Commentary Magazine


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It’s Change, Alright

Robert Kagan writes that Obama’s fixation on finding a “Grand Bargain” with Iran is being put to the test. He writes that Obama’s meek response has been “widely misinterpreted as reflecting concern that too overt an American embrace of the opposition will hurt it, or that he wants to avoid American ‘moralizing.’” No, argues Kagan –this is all about sticking to his game plan:

Whatever his personal sympathies may be, if he is intent on sticking to his original strategy, then he can have no interest in helping the opposition. His strategy toward Iran places him objectively on the side of the government’s efforts to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, not in league with the opposition’s efforts to prolong the crisis.

It’s not that Obama preferred a victory by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He probably would have been happy to do business with Mir Hossein Mousavi, even if there was little reason to believe Mousavi would have pursued a different approach to the nuclear issue. But once Mousavi lost, however fairly or unfairly, Obama objectively had no use for him or his followers. If Obama appears to lend support to the Iranian opposition in any way, he will appear hostile to the regime, which is precisely what he hoped to avoid.

Well that’s a bit chilling for the inspirational One, isn’t it? Indeed, this is the realism that has Chas Freeman applauding:

If you find all this disturbing, you should. The worst thing is that this approach will probably not prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. But this is what “realism” is all about.

What does the Left in America do about that? And there there is the glaring flaw in the whole endeavor — Islamic totalitarians are not the sort to give up their weapons or to be deterred from using them (MAD only works when your opponents think mass killings of their own people in service of an ideological cause is a bad thing). As Stephen Hayes explains:

Either Obama believes that he can engage in meaningful negotiations with Ahmadinejad, in which case he’s a fool, or he believes that his spurned good-faith attempts at those negotiations will win him credit from our allies in Europe and elsewhere, good will that he can use to gain support for tough sanctions. In that case, he’s fooling himself.

Moreover, Obama’s engagement-no-matter-what fetish presupposes that there will be domestic patience and international support for what will surely be open-ended talks with the mullahs. After the events of this week, that assumption may be faulty.

Well, the country voted for “change” but perhaps it didn’t count on so ruthless and preposterous a foreign policy vision. Ironically, it appears as if the U.S. government is now firmly on the side of the status quo — standing with a fascistic theocracy that has shocked even the most gullible defenders of that regime. It remains to be seen whether the president’s eyes can be opened and whether he understands the implications, both domestic and international, that flow from helping prop up an evil regime.