN
THE STARVING OUTLYING AREAS
SEEING THIS, BECAUSE THEY SAY,
YOU SEE, OUR LEADER IS SO MUCH
LOVED BY THE REST OF THE WORLD,
THAT HE IS--
AND SO MUCH FEARED, AND SO MUCH
RESPECTED, THAT TRIBUTE IS PAID
TO HIM, AND IT COMES EVEN FROM
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
AND THE PEOPLE HAVE NO MEANS OF
KNOWING THAT THIS ISN'T TRUE.
WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHETHER
THEY CAN GUESS THAT OR NOT.
I'D GIVE A LOT TO KNOW WHAT
GOES ON IN THEIR MINDS.
NORTH KOREANS ARE STARTING TO
DEFECT NOW -- VERY DANGEROUS
BUSINESS, ACROSS THE BORDER
FROM CHINA.
THEY DIDN'T USED TO DO THAT
BEFORE.
WE'LL SEE, BUT IT IS NOT
POSSIBLE, I CANNOT DECEIVE YOU,
I CANNOT GIVE YOU A DIRECT
ACCOUNT OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN
THE NORTH KOREAN MIND.
BUT WE WILL, I THINK, SOON FIND
OUT.
AT ANY RATE, I WOULD SAY THAT
THERE WAS A VERY STRONG
CORRELATION, THEREFORE, BETWEEN
THE INTERNAL NIGHTMARE OF THE
IDEOLOGY OF THE REGIME, AND THE
NEED, ON ITS PART, TO IMPOSE
ITSELF ON THE OUTSIDE WORLD AS
WELL.
THESE TWO THINGS ARE NOT
COINCIDENTAL, THEY'RE
INDISSOLUBLY CONNECTED.
WELL TO IRAN.
UM, SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT.
THE REGIME, HAS OUTLIVED, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE MAN WHOSE PORTRAIT
IS INDEED EVERYWHERE, THE
AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI.
HE HAS BEEN DEAD SINCE 1989.
BUT THE REGIME WHICH DISPLAYS
HIS PICTURE STILL GOES ON.
IT IS STILL A THEOCRACY BUILT
IN THE IMAGE OF ONE MAN, AND ON
ONE RATHER PARTICULAR
INTERPRETATION OF THE RIGHTS OF
SHIA CLERICS TO MAKE LAWS.
IT IS, ACTUALLY A DECLINING
REGIME FOR THAT REASON, BECAUSE
THE GENERATION OF MULLAHS WHO
IMPOSED THIS REVOLUTION, AND
THE GENERATION OF REVOLUTIONARY
GUARDS WHO ACTUALLY IMPOSED IT
BY FORCE, IS DYING AND
MORIBUND, AND IT'S VERY CLEAR.
I WENT SEVERAL TIMES TO THE
WEEKLY FRIDAY PRAYERS THAT ARE
STILL HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY.
THE ANNUAL RALLY, EXCUSE ME,
THE WEEKLY RALLY OF THE REGIME.
AND ALL THE SPEAKERS WERE VERY
ELDERLY, AND OFTEN QUITE
QUAVERING, AND SNOWY BEARDED IF
YOU LIKE, RATHER THAN JUST
WHITE BEARDED AND TURBANED.
THERE WAS A TIME, OBVIOUSLY,
WHEN IT WAS VERY TERRIFYING TO
LIVE IN IRAN.
I CAN TELL THAT BECAUSE OF A
FRIEND OF MINE WHO RUNS A
BOOKSTORE.
HE'S A BIG, TOUGH GUY.
HEAVYSET, BRILLIANT
INTELLECTUAL, KURDISH, STRONG
FELLOW, BUT EVERY TIME ANYONE
WITH A BEARD CAME INTO HIS
SHOP, THERE WAS A FLINCH IN HIS
EYES.
AND HE WOULD ACT NERVOUSLY AND
SOMETIMES HIDE A BOOK UNDER THE
DESK.
OR HE WOULD--
HE WASN'T ALL THAT TERRIFIED
WHEN I SAW HIM, BUT YOU COULD
TELL HE WAS A MAN WHO HAD LIVED
UNDER A REIGN OF TERROR.
WHEN YOU'VE MET SOMEONE WHO'S
BEEN THROUGH THAT YOU'LL
ALWAYS BE ABLE TO RECOGNISE THE
SYMPTOMS.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN VERY BAD.
I KNOW THIS IS TRUE, ALSO, FROM
FEMALE FRIENDS OF MINE, WHO
WERE TERRIFIED THAT IF THEY LET
ONE STRAND OF HAIR SHOW UNDER
THEIR HIJAB, THEY WOULD HAVE
ACID THROWN IN THEIR FACE, OR
PERHAPS BE BLINDED BY A BLOW
FROM A TRUNCHEON, EITHER FROM A
POLICEMAN OR FROM AN OVER
ENTHUSIASTIC CIVILIAN.
AND YOU CAN SEE THE FEAR IN
PEOPLE'S EYES THAT GOES ON FROM
THAT, TOO.
BUT THIS REALLY ISN'T HAPPENING
ANY MORE.
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN IRAN IS
VERY INTERESTING.
WITHIN THE CARAPACE OF THE THEOCRATIC
STATE, AN ALMOST COMPLETELY
SECULAR SOCIETY IS BEING
CREATED.
THIS IS FOR A GHOULISH REASON.
THE IRANIAN MULLAHS LOST SO
MANY YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE
SUICIDE WAVES THAT THEY SENT
AGAINST SADAM HUSSEIN, THAT
THE SENDING OF GREAT GANGS OF
SCHOOL CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
TO CLEAR MINE FIELDS, ON THE
IRAQI BORDER.
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH ROOM IN LARGE
PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, TO BURY
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT THEY KILLED.
IN LARGE PARTS OF THE COUNTRY,
THERE IS ONE BIG CEMETERY.
THEY HAD LOST SO MANY YOUNG
PEOPLE, THAT THEY HAD TO PAY
IRANIAN MOTHERS INCENTIVES.
IF YOU WOULD AGREE TO HAVE
THREE OR MORE CHILDREN, YOU
COULD GET QUITE A LOT OF
SUBSIDY AND QUITE A LOT OF HELP
FROM THE REGIME.
THEY TRIED TO BREED QUICKLY A
NEW GENERATION, AS A
CONSEQUENCE OF WHICH -- IT
WORKED, IT WORKED OUT ALL
RIGHT, BUT NOT IN A WAY THEY
EXPECTED.
AS A CONSEQUENCE OF WHICH, IT'S
ESTIMATED MORE THAN HALF THE
POPULATION OF THE COUNTRY IS
UNDER 25, AND THEY ALL HATE THE
MULLAHS.
SO IT'S WHAT I CALL THE BABY
BOOMERANG.

[Audience Laughter]...

