BBC World News Anchor: 'Iran is Potentially Pro-American'

While discussing the potential impact of President Trump’s Middle Eastern visit on Monday’s edition of Morning Joe, BBC World News anchor Katty Kay created controversy within the panel when she fretted that the commander-in-chief was "alienating" Iran while visiting Saudi Arabia and Israeli. She even laughably declared that Iran was a "potentially" "pro-American nation."

"You know, you're alienating a nation which is potentially a fairly pro-western, pro-American nation that has just voted in, not a totally free election --" Kay began. Host Joe Scarborough rightfully called her out for the absurd assertion: "Iran? You're speaking like a European now....there is nothing pro American about Iran!"

The discussion continued, with Kay feebly attempting to justify her argument:

KATTY KAY: But, Richard has a point. You know you're alienating a nation which is potentially a fairly pro western, pro-American nation that has just voted in not a totally free election --

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Iran?? You're speaking like a European right now. There's nothing pro American about Europe.  I mean, there is nothing pro-American about Iran!

KAY: You poll Iranian population and you get a more pro-European, pro-western, pro-American view than you do if you poll most Sunni countries--

SCARBOROUGH: I understand. Extraordinary people and extraordinary civilization and leaders from the seventh century.

KAY: Right...But does alienating them to this-- I think there has to be some kind of -- You know he’s gone from one extreme to the other, right? Barack Obama embraced -- well, embraced --

SAM STEIN: I wouldn’t call it embraced.

KAY: Made overtures to the world and --

SCARBOROUGH: You wouldn't call that an embracing of Iran? Because I guarantee you every Sunni leader across the region–when you pay them how much money did they get, $150 billion? Oh my God!

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We have to go to to break.

SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you, you defend the Iranian regime since 1979, I will not.

Is it possible that, after all this time, we as Americans have simply been misinterpreting the phrase ‘Death to America’ that the Iranians seem so fond of? Could all of Iran's terrorsist activites and operations against our country possibly just be some form of ancient Persian endearment? Or, is it simply possible that Ms. Kay is out of touch with the reality of what actually constitutes direct threats and attacks by one nation on another?  I’ll place my bet on the latter.

Here are the excerpts from the May 22 exchange:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Let's go to Richard Haass. Richard, so, I asked David Ignatius to comment on the last 24 to 48 hours. What was your take away in Riyadh yesterday and what you're hearing this morning?

RICHARD HAASS: Well, the take away, surprisingly, was an uncharacteristically normal trip. What didn't happen is at least as important as what happened. We're not talking about things associated with it. I think the Saudis were prepared, not just to roll out the red carpet, but to have this trip succeed. This was not Barack Obama. They wanted to send a signal that it was a new chapter. I agree with what David said about the outreach to Muslim world, the change in language. The only thing I thought was widely discordant was against the backdrop of an Iranian election which, for all of its constraints still was something of an exercise in at least partial democracy and this blaming of Iran for a lot of the ills in what's going on, it seemed to be leaving out one thing, the whole decision not to be critical of the Sunni Arab world. Well, that's been one of the drivers of terrorism. If you look at 9/11, you look at the rise of groups like Al Qaeda, it's because of the flaws in these society. Yes, the terrorist financing is one part of it, but it's also the fact that a whole generation of young people feel totally disengaged from their societies and they are vulnerable and open to these calls for radicalism. That simply wasn't on the agenda. You would think that somehow Iran was the real scourge of terrorism in the region and it’s a scourge of it, but it’s not the only one. The only thing is it really signed the United States up for prolonged anti-Iranian foreign policy. That's taking on a lot particularly in places like Yemen, also Syria, also Iraq. I just hope people have thought through exactly what it is we're signing onto.

(...)

KATY KAY: And all the president's trip in his speech did yesterday is pour oil on the flames of the rift that is growing between the Sunnis and the Shias in that area of the world. It's hard to see in the long run how that improves peace and stability in the region.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: But, I have to say, Barack Obama was openly hostile to a lot of these Sunni regions, openly hostile to Al Sisi for a very long time. He was, I don't want to say loathed throughout the region, but it was hard to find a leader or foreign minister or ambassador that had anything nice to say about the United States. They felt abandoned. I'm talking about the Sunni Arab world, felt abandoned from the very beginning. The question is, how do you embrace your friends without starting a cold war with your enemy.

DAVID IGNATIUS: If your friends feel stronger and more confident maybe they will start to do more sensible things with their own people, with their adversaries, that's the hope.

KAY: But, Richard has a point. You know you're alienating a nation which is potentially a fairly pro western, pro American nation that has just voted in not a totally free election --

SCARBOROUGH: Iran?? You're speaking like a European right now. There's nothing pro American about Europe.  I mean, there is nothing pro American about Iran!

KAY: You poll Iranian population and you get a more pro-European, pro-western, pro-American view than you do if you poll most Sunni countries--

SCARBOROUGH: I understand. Extraordinary people and extraordinary civilization and leaders from the seventh century.

KAY: Right...But does alienating them to this-- I think there has to be some kind of -- You know he’s gone from one extreme to the other, right? Barack Obama embraced -- well, embraced --

SAM STEIN: I wouldn’t call it embraced.

KAY: Made overtures to the world and --

SCARBOROUGH: You wouldn't call that an embracing of Iran? Because I guarantee you every Sunni leader across the region–when you pay them how much money did they get, $150 billion? Oh my God!

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: We have to go to to break.

SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you, you defend the Iranian regime since 1979, I will not.

 

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