After Putin could Tucker Carlson interview Hamas, Iran leaders next?

After Putin could Tucker Carlson interview Hamas, Iran leaders next?
Carlson is unsympathetic to Iran or Hamas. But love him or hate him, he has stumbled on an old fashioned notion that to make peace, one has to talk to enemies
3 min read
10 February, 2024
In this pool photograph distributed by Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to US talk show host Tucker Carlson at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 6, 2024. (Photo by Gavriil GRIGOROV / POOL / AFP)

On February 8, controversial former Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson broadcasted an interview recorded earlier with Russian President Vladimir Putin, drawing him both praise and ire, depending on where one stood in the political spectrum.

Carlson was even accused of treason, especially by supporters of Ukraine like former British PM Boris Johnson, two years into the Russian invasion of its neighbour to the west, which triggered a major conflict that has seen US-led NATO alliance back the government in Kyiv.

The interview was aired live on X (formerly Twitter), where Carlson set himself up, bypassing television networks altogether. 

Many on X speculated, some even urged if rather mockingly, that the right-wing showman interview Hamas or Iranian leaders next, on account of both being adversaries of the West and Israel. Some drew comparisons to interviews by US media outlets with the late Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

While Carlson is unlikely to take them up on the challenge, his erratic politics [including on the Middle East], anti-intervention stances, and most importantly, quest for ratings, means everything is possible. 

The New Arab reached out to Mr. Carlson via X just to be sure, but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

What does Tucker Carlson think about Iran and Hamas?

Carlson claims that his motivation behind the interview with Putin was "peace". 

In truth, despite being a Conservative, he represents a faction in the American right that has always been skeptical of U.S. foreign interventions, mainly from a fiscal perspective that believes the money spent on war should go to 'America First', rather than lining the pockets of the military-industrial complex fighting the wars of others.

This faction is well represented in the base of former President Donald Trump, whose allies in Congress have been voting against further military aid to Ukraine.

In the wake of the 7 October attacks by Hamas on southern Israel, Carlson while condemning the Palestinian group, expressed skpetcisim about U.S. military support for Israel. 

"There's a lot at stake in how we encourage Israel to respond to the horrifying Hamas attacks. Wisdom and long-term thinking are essential, but you will not be surprised to learn that's not what we're getting," Carlson said, presciently. "Wars beget more war. The bigger the conflict, the uglier and longer lasting the consequences. These are not complex observations but seem lost on our leadership class."

"This was an attack on America, [Republican Presidential Candidate Nikki Haley] says, when in fact it was not," he added. "For that reason, we must 'finish Iran' – a nation of 90 million people," he mockingly said, calling Haley's words "the tantrum of a child."

"What exactly would happen to the United States if we declared war on Iran and started blowing up their infrastructure," Carlson asked, warning against possible nuclear implications and an unprecedented energy crisis.

Long before the genocidal war in Gaza, Carlson came out in strong opposition against Donald Trump's assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and any further war with Iran. He even called for the United States to leave Iraq, an issue which remains salient today.

None of this of course means Carlson is sympathetic to Iran or Hamas. But love him or hate him, he has stumbled on a rational, albeit old-fashioned notion that to make peace, one has to talk to....their enemies.