IN IRAN.
AND IF YOU WANT TO GET A DRINK,
WHICH, BELIEVE ME, I DID.
I FOUND A BOOTLEGGER AT THE
AIRPORT WHEN I ARRIVED, AS A
MATTER OF FACT.
IF YOU WANT SOMEONE TO COME
ROUND TO YOUR HOTEL ROOM OR
YOUR APARTMENT, AND BRING
ANYTHING ELSE YOU MIGHT LIKE,
ANY OTHER FORM OF ALCOHOL OR
DRUGS OR PORNOGRAPHY OR ANY
OTHER KIND OF VIDEO OR
PUBLICATION, YOU CAN DO THAT
VERY SWIFTLY.
THE MULLAHS ARE POWERLESS TO
STOP IT -- THEY MAY EVEN, SOME
OF THEM, BE PROFITEERING FROM
SOME OF THIS ILLEGAL BLACK
MARKET THEMSELVES.
THERE IS A...
A TRADITION IN SHIA ISLAM,
VERY, VERY FIRMLY BELIEVED IN BY
THE DEVOUT, AND IT'S ONE OF THE
MANY WAYS IN WHICH SHIA ISLAM
IS QUITE LIKE ROMAN
CATHOLICISM.
IT HAS 12 IMAMS.
ONE OF THEM IS STILL ALIVE
SOMEWHERE, HE NEVER DIED.
HE'S NEVER LEFT THE EARTH, HE'S
NEVER LEFT US.
HE WILL COME BACK ONE DAY AND
THEN WE'LL KNOW.
WE WILL KNOW THAT THE REIGN OF
JUSTICE ON EARTH IS ABOUT TO
BEGIN.
SOME PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT
KHOMEINI MIGHT BE THE 12th
IMAM, BUT HE WAS TOO PIUS A MAN
TO CLAIM IT.
IT'S VERY BLASPHEMOUS TO CLAIM
IT FOR YOURSELF.
AND IT MAY NOT BE A SHIA, IT
MAY NOT BE A PERSIAN, WE DON'T
KNOW, BUT THE HIDDEN IMAM, THEY
BELIEVE, IS SOMEWHERE.
WELL I OVERHEARD TWO TAXI
DRIVERS DISCUSSING, AND ONE OF
THEM SAID, "DO YOU THINK MAYBE
GEORGE BUSH IS THE 12th IMAM?"
NOW WHEN THINGS HAVE GONE THAT
FAR, THE AUTHORITY OF THE
MULLAHS I THINK, CAN BE SAID TO
HAVE BEEN FAIRLY FATALLY
UNDERMINED.
THESE DRIVERS WON'T STOP FOR
ANYONE WITH A TURBAN.
IT'S REMARKABLE TO SEE IT ON
THE STREET.
THESE GUYS JUST WAVE AND WAVE,
AND THE CABS GO STRAIGHT BY.
NO ONE WILL PICK THEM UP.
IT'S VERY WIDELY SAID, IT WAS
VERY WIDELY SAID TO ME, THAT
THEY WISHED THAT THERE WOULD BE
AN AMERICAN MILITARY
INTERVENTION.
IT WAS SAID TO ME MOST
MEMORABLY BY SOMEONE I KNOW
SLIGHTLY, HUSSEIN KHOMEINI, THE
GRANDSON OF THE AYATOLLAH
KHOMEINI, THE ONLY LIVING MALE
KHOMEINI IN HIS HOME, IN QUM.
HE SAID TO ME, WE WISH THAT
THERE WOULD BE AN INTERVENTION
TO REMOVE THE THEOCRACY.
YOU ASK, WELL SHOULD SAYEED
HUSSEIN KHOMEINI WANT TO REMOVE
THEOCRACY, HE'S A MULLAH.
IT'S BECAUSE HE'S A GENUINELY
BELIEVING AND DEVOUT SHIA
PERSON, AND A GREAT ADMIRER OF
GRAND AYATOLLAH SISTANI OF
NAJAF IN IRAQ, WHERE HE'S SPENT
A GOOD DEAL OF TIME LATELY.
AND HE BELIEVES IF IT GOES ON
THIS WAY, HIS RELIGION WILL BE
DISCREDITED.
AND THAT THE SHIA CAUSE WILL BE
DISFIGURED AND DEFAMED, AND
DISCREDITED BY
[unintelligible]
AND HE'S RIGHT.
IT'S LED TO THE MASS PRODUCTION
OF ATHEISM AMONG YOUNG
IRANIANS.
I SLIGHTLY HOPE IT GOES ON A
FEW MORE YEARS UNTIL THE JOB
GETS REALLY THOROUGHLY DONE,
BEFORE IT FALLS, WHICH IT WILL.
IF WE WERE ABLE TO ESTABLISH AN
ORDINARY TIMELINE FOR
OURSELVES, WE WOULD SAY, I
THINK, THAT WITHIN TEN YEARS,
THE GENERATION OF THE
DICTATORSHIP WILL DIE OUT, AND
WILL SOMEHOW BE REPLACED.
IT WILL BE AN ORGANIC, INTERNAL
ENDOGENOUS PROCESS OF SELF
TRANSFORMATION.
IN IRAN EVERYONE HAS A
SATELLITE DISH, ALMOST EVERYONE
HAS A RELATIVE OUTSIDE THE
COUNTRY.
PEOPLE TRAVEL, THEY ALL GET THE
NEWS.
THEY DON'T BOTHER WITH THE
OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA AT ALL.
AND THEY ARE READY TO VOTE, AND
WHEN THEY DO VOTE, THEY ALWAYS
VOTE AGAINST THE THEOCRACY.
IT'S JUST THAT THERE'S A
RESERVE GOVERNMENT, A SECRET
STATE WITHIN THE STATE THAT
DOES NOT ACTUALLY ALLOW THEM TO
TAKE POWER.
BUT UNFORTUNATELY AGAIN, THERE
IS ANOTHER TIME LINE THAT WE
CAN'T OVERLOOK, WHICH IS THE
SURREPTITIOUS ACQUISITION OF
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
AND THE SPONSORSHIP OVERSEAS OF
RELIGIOUS GANGSTERISM.
AND IT'S NOT POSSIBLE, I THINK,
TO ALLOW OURSELVES, WITH ANY
INSOUCIANCE, TO SAY, WELL LET'S
HAVE ANOTHER 20 YEARS OF THAT
AS WELL, WHILE IT GRADUALLY
WEARS ITSELF OUT OF EXISTENCE.
SO ONCE AGAIN, WE'RE CONFRONTED
WITH UM... A PEOPLE WHO--
A GIFTED, TALENTED, USEFUL,
CIVILISED PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN
DENIED ALL THEIR RIGHTS, BUT
WHO KNOW IT, BY A GOVERNMENT
WHO TRIES TO STAY IN POWER BY
MAKING THREATENING GESTURES
TOWARD ITS NEIGHBOURS AND
TOWARD THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.
THIS DILEMMA IS EVIDENTLY NOT GOING
TO GO AWAY.
I HAVE SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT
MIGHT BE DONE NEXT ABOUT ALL OF
THESE THINGS.
AND I THINK, PROBABLY THE
MOMENT HAS COME WHEN I'VE
SPOKEN ENOUGH IN MY OWN VOICE,
AND I WILL BE AS INTERESTED TO
HEAR FROM YOU IF YOU HAVE ANY
THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS AS I WOULD
BE WILLING AND EAGER TO TAKE
ANY OF YOUR QUESTIONS.
SO... WITH THANKS VERY MUCH
AGAIN FOR COMING, UM...
I'M ALL YOURS -- THANK YOU.

[Applause]

Christopher says I WAS
ASKED TO CONFIRM THAT I'D HEARD
FROM MORE PEOPLE THAN I HAD NOT
HEARD FROM, THE REMARK THAT
THEY WOULD WELCOME IN IRAN, A
FOREIGN, A WESTERN, AN AMERICAN
INTERVENTION TO REMOVE THE
MULLOCRACY.
AND WHICH I CAN CONFIRM, YES,
THAT'S VERY COMMONLY SAID.
AND I WAS THEN ASKED, WELL
WOULD THAT NOT DESTROY THE
EMERGING DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION
THERE, WOULD IT NOT COMPROMISE IT?
THE ANSWER TO THAT IS PROBABLY
THAT IT WOULD.
I MEAN THERE ARE A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY THINK --
ACTUALLY LET ME STEP A LITTLE
FURTHER BACK.
I HEARD THAT SAID SO OFTEN BY
PEOPLE, THAT AFTER A BIT, IT
STOPPED DELIGHTING ME.
IN OTHER WORDS, IN A WAY, IT'S
A CONFESSION OF WEAKNESS ON
THEIR PART, IT'S A CONFESSION
OF IMPOTENCE.
IT'S A SORT OF RESIGNATION, WE
CAN'T DO ANYTHING OURSELVES.
THERE'S ALSO SOMETHING SLIGHTLY
SERVILE ABOUT IT, AND A
MENTALITY OF THAT KIND, OF
COURSE, COULD TURN ON A DIME.
RIGHT AWAY IF THERE WAS AN
INVASION, IF THEY GOT WHAT THEY
WANTED, THEY WOULD SUDDENLY
SAY, DOWN WITH THE OCCUPATION,
TO SHOW THAT THEY CAN BE BRAVE
AFTER ALL.
AS HAS HAPPENED WITH QUITE A
NUMBER OF IRAQIS.
NOW THAT THEY CAN SHOW THEIR
COURAGE, THEY DO.
IT'S PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE
SHAME THEY FEEL AT THEIR
COWARDICE AND CONFORMISM
BEFORE.
AND ONE DOESN'T WANT TO UPSET
THIS FEBRILE BALANCE TOO MUCH.
UM, AND ONE DOES HOPE TO
ENCOURAGE AN INTERNAL MOVEMENT.
BUT EVERY TIME AN INTERNAL
MOVEMENT HAS BEEN TRIED, IT HAS
BEEN VERY BRUTALLY PUT DOWN.
SO THAT GIVEN THE ODDS, GIVEN
THE VERY HEAVILY ARMED GOONS
WITH WHICH THE REGIME MAINTAINS
ITSELF, ONE IS CONDEMNING
PEOPLE TO A MUCH LONGER PERIOD
OF SERVITUDE.
AND ONE IS ALSO EXPOSING THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO A
MUCH GREATER RISK OF YET-- OF A
PROMISCUOUS STATE WITH WEAPONS
OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
AND THEREFORE I THINK EVERYONE
HAS TO REASON IT, AND REALISE
THAT THERE ARE--
WE'RE ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY
EITHER WAY, AND THAT DOING
NOTHING IS ALSO A POLICY.

Now a clean-shaven man in his twenties from the audience speaks into a microphone and says
IF THE EU'S TALKS WITH
IRAN DON'T GO WELL, DO YOU SEE
ISRAEL INTERVENING
UNILATERALLY, LIKE THEY DID IN
IRAQ, OSIRAK, AND IF SO, WHAT
EFFECT DO YOU THINK THAT WILL
HAVE ON THE GROWING MOVEMENT
AGAINST THE MULLAHS IN IRAN?

