The term “suspension of disbelief” — coined in 1817 by the philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge — refers to a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrificing reality, common sense, doubt and complexity on the altar of a pretend reality, convenience and oversimplification; infusing a semblance of truth into an untrue narrative.
U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s policy toward Iran in 1977-1979 was characterized by suspension of disbelief: energizing the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini while ignoring or underestimating his track record and his radical, supremacist and violent worldview. The betrayal of the Shah transformed Tehran from “the U.S. policeman in the Gulf” to the worst enemy of the U.S.
Currently, the suspension of disbelief undermines the U.S. posture of deterrence and vital U.S. national security and commercial interests. It was demonstrated by U.S. President Barack Obama, who — irrespective of Middle East reality — referred to the brutally intolerant, terror-driven, anti-U.S., anti-infidel, repressive, tumultuous Arab tsunami as the “Arab Spring.” He said it was “casting off the burdens of the past,” “a story of self-determination,” “a democratic upheaval,” “a peaceful opposition,” “rejection of political violence” and “a transition toward [multi-sectarian, multi-ethnic] democracy.”
Suspension of disbelief, coupled with the ayatollahs’ mastery of ‘taqiyya’ (Islam-sanctioned double-talk and deception), is what led U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to assert on November 24, 2013 that “Iran’s Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif emphasized that they don’t intend to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran’s supreme leader has indicated that there is a ‘fatwa’ [an authoritative religious ruling] which forbids them to do this”…