Just as the thugs on Iran's Guardian Council were confirming Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad as president, Barack Obama and his top officials were unveiling
the administration's Iran policy. From a news conference and a series of
Sunday-talk-show appearances we have learned that the Obama plan is this:
Speak loudly and don't carry any stick.
It began on Friday at Obama's joint press conference with German chancellor
Angela Merkel. First came the hot air: "The violence perpetrated against
[the Iranian people] is outrageous. . . . We see it and we condemn it. . . .
What's happened in Iran is unacceptable . . . and we call on the Iranian
government to uphold . . . international principles."
The obvious follow-up question was this: Given that the Iranian government
never had any interest in upholding the "international principles" you
mention - such as "universal rights to assemble, speak freely, and have
their voices heard" - what impact will that government's actions have on
your administration's Iran policy?
From President Obama: "I would suggest Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about
the obligations he owes to his own people. And he might want to consider
looking at the families of those who have been beaten or shot or detained."
Most of us are aware of the fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has thought
carefully about it (for three decades) and then decided both that the
Iranian people have no rights to assemble or speak freely and that the
Iranian government has a right to order that they be beaten, shot, and
detained at will.
So came the next question. Don't the events of the past few weeks undermine
your hopes for meaningful dialogue, and aren't you just losing precious
time? To which Obama responded: "On the Iranian issue, I think that we are
still waiting to see how the situation in Iran plays out. . . . We don't yet
know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what's
happened inside of Iran."
Refusing to be sidetracked, reporters pressed on, and finally the president
'fessed up. He told the world that events in Iran will have no effect
whatsoever on his policy to engage in dialogue with Iran. In April the State
Department had announced that "the U.S. will join P5-plus-1 [Britain, China,
France, Russia, the United States, and Germany] discussions with Iran from
now on." Evidently, nothing that has occurred since the Iranian election
will make the slightest difference to this course of action. In the
president's words: "My expectation would be that you're going to continue to
see some multilateral discussions with Iran . . . the P-5 plus 1 . . . there
are going to be discussions that continue."
In short, the "unacceptable" smothering of democratic dreams in Iran turns
out to have been quickly accepted after all, with President Obama fixated on
moving on. Why?
With Merkel by his side, the two leaders filled in the mysterious gaps.
Obama moved from the Iranian bloodshed to Iranian acquisition of nuclear
weapons and then quickly to Israel and the Palestinian conflict. Likewise,
Merkel went from current events in Iran to this: "We would like to have a
diplomatic solution to preventing Iran from gaining possession of a nuclear
weapon. So I completely agree with the president here. . . . I think we can
be successful in the Middle East [peace] process, and then be successful in
our talks with Iran."
In other words, the explanation of the "do nothing in response to the
Iranian uprising" policy is that breaking Israel comes first. Obama's top
priority is to create a Palestinian state now (regardless of its
anti-Semitic policies and terrorist intentions); then, and only then, will
dialoguing with Iran allegedly bear fruit.
To recap, take a Holocaust-denying president who has advocated genocide and
the elimination of the Jewish state, a government hell-bent on acquiring
weapons of mass destruction, said government's brutal repression of its own
people, and the subsequent "re-election" of the aforementioned maniac, and
what do you get? A call from Obama to isolate this regime? An urgent
campaign to impose harsh sanctions? Immediate support for the destruction of
their nuclear sites before it's too late? No. Obama's focus is delivering
Israel to the same Islamic audience he stroked in Cairo.
Obama's emissaries confirmed the administration's shocking priorities over
the weekend. CBS's Bob Schieffer asked Obama's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice,
if we consider Iran's government legitimate and whether we will still sit
down with them. Rice answered: "Obviously the government's legitimacy has
been called into question by the protests. . . . But that's not the critical
issue in terms of our dealings with Iran."
Rice's hypocrisy is staggering. The same woman who, at the U.N., casts
herself as a leading human-rights ambassador claims that the legitimacy of a
government clinging to power as a result of murder and repression is not the
issue. On the contrary, she took this moment to tell the butchers themselves
that nothing had changed: "We will continue to pursue the offer [of] the
P-5. . . . We have not rescinded that prospect. . . . We've left the door
open to bilateral diplomacy."
Obama's top adviser, David Axelrod, read from the same script in an
interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos: "If the Iranians
want to come to Paris and sit down with the United States and the Europeans
. . . that invitation is still open?" Axelrod: "Well, yes." And by the way,
he added: "We are not looking to reward Iran." Reward would be too kind.
There is another description for a Parisian invitation to the handlers of
the man who blew a hole through 27-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan's heart for
attending a demonstration just a week ago: obscenity.
President Obama, the human-rights paragon, turns out to be the human-rights
victim's worst nightmare. The faÃ§ade says he cares. But as soon as defending
human rights proves inconvenient to his larger goal of rapprochement with
Muslim dictators and "engagement" with fascists in Tehran, Gaza, Ramallah,
and Damascus, he cuts and runs.
For more United Nations coverage see www.EYEontheUN.org .
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IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Originally appeared in National Review Online.