Christopher says WELL
IT COULDN'T BE UNILATERAL, FOR
ONE THING, BECAUSE THEY WOULD
HAVE TO CROSS IRAQI AIR SPACE,
AND NO ONE WOULD THINK THAT
THAT WOULD HAPPEN WITHOUT IRAQI
OR AMERICAN PERMISSION.
SO NO ONE COULD SAY, THAT WAS
THE ISRAELIS, WE DON'T KNOW
ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
IN ANY CASE, PEOPLE WHO THINK
LIKE THAT IN THE MIDDLE EAST,
REGARD ISRAEL AS AN AMERICAN
SURROGATE IN ANY CASE, SO...
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS
ISRAELI UNILATERALISM IN THIS
MATTER.
THE BEST EVIDENCE THAT I HAVE,
BUT I'M OPEN TO BE CHALLENGED
ABOUT THIS, IS THAT THE
ISRAELIS, AMONG OTHERS, HAVE
CONCLUDED THAT THE BOMBING OF
THE IRAQI REACTOR IN 82, I
THINK -- 81 -- I'VE JUST
FORGOTTEN THE NAME OF THE
REACTOR, DOESN'T MATTER.
OSIRAK -- O-CHIRAC, I CALL IT,
BECAUSE HE BUILT IT FOR SADDAM
HUSSEIN, KNOWING WHAT HE WANTED
IT FOR.
THERE'S ANOTHER UNILATERALIST
AT THE U.N. FOR YOU, BY THE
WAY.
UM... ONLY RETARDED, AND MAY
HAVE, IN SOME WAYS, ADVANCED
THE IRAQI NUCLEAR PROGRAM.
IT JUST DROVE IT FURTHER
UNDERGROUND.
I'VE HEARD MANY ISRAELIS SAY
THAT.
I'VE HEARD SOME OTHER EXPERTS
IN THE FIELD OF DISARMAMENT SAY
THAT -- GOOD SHOT THOUGH IT
WAS, IT DIDN'T REALLY DE-
NUCLEARIZE IRAQ.
AND THE IRANIANS, IN ANY CASE,
AS WE ALL KNOW NOW, HAVE
CONFIGURED THEMSELVES SO THAT
IT WILL BE MUCH HARDER TO HAVE
THE CORE OF THEIR PROGRAM TAKEN
OUT IN ANY ONE PLACE, OR ON ANY
ONE DAY.
SO THAT'S WHY I INSIST ON THE
LINKAGE OF INTERNAL DEMOCRACY,
UM, AND THE EMANCIPATION WITH
THESE QUESTIONS.
THERE ARE ONLY TWO SERIOUS
COUNTRIES THAT HAVE EVER GOT
THIS NEAR TO GETTING A BOMB OR
GOT ONE, AND GIVEN IT UP, ARE
BRAZIL AND SOUTH AFRICA.
IN BOTH CASES AS A RESULT OF A
DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION THAT
REPLACED THE DICTATORSHIP THAT
EMBARKED ON THE PROGRAM.
AND SO, WHAT ONE HAS TO HOPE
FOR, I THINK IS THAT WE WILL
GET INTO A POSITION WHERE WE'LL
BE NEGOTIATING ON DISARMAMENT
WITH DEMOCRATIC IRANIANS, NOT
THEOCRATIC ONES.
SO NOW WHERE IRAN IS A POOR COUNTRY,
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE VERY
POOR IN THE OUTLYING PARTS OF
IT, BUT IT IS ENORMOUSLY MORE
DEVELOPED INFRASTRUCTURALLY
THAN IRAQ.
IT'S REALLY QUITE-- THE ROADS
ARE EXCELLENT, THE INTERNAL
AIRLINE TRAVEL IS VERY GOOD.
THE TRAFFIC JAMS IN TEHRAN
OFTEN GO ON FOR FOUR DAYS, BUT
THAT'S A SIGN THAT MOST PEOPLE
HAVE A CAR.
EVERYONE HAS SATELLITE DISHES
AND SO FORTH.
EVERYONE IS ACCUSTOMED, MORE OR
LESS, TO LIVING IN AN OPEN
SOCIETY.
ALMOST EVERYONE HAS A RELATIVE
IN A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY.
THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN
ELECTIONS, IT'S JUST THAT THE
MULLOCRACY WON'T LET THE
WINNERS TAKE OFFICE.
SO ALL OF THAT WORK, SO TO
SPEAK, HAS BEEN DONE IN
ADVANCE, AND AS FAR AS I COULD
TELL, THERE'S NO SECTARIAN OR
CONFESSIONAL PROBLEM IN IRAN,
92 percent SHIA.
THERE ARE...
EVEN THE EXISTING THEOCRACY HAS
RESERVED SEATS FOR JEWS AND FOR
CHRISTIANS WHO ARE QUITE SMALL
BUT SIGNIFICANT MINORITIES,
MAINLY ARMENIAN, THE
CHRISTIANS, IN THE MAJLIS, IN
THE PARLIAMENT, RECOGNISED
THEIR RIGHTS, SO TO SPEAK, AT
LEAST ACKNOWLEDGED, IF NOT OBSERVED.
THERE'S CERTAINLY NO DISLIKE
FOR JEWS OR CHRISTIANS.
IT'S VERY DANGEROUS TO BE A
MEMBER OF THE BA'HAI FAITH,
BECAUSE THAT'S POST-ISLAMIC,
NOT PRE, BUT OTHER THAN THAT,
THERE'S NOTHING OF THIS SORT.
THE KURDS ARE A VERY SMALL
MINORITY, THEY'RE NOT
SEPARATIST.
THERE HASN'T BEEN ANY FIGHTING
THERE FOR SOME TIME.
WHAT HAVE I LEFT OUT?
NOT EVERYONE IS--
EVERYONE SPEAKS THE SAME
LANGUAGE, EVERYONE SPEAKS FARSI.
NOT EVERYONE IS PERSIAN.
IT MAY BE AS MANY AS 30 percent IS
AZERI, NOT PERSIAN.
THAT'S NOT AN ISSUE, NOBODY
WOULD PULL A KNIFE OVER IT.
SO ALL YOU'D NEED TO DO, IF I
LOWER MY VOICE HERE, OKAY -- I
HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY ANY OF
THIS.
BUT ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS WHAT
A WOMAN IN A CHADOR SAID TO ME
IN ISFAHAN, THE ONLY WOMAN I
MET ACTUALLY IN A CHADOR, WHO
HATED THE REGIME SO MUCH THAT
SHE SAID, DO YOU THINK YOU
AMERICANS COULD COME AND ONLY
STAY FOR ABOUT A WEEK?
AND THEN GET OUT.
AND I THOUGHT, WELL WHAT A
BRILLIANT IDEA.
I'LL PASS IT ON, YOU KNOW.
SEVERAL OF THE IRANIAN
GOVERNMENT ARE WANTED MEN IN
EUROPE AND ELSEWHERE.
WE KNOW THE NAMES OF THE PEOPLE
WHO SENT OUT THESE DEATH SQUADS
TO BERLIN AND ELSEWHERE.
GO AND ARREST THEM -- YOU'RE
NICKED, THE REST OF YOU, UP
AGAINST THE WALL.
WE'RE GOING TO BLOW UP THAT
TUNNEL THAT YOU THOUGHT WE
WOULDN'T FIND OUT ABOUT IN THE
MOUNTAIN NEAR ISFAHAN, AND A
COUPLE OF OTHER PLACES WE DON'T
LIKE THE LOOK OF, BECAUSE YOU
KNOW, WE'VE FOUND OUT YOU CAN
ONLY REALLY INSPECT A COUNTRY
BY REALLY PAYING IT A PROPER VISIT.
AND THEN WE RETURN THE COUNTRY
TO ITS PEOPLE AND GO HOME.
THINK ABOUT IT.
AND THINK ABOUT IT BECAUSE
THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE THINKING
ABOUT.
I DON'T KNOW THAT THE UNITED
STATES IS THINKING ABOUT THIS,
BUT A LOT OF IRANIANS ARE
THINKING ABOUT IT.
THERE WOULDN'T NEED TO BE THIS
STEWARDSHIP, GUARDIANSHIP,
WARDSHIP, THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE
FOR THE IRAQI PEOPLE AFTER WHAT
THEY'VE BEEN THROUGH.

Another clean-shaven man from the audience, in his thirties, says
AROUND THE TIME OF THE
FIRST GULF WAR, YOU WROTE AN
ESSAY WHERE YOU DESCRIBED U.S.
POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST AS
MUTUALLY CERTAIN
DESTABILISATION.
DO YOU SEE THE INVASION OF IRAQ
AS -- LIKE THE ULTIMATE
REPUDIATION OF THAT POLICY?
A REVERSAL WHERE NOW THE U.S.
IS LOOKING TO CREATE STABILISATION?

Christopher says WELL I WOULD--
IT WOULD BE NICE, IN A WAY, TO
SAY THAT, AND IT WOULD BE
SYMMETRICAL, BUT NOT QUITE.
I THINK WHAT I WAS REFERRING TO
WAS THE WAY THE UNITED STATES
SORT OF MANAGED TO BE ON BOTH
SIDES OF THE IRAN-IRAQ WAR, AND
WHERE DIFFERENT FACTIONS OF THE
ADMINISTRATION WERE DEALING
WITH IT COVERTLY AS WELL, AND
ARMING BOTH SIDES.
AND I HAD THE FEELING THAT AS
WELL AS THAT ELEMENT OF
PROFITEERING, THERE WAS ALSO A
KISSINGERIAN MIND SET, IN FACT
HENRY KISSINGER DID MORE OF
LESS SAY, HEY, THIS IS A GREAT
WAR, I WISH THEY COULD BOTH
LOSE.
THAT WAS HIS COMMENT ON THIS
WAR THAT KILLED, PERHAPS 2
MILLION PEOPLE.
AND YOU KNOW, IT WAS SEEING TWO
ENEMIES GO AT EACH OTHER, WHICH
WAS OF COURSE, WHY EVERYONE,
MORE OR LESS EVERYONE IN IRAN
BELIEVES THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN
WAS INSTIGATED BY THE UNITED
STATES TO ATTACK, WHICH, IS
ACTUALLY A HALF TRUTH, A BIT
MORE THAN HALF TRUTH.
SO YES, THIS POLICY IS PARTLY--
WE HAVE TO UNDERTAKE IT BECAUSE
OF THE FAILURES OF THE PREVIOUS
ONE, BECAUSE THAT WAS SUCH A
DISASTROUS POLICY, AND SECOND,
WE OUGHT TO PUT RIGHT SOME OF
WHAT WE DID.
BUT I CAN'T EXACTLY SAY THAT
IT'S A STABILISING UM...
POLICY, BECAUSE IN ONE WAY, IT
WAS TO SAY THAT THE STATUS QUO
OF THE MIDDLE EAST SHOULD BE
OVERTURNED.
THAT'S WHY I FEEL THAT SOME OF
MY FRIENDS IN WASHINGTON ARE
UNJUSTLY REFERRED TO AS
NEOCONSERVATIVES.
IN OTHER WORDS, CONSERVATIVE,
THEY'RE NOT AT ALL.
THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO ALL SAID
NO, WHO DON'T LIKE THE STATUS
QUO, WHO DON'T LIKE THE WAY
THINGS ARE, WHO ARE WILLING TO
TAKE THE RISK OF DESTABILISING
IT, BECAUSE WE'RE SURE THE
ALTERNATIVE WILL BE BETTER.
THAT'S NOT REALLY A
CONSERVATIVE POSITION.
THE CONSERVATIVE POSITION WAS
TAKEN BY GEORGE BUSH SENIOR, BY
LAWRENCE EAGLEBERGER, AND BRENT
SCOWCROFT AND SOME OF THE
SENIOR STATESMEN, GROUPS
USUALLY AROUND HENRY KISSINGER,
WHO HAD A REAL-POLITIK VIEW
OF THE WORLD WHICH SAYS, NO, WE
LIKE TO TREAT THE REGION AS IF
IT WAS SOMETHING THAT WE COULD
RULE THROUGH PROXY DICTATORS.
AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY TOO MUCH
ABOUT THE OPINIONS OF THE
UNWATCHED.

Now a woman from the audience in her thirties says
WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING IN IRAQ OVER THE NEXT
FIVE YEARS?

Christopher says WELL...
IT WAS INTERESTING, WHEN I ASKED
IRANIANS WHAT THEY THOUGHT
ABOUT THE IRAQI ELECTIONS AND
THE PROCESS THERE, FOR THE MOST
PART THEY PRETENDED A SORT OF
INDIFFERENCE.
THIS COMES LARGELY FROM THE FEELING
THAT, DON'T TALK TO US AS IF WE
WERE ARABS.
VERY STRONG FEELING THEY RESENT
VERY MUCH BEING THOUGHT OF AS
ARABS.
DO NOT IMAGINE THAT THEY HAVE
ANYTHING TO LEARN FROM AN ARAB
MODEL OF ANY KIND.
AND REGARD IRAQ NOT AS A
NATION, BUT AS A STATE, AS A
RECENTLY COBBLED TOGETHER
POLITICAL ENTITY, NOT THE
WONDERFUL MILLENNIAL, HIGHLY
EVOLVED CIVILISATION LIKE THE
PERSIAN ONE WHICH IS 2,000 OR
MORE YEARS OLD.
I MENTION THAT BECAUSE OF
COURSE, THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH
IRAQ IS PRECISELY THAT.
IT ISN'T REALLY A COUNTRY.
THERE IS IRAQI NATIONALISM,
THOUGH, AND WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS
IS A COMPETITION BETWEEN THAT
FEELING OF NATIONALISM AND
OTHER FEELINGS OF NATIONAL,
ETHNIC OR CONFESSIONAL
ALLEGIANCE.
I DON'T THINK IT'S AT ALL
OBVIOUS THAT THERE WON'T BE A
COMPROMISE, A FEDERAL
COMPROMISE ABOUT THAT.
THE ONE REASON I BELIEVE IT IS
BECAUSE THE GROUPS ARE FAIRLY
EVENLY MATCHED, THE KURDS, WHO
ARE SUNNI ARE ABOUT 20 percent.
NO ONE IS EVERY GOING TO TRY
AND RULE THEM BY FORCE AGAIN,
AND THEY ALSO HAVE AN ARMY OF
THEIR OWN, NOW.
THEY CAN'T-- NO ONE'S EVER
GOING TO BE ABLE TO BULLY THEM
AGAIN.
THE SAME IS MORE OR LESS TRUE
OF THE SHIA, AND THE NUMBERS OF
THE SUNNI ARE TOO LARGE TO
ALLOW THEM TO BE TREATED AS A
DESPISED MINORITY ALSO.
THAT'S THE FIRST THING.
THE SECOND IS, I HAVE NEVER MET
AN IRAQI WHO IS 100 percent SHIA,
SUNNI OR KURDISH.
THAT'S NOT QUITE TRUE.
I HAVE MET SOME KURDS WHO
HARDLY HAVE ANY NON-KURDISH
RELATIVES, BECAUSE THERE'S
BEEN--
KURDISTAN WAS GOVERNED
SEPARATELY, AS YOU KNOW, UNDER
THE NO FLY ZONES, IT WASN'T
RULED BY SADDAM HUSSEIN, IT
WASN'T PART OF IRAQ FOR THE
LAST FEW YEARS.
BUT OTHERWISE, IT'S THE
STANDARD RULE, YOU MEET SOMEONE
IN BAGHDAD, THEY ASK YOU TO
DINNER, AND YOU MEET THEIR
KURDISH BROTHER-IN-LAW, AND
THEIR SHIA AUNTIE AND SO FORTH.
THAT'S IRAQ 101, IT'S THE
REASON THAT MOST OF THE
PREDICTIONS ABOUT CIVIL WAR
HAVE NOT PROVEN TO BE TRUE, AND
WHY THERE'S BEEN SO LITTLE
INDIVIDUAL FRATRICIDE IN THE
COUNTRY OR REVENGE TAKING.
SO THAT'S WHAT I THINK WILL
HAPPEN.
I THINK IT WILL TAKE--
I DON'T KNOW IF IT WILL TAKE
FIVE YEARS TO DESTROY THE
INSURGENCY, I THINK IT WILL
PROBABLY TAKE LESS TIME THAN
THAT, BECAUSE IT'S BASED ON A
MINORITY OF A MINORITY.
IT DOESN'T HAVE A STATE THAT
CAN RE-SUPPLY IT, IT'S
OPERATING ON THE STOLEN
RESOURCES OF THE PREVIOUS
REGIME.
AND BECAUSE IT'S LINKED TO
ANOTHER DOOMED ORGANISATION, AL
QAEDA, AND BECAUSE IT'S UP
AGAINST MILITARY SUPERIORITY OF
A KIND THAT YOU WOULDN'T
BELIEVE UNTIL YOU'VE ACTUALLY
SEEN IT.
THERE'S THE MOST OVER--
I DON'T KNOW WHY, IN FACT, IT'S
CALLED INSURGENCY AT ALL.
IT ANNOYS ME THAT SUCH A
FLATTERING TERM IS USED FOR
SUCH A SORDID AND UM...
EVIDENTLY SELF-DEFEATING OPERATION.

Now a caption appears on screen that reads "Didn't the invasion of Iraq inflame anti-American sentiments?"

Christopher says
YOU MAY KNOW SOMETHING I DON'T
ABOUT WHAT CAUSES ANTI-AMERICAN
FEELING, OR ANTI-WESTERN
FEELING IN THE MIDDLE EAST, BUT
I DON'T THINK IT'S MOST TO THE
INTERVENTION.
I THINK THAT'S GIVING A FREE PASS
TO THE AL QAEDA MENTALITY.
YOU SHOULD TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY,
YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT REALLY DOES
CONSTITUTE THEIR GRIEVANCE.
I CAN TELL YOU, WELL YOU KNOW
WHAT THEIR GRIEVANCE IS, WHAT
MAKES THEM ANGRY, WHAT MAKES
THEM WANT TO KILL.
THE SIGHT OF A FEMALE FACE, FOR
EXAMPLE, OR A SHIA MUSLIM, OR A
SYNAGOGUE, OR A SKYSCRAPER, OR
A CHRISTIAN OR A HINDU,
PARTICULARLY THE HINDUS, THAT'S
WHAT MAKES THEM ANGRY.
NOW I'M SORRY, I HAVE NO
PATIENCE WHATEVER, OR AT ALL,
WITH PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT WHAT
BRINGS THEM ABOUT IS RESISTANCE
TO THEM.
FOR ONE THING IT'S NOT TRUE,
FOR ANOTHER, IT EUPHEMISES
THEIR ACTUAL PROPAGANDA, WHICH
I'VE JUST DELINEATED FOR YOU,
WHICH AS YOU KNOW IS
Unarguable.
YOU CAN READ FOR
YOURSELF WHAT THEIR COMPLAINT IS.
AND FOR THE THIRD, WOULD HAVE
TO MEAN SURRENDER.
IF RESISTING THEM ONLY MAKES
THEM MORE ACTIVE, THEN WE MIGHT
AS WELL GIVE UP NOW.
THEY'VE WON, HAVEN'T THEY?
WELL THEY'RE NOT GOING TO WIN,
AND THEIR POPULAR BASE IS GOING
TO BE TESTED FOR THEM.
THEY DIDN'T EVEN RUN IN THE
AFGHAN ELECTIONS, AND I COULD
TELL YOU WHAT WOULD HAVE
HAPPENED TO THEM IF THEY DID.
THEY DIDN'T TRY TO RUN IN IRAQ,
BUT I'LL TELL YOU WHAT WOULD
HAVE HAPPENED IF THEY DID.
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO RUN IN THE
LEBANESE ONES, AND I CAN TELL
YOU WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THEY DID.
WHY ARE YOU BEING A
VENTRILOQUIST FOR THEM AND
SAYING THAT THEIR APPEAL IS
GROWING, AND WHY DO YOU IMPLY
THAT IT'S THE RESISTANCE TO
THIS FASCISM THAT BRINGS IT ABOUT?
THIS IS DEFEAT IN THE MIND.
DROP IT, I WOULD, I'D STOP
SAYING THAT.

[Applause]

Now a clean-shaven and bald man in his late fifties says
I DIDN'T HEAR YOUR
ENTIRE LECTURE, SO I DON'T KNOW
IF YOU DISCUSSED SYRIA AT ANY POINT.

Christopher says NO,
BUT I'D BE HAPPY TO.

The man continues
OKAY, THEY'RE KIND OF A
QUESTION MARK TO ME, BECAUSE I
HAVE THE IMPRESSION THAT
THEY'RE BASICALLY A SECULAR
GOVERNMENT, AND UM...
I WOULDN'T SEE THEM AS A NATION
THAT WOULD BE PART OF A
MOVEMENT TO BE YOU KNOW,
ESPOUSING AND SERVING AN
ISLAMIC TYPE MOVEMENT AROUND
THE WORLD, BUT THEY'RE ALWAYS
BEING ACCUSED OF HARBOURING
INSURGENTS.
YOU KNOW, THEY'RE ACCUSED OF
HARBOURING IRAQI INSURGENTS AND
HELPING THEM TRAIN AND SO FORTH.

Christopher says YEAH.

The man concludes
AND ALSO THIS ISSUE
WITH LEBANON.
I DON'T REMEMBER HEARING
ANYTHING ABOUT THIS, AND ALL OF
A SUDDEN, NOW THEY HAVE TO
LEAVE LEBANON IMMEDIATELY.
I KIND OF DON'T UNDERSTAND
WHAT'S UP WITH THAT.

Christopher says RIGHT,
WELL JUST FOR A START, A WORD
ON THIS BA'ATHIST SECULAR
QUESTION, WHICH COMES UP A LOT.
THERE ARE TWO THINGS YOU HAVE
TO BEAR IN MIND IF YOU'RE GOING
TO SAY THIS IS A SECULAR POLICY.
THE FIRST IS THAT IT'S EXPLICITLY
BASED, AND YOU CAN LOOK AT--
YOU CAN LOOK UP, AS I HAVE, THE
ORIGINAL WRITINGS OF THE
FOUNDERS AND INSPIRERS OF THE
BA'ATH PARTY.
THEY HAVE MODELLED THEMSELVES
BASICALLY ON EUROPEAN FASCISM.
I DON'T THINK EUROPEAN FASCISM
WAS A CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT,
EXACTLY, THOUGH IT DID HAVE THE
SUPPORT OF THE VATICAN.
I DON'T THINK-- I THINK IT'S A
BIT MUCH TO CALL IT SECULAR,
SOMEHOW.
BUT IT'S ONLY IN THAT SENSE AT
ANY RATE, THAT ONE CAN CALL IT
SECULAR.
IT PROPOSES, INSTEAD, THE
WORSHIP OF THE STATE, THE PARTY
AND THE LEADER.
AND IT CERTAINLY-- IT'S NOT
AGAINST RELIGION IN THE LEAST.
IN IRAQ, THE SADDAM HUSSEIN
REGIME, IN ITS CLOSING 15
YEARS, MUTATED COMPLETELY INTO
AN ISLAMIST REGIME.
IT CHANGED ALL OF ITS RHETORIC
TO JIHADISM, IT BEGAN TO BUILD
SPENT A FORTUNE BUILDING
MOSQUES, INCLUDING THE LARGEST
MOSQUE IN THE WORLD, THE SADDAM
HUSSEIN MOSQUE, PROFANELY
NAMED, THE CENTREPIECE A KORAN,
A MINIATURE KORAN, WRITTEN IN
HIS OWN BLOOD.
I DON'T KNOW IF IT WAS HIS OWN
BLOOD, IT'S BLOOD ALL RIGHT,
THOUGH.
HE WAS-- AS THE PICTURES AND
STATUES OF HIM STARTED TO TAKE
THE FORM OF SHOWING HIM IN
CLERICAL ROBES, THE VERSE OF
THE-- NOT THE VERSE OF THE
KORAN, BUT THE UH...
SLOGAN
[unintelligible]
WAS PUT ON
THE IRAQI FLAG, WHERE IT HAD
NEVER BEEN BEFORE.
AND THEY WERE SPONSORING, ALL
OVER THE WORLD, ISLAMIST, NOT
SECULAR MOVEMENTS.
KNOWN NOTABLY, SUPPORTING THE
ISLAMIC JIHAD FORCES IN
PALESTINE AGAINST THE SECULAR
PLO, AND PAYING -- SADDAM
HUSSEIN, PAYING PERSONALLY, FOR
EVERY SUICIDE BOMBER, WHO WAS
KNOWN AS A MARTYR IN THE, JUST
AS THE NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS IN
IRAQ WERE CALLED IN THE
BA'ATHIST PRESS, OUR NUCLEAR
MUJAHIDIN, WHICH IS A
WONDERFUL EXPRESSION, I THINK
YOU'LL HAVE TO AGREE.
AND IT WAS BASED ON THE TRIBAL
MINORITY OF THE SUNNI.
NOW OBVIOUSLY SOMEONE WHO
DOESN'T WANT MAJORITY RULE,
WHEN THE MAJORITY IS SHIA
MUSLIM, HAS EVERY REASON TO
PRETEND TO BE A SECULARIST, AND
NOT SAY ANYTHING--
OH, I'M NOT A SECTARIAN, IT'S
NOT THAT I WANT TO PROTECT MY
OWN SUNNI MUSLIM TRIBE.
BUT DON'T BE FOOLED BY THIS,
AND DON'T BE FOOLED BY SYRIA,
EITHER.
THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT IS A
COMPLETELY RELIGIOUS REGIME.
IT'S BASED ON THE ALAWITE
MINORITY, WHICH IS A VERY SMALL
MINORITY IN SYRIA.
IT'S A RELIGIOUS CLAN.
IT RULES, THAT'S NOT SECULAR.
IF YOU WANT ME TO SAY THAT
ALAWISM IS, I CAN'T TELL YOU
ONLY THAT REALLY IT IS A UM...
A FORM, A VARIANT OF SHIA
ISLAM.
OR THE INDIVIDUALISED FORM OF
IT.
BUT THIS MINORITY RULE IN SYRIA
IS BREAKING UP AND HASN'T LONG
TO LAST, BUT WHILE IT DOES
LAST, THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT
IT SPONSORS WHAT YOU SAY IT
DOES NOT SPONSOR, CLERICAL
TERRORISM AROUND THE WORLD.
ITS MAIN ALLY IS IRAN, IT'S
MAIN TRADING PARTNER AND
ARMOURER IS IRAN.
IT'S JUST MADE A FORMAL
MILITARY AGREEMENT WITH IRAN,
AND WITH IRAN, IT CO-SPONSORS
HEZBOLLAH, WHICH HAPPENS TO BE,
CONVENIENTLY, A PRO-SYRIAN
PARTY IN IT'S CURRENTLY THE
CURRENT CRISIS IN LEBANON,
WHERE, YOU SAY, WHERE HAS THIS
ALL COME FROM, WHY HAVE THEY
SUDDENLY BEEN TOLD TO GET OUT
OF LEBANON?
WELL BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF
LEBANON HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF IT,
BECAUSE THERE WAS AN ELECTION
COMING -- THERE IS ONE COMING
IN MAY, BECAUSE A FORCE WAS
BEING PUT TOGETHER OUT OF
DIVERSE GROUPS, THE DRUZE LED
BY THE SOCIALIST PARTY LEADER,
WALID JUMBLAT, MANY OF THE
SUNNI, THE CHRISTIAN --
PROBABLY MAJORITY IN LEBANON,
AND OTHERS.
AND MR. RAFIK HARIRI WAS GOING
TO JOIN THIS COALITION, AND IF
HE HAD DONE SO, IT WOULD HAVE
BEEN VERY HARD FOR IT NOT TO
WIN.
SO LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO HAS
EVER CRITICISED SYRIAN RULE IN
LEBANON, HE'S BEEN MURDERED.
I DON'T SAY THE SYRIANS DID IT,
I SAY THAT THAT'S WHAT ALWAYS
HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO CRITICISE
SYRIAN RULE.
THOSE ARE THE FACTS. THAT'S
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PREVIOUS
HEAD OF THE SOCIALIST PARTY,
KAMAL JUMBLAT.
THAT'S, I THINK WHY YOU'LL FIND
THAT SUDDENLY, ALL OF A SUDDEN,
IN A WAY THAT SEEMS TO HAVE
UPSET YOU, I'M SORRY, THEY'VE
BEEN TOLD THEIR TIME IN LEBANON
IS UP, AND THEY SHOULD GO, AS
THEY SHOULD.

Now a clean-shaven man in his late twenties says
A WEEK AGO, RUSSIA
PROCEEDED WITH ITS AGREEMENT
WITH IRAN TO PROVIDE THEM WITH
ENRICHED URANIUM.
THEY'RE ALSO SUPPLYING MID-
RANGE MISSILES TO SYRIA, AND
THIS IS ALL FOLLOWING A BRIEF
MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT A
ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO IN EUROPE.
THERE'S CRITICISM ON BOTH SIDES
OF THE AISLE, THAT THE
PRESIDENT BLINKED, DURING THIS
MEETING, AND I WAS HOPING TO
GAUGE YOUR THOUGHT AND OPINION
ON WHERE ARE THE U.S. RELATIONS
HEADING WITH RUSSIA,
PARTICULARLY WITH RESPECT TO
THE MIDDLE EAST, AND
ESSENTIALLY, WHAT ARE WE
LOOKING AT?
ARE WE AGAIN LOOKING AT A STARE
DOWN WITH RUSSIA, OR DO YOU
HOPE THAT THIS SITUATION WILL
COME AROUND BECAUSE THE
SENTIMENT IS--
FOR DEMOCRACY IS TOO GREAT?

Christopher says THE
STUPIDEST THINK, I THINK, THAT
GEORGE BUSH HAS EVER SAID --
SOME MIGHT LAUGH, AT THIS POINT
AND SAY, HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING
TO GO ON BEFORE YOU PICK ONE,
BUT ACTUALLY I THINK HE SAID
MANY QUITE SHREWD THINGS,
INCLUDING ABOUT THE AXIS OF
EVIL.
AFTER ALL, THINK ABOUT WHAT
WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT JUST
NOW.
WHO SAYS HE WASN'T RIGHT TO
CALL THAT AN AXIS OF EVIL --
NOBODY SAYS THAT NOW.
EVERYTHING WE'VE FOUND OUT
ABOUT THESE COUNTRIES IS MUCH
WORSE THAN WHAT WE THOUGHT.
FOR MOST PEOPLE TO FIND OUT, ANYWAY.
HOWEVER, I SHOULD SAY, THE
STUPIDEST THING THE PRESIDENT
SAID WAS, AS SOON AS HE SAW
THAT VLADIMIR PUTIN WAS WEARING
A CRUCIFIX AROUND HIS NECK, HE
KNEW HE WAS A MAN WHO COULD BE
TRUSTED.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher shakes his shirt and continues I HAVE GARLIC UNDER THIS UH...
IN CASE YOU'RE WONDERING.
AND HE LOOKED HIM IN THE EYE,
AND HE KNEW HE WAS A GREAT MAN.
I MEAN, I THOUGHT, OH GOD.
THAT'S WHAT-- THAT REALLY IS
WHAT YOU GET IF YOU'RE FAITH
BASED.
YOU GET A KGB WEASEL AS YOUR
PARTNER, AND IT'S TOO LATE TO
SAY THAT YOU THINK HE'S NO
GOOD, AFTER YOU'VE ENDORSED HIM
IN THAT MANNER.
NOW SINCE THAT TIME, MR. PUTIN
INTERVENED OUTRAGEOUSLY IN THE
ATTEMPT OF THE PEOPLE OF
UKRAINE TO MAKE A SELF
DETERMINING GOVERNMENT OF THEIR
OWN.
I DO NOT BELIEVE, I SAY IT
FLATLY -- I DO NOT BELIEVE
ANYONE IN THE UKRAINIAN KGB
WOULD HAVE DARED TO TRY TO
POISON THE OPPOSITION LEADER IF
THEY THOUGHT THE RUSSIANS
DIDN'T KNOW, OR MIGHT
DISAPPROVE.
IT IS NOT POSSIBLE IN THAT
MILIEU, FOR THE APPROVAL OF
PUTIN TO AT LEAST NEGATIVELY,
NOT TO HAVE BEEN SOUGHT, AND I
THINK THAT QUESTION MUST BE
ASKED MUCH MORE AGGRESSIVELY
THAN IT HAS BEEN.
MR. PUTIN'S POLICY OF
UNILATERALISM IN RESPECT OF
IRAQ, AT THE UNITED NATIONS,
PUTTING RUSSIAN INTERESTS, OR
THE INTERESTS ACTUALLY, OF A
CLAN OF SOVIET--
FORMER SOVIET MOBSTERS WHO ARE
OWED A LOT OF MONEY BY SADDAM'S
REGIME AND WHO WERE TRADING ON
THE OIL FOR FOOD PROGRAM, WHICH
IS LARGELY RUN THROUGH RUSSIA,
WAS SCANDALOUS.
THAT'S UNILATERALISM AT THE
U.N., NOT WHAT THE UNITED
STATES WAS DOING, WHICH WAS
TRYING TO GET THE EXISTING
RESOLUTIONS ENFORCED.
UM... AND YES, NOW SYRIA AND
NOW IRAN, AND VERY UNHELPFUL
ABOUT NORTH KOREA, TOO, AND
DRAGGING THEIR FEET ON AN
AGREEMENT WE'VE HAD FOR A LONG
TIME, LIKE-- I'M SORRY I KEEP
SAYING "WE."
I WAS IN AMERICA THIS MORNING,
AND I'LL BE THERE AGAIN
TOMORROW.
YOU'LL PARDON THAT.
TO BUILD DOWN THE EXISTING
NUCLEAR STOCKS, A LOT OF WHICH
ARE STILL TARGETED AT US ALL,
STILL IN THE SILOS.
THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE
YEARS AGO, AND IT HASN'T BEEN.
AND THIS IS TO SAY NOTHING
ABOUT HOW HE DOESN'T LET THE
RUSSIANS TO INTERFERE IN THEIR
OWN INTERNAL AFFAIRS, WHICH HE
DOES NOT.
I MEAN HE'S QUITE CLEARLY
EMBARKED ON A COURSE OF ONE MAN
AND ONE PARTY RULE FOR HIS OWN
COUNTRY.
SO THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
AND IT SHOWS THAT THERE HAS
BEEN A GREAT RUSSIAN CHAUVINIST
RESENTMENT, EVER SINCE THE
EVENTS OF 1989.
THE FEELING THAT THEY ARE ON
THE LOSING SIDE, AND THAT THEY
ARE BECOMING A VICTIM COUNTRY.
THIS, I THINK, IS INCALCULABLY DANGEROUS.

A clean-shaven man in his fifties says
YOU MENTIONED THREE
VERY REPRESSIVE REGIMES, OF
WHICH, ONE, THE UNITED STATES
INTERVENED, IN IRAQ.
ARE YOU JUSTIFYING ALSO THAT
THE UNITED STATES OR WHOEVER,
SHOULD ALSO INVADE IRAN, NORTH
KOREA, AND ON THAT BASIS, IF
YOUR ANSWER IS YES, WHO BECOMES
THE ARBITER, AND WHAT IS THE
CRITERIA THEN, FOR NOT INVADING
SAUDI ARABIA, EGYPT, WHATEVER
REPRESSIVE REGIME.

Christopher says IF YOU
RETURN ME TO THE QUESTION OF UM...

[Speaking Latin]

Christopher continues BY WHAT RIGHT, WHICH MUST BE
ASKED OF EVERYTHING.
AS YOU KNOW, THERE ARE FOUR
CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A
GOVERNMENT CAN BE SAID TO HAVE
SACRIFICED ITS SOVEREIGNTY, AND
TO HAVE PUT ITSELF OUTSIDE OF
INTERNATIONAL LAW SUCH THAT THE
UNITED NATIONS CAN CONTEMPLATE
REMOVING SUCH A GOVERNMENT, OR
INTERVENING IN ITS INTERNAL
AFFAIRS AT LEAST.
THESE FOUR ARE THE FOLLOWING.
INVASION OR INVASIONS OF
NEIGHBOURING STATES, OR
OCCUPATIONS OF NEIGHBOURING
STATES, UM, VIOLATION OF THE
GENOCIDE CONVENTION, WHICH
MANDATES ACTION BOTH TO PREVENT
AND TO PUNISH IT, BY ALL THE
SIGNATORY POWERS, OF WHICH
CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES
ARE... ONE, TWO.
VIOLATIONS OF THE TREATY ON
NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION, NPT,
AND SPONSORSHIP OF
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.
ANY OF THOSE FOUR QUALIFY YOU
TO ASK-- FOR ANY MEMBER OF THE
SECURITY COUNCIL TO ASK THE
UNITED NATIONS TO CONSIDER
TAKING ACTION.
WELL WITH IRAQ, THAT'S EASY.
ALL OF THOSE FOUR VIOLATED
REPEATEDLY, SERIALLY,
FLAGRANTLY.
GOT AWAY WITH A LOT OF THEM.
SHOULD HAVE PROBABLY BEEN
ARRAIGNED EARLIER THAN THEY
WERE, BUT IRAQ WAS NOT A
SOVEREIGN COUNTRY IN 2003, IT
WAS UNDER INTERNATIONAL
SANCTIONS ALREADY.
LARGE PARTS OF ITS AIR SPACE
WERE PATROLLED BY AMERICAN AND
BRITISH PLANES.
IT DIDN'T REALLY HAVE CONTROL
OVER ITS OWN BORDERS, IT WAS AN
OUTLAW STATE IN LAW.
IRAN ONLY QUALIFIES UNDER TWO
OF THESE AT PRESENT, IT SEEMS
TO ME.
IT DOESN'T THREATEN ANY
NEIGHBOURING COUNTRY, UNLESS
YOU SAY THAT ITS ALLIANCE WITH
SYRIA HELPS PERPETUATE THE
OCCUPATION OF LEBANON,
TECHNICALLY IT DOES.
IT'S BEEN FOOLING AROUND WITH
THE NPT, BUT IT IS CONSTANTLY
IN NEGOTIATION, AND IT IS
SUBMITTING TO INSPECTIONS, AND
IT DOES SPONSOR INTERNATIONAL
TERRORISM, BUT I WOULD SAY IN
THE MOST AMBIGUOUS FORM, IN
THAT HEZBOLLAH IS NOT LIKE AL
QAEDA OR ISLAMIC JIHAD.
HEZBOLLAH IS A SHIA POLITICAL
MOVEMENT WITH A MILITARY WING,
AND IT'S THE WOULD-BE--
THERE WOULD BE SOME ARGUMENT IN
THE UNITED NATIONS, I THINK
THERE SHOULD BE, AS TO WHETHER
IT QUALIFIES AS A TERRORIST
ORGANISATION, PURELY AND
SIMPLY.
I WOULD SAY THAT IT DID NOT.
SO THIS IS VERY DIFFICULT.
NORTH KOREA COMMITS GENOCIDE
ONLY AGAINST ITS OWN PEOPLE,
NOT OTHERS, BUT IT DOES DO
THAT.
IT'S A POLITICAL POLICY OF
STARVATION.
IT'S IN FLAGRANT BREACH OF ALL
AGREEMENTS ON NON-NUCLEAR
WEAPONS, AND IT PLANS TO INVADE
SOUTH KOREA.
IT MAINTAINS ITSELF ON INVASION
FOOTING AT ALL TIMES.
UM... SO YOU WOULD BE AS GOOD A
JUDGE AS I, BUT THESE ARE THE
CRITERIA.
AND AS YOU'LL SEE, IT SHOULD
GET PEOPLE TO STOP DOING THIS
RATHER ANNOYING THING.
WHENEVER ONE MAKES A CASE
AGAINST SADDAM HUSSEIN AS
CAREFULLY AS ONE CAN, THEY SAY,
WELL WHY DON'T YOU GO AND
INVADE ROBERT MUGABE, THEN?
I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE DO THAT.
DON'T DO IT, PLEASE, DON'T DO THAT.

Now a man in his twenties with short black hair and a stubble says
IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING
THAT BACK IN 1920s, WHEN IBN
BIN SAUD WAS TRYING TO CREATE
HIS PERSONAL STATE, IMPOSED ON
ARABIA, HE MADE A DEAL WITH
WAHABIISTS SAYING THAT IF YOU
SUPPORT MY POLITICAL AGENDA TO
CREATE THE STATE OF SAUDI
ARABIA, I'LL SUPPORT YOU IN
YOUR EDUCATION PROGRAMS AND
ALLOW A SENSE OF FREE REIGN
WITHIN MY TERRITORY.
NOW FAST FORWARD TO 2005, NOW
YOU HAVE AL QAEDA AND ALL THESE
GROUPS THAT SPRING FROM
WAHABIISM, AND YOU HAVE THE
UNITED STATES THAT'S NOW
PRESSURING AUTOCRATIC REGIMES
IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO
DEMOCRATISE, AND MY SPECIFIC
QUESTION IS THIS.
IS IT STILL IN THE HOUSE OF
SAUD'S BEST INTEREST TO SUPPORT
WAHABIISTS AND THEIR
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WITHIN
SAUDI ARABIA, ESSENTIALLY THEIR
DOMESTIC FORCES, OR IS IT NOW
THAT, TO USE A TOTALLY
POLITICALLY INCORRECT TERM,
THEY FEEL THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE
MADE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL IN
THAT NOW THEY'RE HAVING ALL
THESE PRESSURES FROM THE UNITED
STATES, AND THEY'RE ESSENTIALLY
WALKING A TIGHTROPE?
SO I JUST WANT TO KNOW YOUR
ANSWER ON THAT.

Christopher says UH,
ANYWAY, I DON'T THINK THERE'S
ANYTHING POLITICALLY INCORRECT
IN SAYING, "DEAL WITH THE DEVIL."
YOUR ANALYSIS OF IT IS, AS FAR
AS I CAN SEE, FLAWLESS.
AS FAR AS I KNOW THAT'S EXACTLY
WHAT DID HAPPEN, AND IT'S ALSO
THE QUESTION THAT THEY ARE
GOING TO CONFRONT, IS IT WORTH
IT, BECAUSE THEY'VE INVESTED
BILLIONS OF THEIR PETRO-DOLLARS
IN CREATING MADRASAS FOR THE
INCULCATION OF A VERY
FUNDAMENTALIST VERSION OF THE
KORAN -- IN INDONESIA, IN
ALGERIA, IN SOME PARTS OF
TURKEY, AND AFRICA, NIGERIA,
WHICH I THINK IS THE NEXT PLACE
WHERE THERE'S GOING TO BE A
CONFRONTATION OF THIS KIND, BY
THE WAY.
WE SHOULD BE PAYING A LOT MORE
ATTENTION TO NIGERIA THAN WE
ARE DOING.
AND ALSO IN THE UNITED STATES
AND CANADA, WHERE VERY OFTEN
NOW, THE WAHABI VERSION OF THE
BIBLE, WHICH EXPLICITLY -- THE
KORAN, THE HOLY BOOK, WHICH
EXPLICITLY ENDORSES AND CALLS
FOR VIOLENCE AGAINST
UNBELIEVERS, IS BEING USED BY
IMAMS IN OUR PRISON SYSTEM.
I MEAN, LET'S NOT MINCE WORDS
HERE, THERE'S AN ATTEMPT BEING
MADE TO BUILD A SECRET ARMY
WITHIN WESTERN SOCIETY OUT OF
CRIMINAL ELEMENTS, AND TO
SUPPLY IT FROM OUTSIDE, AND TO
KEEP IT, AND TO GIVE IT AN
IDEOLOGY THAT WOULD REALLY
DISCIPLINE IT.
AND THIS HAS TO BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY.
I THINK THAT THE BUSH
ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN
HOPELESSLY LAGGARD ON THIS
QUESTION.
THE PRESIDENT HAS NEVER USED
THE WORD SAUDI ARABIA IN THE
SAME SENTENCE AS THE WORD
TERRORISM, AND HE'S USED THE
WORD TERRORISM A LOT NOW.
I THINK JUST BY CHURNING
AROUND, ONE DAY, THE WORD SAUDI
OUGHT TO TURN UP.
HE JUST DOESN'T SEEM TO DO IT.
HE'S USED IT IN CONJUNCTION
WITH ALMOST EVER OTHER WORD, SO
THAT HE MAKES IT SOUND LIKE
TOURISM NOW, WHEN HE SPEAKS, TO
HEAR HIM SAY, THE WAR ON
TOURISM.

[Audience Laughter]

Christopher continues WELL, WHICH I WISH ALSO WOULD
BREAK DOWN.
I THINK HE SHOULD SAY VERY
PLAINLY TO THEM THAT THERE WILL
BE NOT ONE MORE SCHOOL OR
INSTITUTION THAT IS OPENED WITH
SAUDI MONEY ON AMERICAN SOIL,
UNLESS CHURCHES, SYNAGOGUES,
SHIA MOSQUES, AND CENTRES OF
ATHEIST HUMANISM CAN BE LEGALLY
OPENED IN SAUDI ARABIA.
IF THEY DON'T SAY YES TO THAT,
IT'S OVER, FINISHED.
AND WORSE WILL FOLLOW.
BUT WE CANNOT HAVE A SITUATION
WHERE THEY ARE TRAINING
GUERRILLAS IN SCHOOLS IN THE
UNITED STATES AND IN PRISONS,
AND TRYING TO DO IT IN THE ARMY
UNDER THE PROTECTION OF THE
FIRST AMENDMENT, AND IT'S
ILLEGAL TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN
SAUDI ARABIA, IT'S ILLEGAL TO
BE AN ATHEIST, IT'S ILLEGAL TO
BE A JEW, AND IT'S VERY NEARLY
ILLEGAL TO BE A SHIA.
THOUGH ONE OF THE VERY GOOD
THINGS THAT'S BEEN HAPPENING
LATELY IS THE SIGNS OF STIRRING
AMONG THE SHIA PEOPLE OF SAUDI
ARABIA, WHO HAPPEN TO DO THE
HEAVY LIFTING IN THE OIL
FIELDS, THEY'RE ALL THE STOOP
WORK DOWN THERE, AND THEY'RE
BEGINNING TO GET IDEAS OUT OF
IRAQ, AND I HOPE WE'RE
ENCOURAGING THEM TO DO SO, AND
MAKE LIFE HELL FOR THE KINGDOM
AND FOR THE WAHABISTS, WHERE
THEY LIVE, EVERY DAY, DO
SOMETHING MEAN TO THEM.

Changing the subject, Christopher says
WHAT IS THE REAL RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN CHINA AND NORTH KOREA,
AND COULD THE CHINESE IMPOSE
CHANGE THERE?
THE ANSWER TO THAT IS,
CERTAINLY THAT THEY COULD -- I
MEAN PART OF THE REASON FOR THE
COLLAPSE OF THE NORTH KOREAN
ECONOMY WAS THE COLLAPSE OF
COMMUNISM IN CHINA AND RUSSIA,
AND THE END OF THE TRADITIONAL
SUBSIDIES THAT HAD BEEN GIVEN
THEM -- THAT PLUS THEIR OWN
FANTASTIC AGRICULTURAL
INCOMPETENCE.
AND THE CHINESE CONTROL MOST OF
THE AVENUES THROUGH WHICH TRADE
GOES IN AND OUT OF NORTH KOREA,
AND THERE IS ALSO ON THE OTHER
SIDE OF THE TU MIN RIVER THAT
SEPARATES THE TWO COUNTRIES,
THERE IS A KOREAN SPEAKING AREA
IN THAT PROVINCE ON THE BORDER,
THERE'S A LARGE, SORT OF KOREAN
SPEAKING MINORITY, ETHNIC
KOREANS, IN FACT, IN CHINA,
WHICH GIVES THEM AN INTEREST.
BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE
REFUGEES ARE GOING.
OBVIOUSLY CHINA HOPES THAT
NORTH KOREA DOESN'T COMPLETELY
IMPLODE, BECAUSE IF IT DOES,
THE WHOLE POPULATION WILL TRY
AND ESCAPE INTO CHINA, FACING
THEM WITH A HUGE DEMOGRAPHIC
CRISIS, A MINORITY CRISIS THAT
THEY DON'T NEED.
SO THEY'RE VERY INTERESTED IN
GETTING A SOFT LANDING FOR THE
REGIME.
AND THIS MAY EXPLAIN WHY THEY
SEEM RELUCTANT TO DO ANYTHING
VERY PUBLIC.
BUT THEY HAVE A REAL INTEREST
ON THE DISARMAMENT QUESTION,
WHICH IS THIS.
IF NORTH KOREA CONTINUES ON
WITH THIS PROMISCUOUS POLICY,
IT WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY FORCE
THE JAPANESE TO DECLARE
THEMSELVES A NUCLEAR POWER.
THE JAPANESE, WE KNOW, HAVE THE
RESOURCES TO, AND THEY POSSESS
THE KNOWLEDGE TO PUT TOGETHER A
NUCLEAR WEAPON IN A DAY.
THEY JUST DON'T DO IT, BECAUSE
THEIR CONSTITUTION FORBIDS THEM
TO DO IT, AND THERE'S A VERY
LARGE PUBLIC OPINION THAT IS,
FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, VERY ANTI-
NUCLEAR.
BUT IF YOU REMEMBER WHEN THE
KOREANS LAST TESTED THEIR LONG
RANGE MISSILE, THE MISSILE THAT
THEY'VE BEEN SELLING, BY THE
WAY TO IRAN, AND THAT THEY WERE
GOING TO BE SELLING TO SADDAM
HUSSEIN, HAD HE STAYED IN
POWER.
THEY TESTED IT WITHOUT WARNING,
BY FIRING IT ACROSS JAPAN, SO
IT LANDED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF
JAPAN IN THE SEA.
THAT'S HOW THE JAPANESE FOUND
OUT.
THAT DOES MAKE THEM NERVOUS,
BECAUSE THAT MEANS, THEY DON'T
HAVE TO ASK THE QUESTION, I
WONDER IF THEY CAN REACH US.
NOW CHINA QUITE OBVIOUSLY DOES
NOT WANT A NUCLEAR JAPAN, SO
YOU CAN DO THE TRIANGULATION OF
IT VERY SIMPLY.
IT'S OBVIOUSLY IN CHINA'S
NATIONAL INTEREST TO KEEP JAPAN
NON-NUCLEAR.
SO FOR THEM TO DO THAT, THEY'LL
HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT NORTH
KOREA BECOMES NON-NUCLEAR, TOO.
SO IT WOULD BE NICE, I THINK,
IF CHINA ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS
WAS THE FACT, AND WE'RE NOT
ASKING THEM TO DO US A FAVOUR,
WE'RE ASKING THEM TO DO
THEMSELVES A FAVOUR, AS WELL AS
OF COURSE, THE PEOPLE OF NORTH KOREA.

Now a clean-shaven man in his twenties says
MY QUESTION, WE WERE
TALKING ABOUT NEGOTIATIONS AND
YOUR STICKS AND YOUR CARROTS,
AND YOU WERE SAYING, YOU'VE GOT
A BOOT TO KICK THEM IF THEY
DON'T FOLLOW THROUGH.
WELL, GOING BACK TO '94, THE
AGREED FRAMEWORK WITH NORTH
KOREA, AND THEY BROKE IT FIVE
MINUTES LATER, AND WE FOUND OUT
IN THE FALL OF 2002 THAT THEY
WEREN'T AGREEING WITH IT.
WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE
REACTION, COME TO THE TABLE
AGAIN, AND WE'LL NEGOTIATE FROM
THIS POINT, OR SOMETHING ELSE,
WITH A STICK.

Christopher says WELL
THERE'S A HIDEOUS DIFFICULTY
HERE, WHICH YOU PROBABLY
UNDERSTAND SOME OF, AT LEAST,
WHICH IS THE SAME AS THE ONE I
DWELT ON WITH SADDAM HUSSEIN.
WE DON'T THINK THAT THE MULLAHS
ARE -- I PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE
SAID A WORD ABOUT THIS.
I DON'T, AT ANY RATE, THINK THE
MULLAHS ARE MAD IN IRAN, I
THINK THEY ARE QUITE COOL,
QUITE CALCULATING, VERY
CYNICAL, VERY CORRUPT GUYS.
THEY PROFIT ENORMOUSLY FROM THE
PRESENT STATUS QUO, THEY'LL DO
THEIR BEST TO HANG ONTO IT, BUT
THEY'RE NOT--
THEY'RE NOT DERANGED, THEY'RE
NOT DELUSIONAL.
THEIR RELIGION IS PARTLY-- IT
DOES MAKE THEM BELIEVE AND DO
SOME VERY STUPID THINGS THAT
OFTEN ARE AGAINST THEIR SELF-
INTEREST, BUT THAT'S WHAT
RELIGION DOES.
AND IT'S NOT--
IT'S NOT AS TOXIC AS WAHABISM.
WITH NORTH KOREA, THOUGH,
THERE'S EVERY REASON TO THINK
THAT THERE IS AN ELEMENT OF
INSANITY, NOT JUST IN THE
LEADERSHIP, BUT IN THE VERY
SYSTEM ITSELF.
IT'S SET UP TO DRIVE PEOPLE
MAD.
AND THUS, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT
TO CALIBRATE A REWARD AND
PUNISHMENT SYSTEM WITH THEM.
AND UM, I'VE BEEN ON BOTH SIDES
OF THE DEMILITARISED ZONE OF
KOREA NOW.
IT'S A HUGE CONCENTRATION OF
VIOLENCE.
AND THE PROBLEM IS, THE CAPITAL
CITY OF SEOUL, THE CAPITAL CITY
OF SOUTH KOREA, IS ABOUT AN
HOUR'S, MAYBE TWO HOUR'S
DRIVE-- IT'S VERY NEAR THE
BORDER.
AND IT'S A HUGE CITY NOW, AND
IT'S ALSO THE CAPITAL OF A
FLOURISHING DEMOCRACY NOW,
AFTER A LONG STRUGGLE.
AND IT COULD BE SATURATED WITH
CONVENTIONAL FIRE FROM NORTH
KOREA, AND EVERY TIME THERE HAS
BEEN WAR GAMES, AND I'VE BEEN
TO SOME OF THESE WAR GAMES IN
THE DMZ, YOU START WITH LOSING
SEOUL, WITHOUT THE NUCLEAR
QUESTION COMING INTO IT.
NOW IF THE NORTH KOREANS DO
THAT, THAT'S THE END OF THEIR
REGIME, NOT JUST THE REGIME,
IT'S THE END OF THE STATE,
NORTH KOREA DOESN'T EXIST AS A COUNTRY.
THAT WOULD BE THE END FOR THEM,
IF THEY DID DO THIS, BUT WE
WOULD HAVE LOST OUR BROTHERS
AND SISTERS IN SEOUL.
NOW IF THE UNITED STATES WAS
THE COUNTRY THAT SOME PEOPLE
THINK IT IS, THEY'D SAY, WELL
WHO CARES?
WE DON'T LIVE THERE, AND KOREA
WOULD NEVER BE A PROBLEM AGAIN.
BUT WE CAN'T DO THAT.
WE CAN'T TAKE THAT CHANCE.
OTHERWISE, YOU COULD SEND A
SQUADRON OF PLANES OVER NORTH
KOREA AND YOU COULD DE-
NUCLEARIZE IT IN AN AFTERNOON.
THAT ISN'T A PROBLEM.
AND YOU COULD--
AND THE BEST TIME TO DO THAT,
SOME PEOPLE ARGUE, WOULD BE
RIGHT NOW, BEFORE THE REACTORS
FULLY COME ON STREAM.
BUT WE CAN'T BET--
WE CAN'T BET THAT THEY WOULDN'T
DESTROY THEMSELVES IN AN
ATTEMPT TO DESTROY US IN THE
PROCESS.
AND IT'S MORALLY NOT POSSIBLE
TO TAKE THAT CHANCE.

[Coughing]

He continues AND IF YOU REFUSE TO PAY ANY
MORE TRIBUTE TO THEM, ON THE
EXTORTION SIDE FOR THE MOMENT,
LEAVING THE BLACKMAIL FOR THE
MOMENT, GOING MERELY TO THE
EXTORTION SIDE OF IT, YOU SAY
RIGHT, WE'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE
YOU ANY MORE FOOD.
YOU KNOW WHO'S GOING TO GO
HUNGRY, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE
KIM JONG-IL.
AND AGAIN, IT'S MORALLY VERY
DIFFICULT TO SAY, WELL WE HATE
YOU SO MUCH WE'LL STARVE YOUR
POPULATION.
ESPECIALLY WHERE WE NOW HAVE
THE FULL RECORD OF HOW
ABYSMALLY THE UNITED NATIONS
HAVE EXPLOITED AND FLEECED THE
PEOPLE OF IRAQ.
THAT WAS BLOOD FOR OIL, BY THE
WAY, IF YOU WANT A SLOGAN.

[Applause]

Christopher continues TOO KIND, TOO KIND, THANK YOU.

Watch: Christopher Hitchens on The Axis of Evil