This column by David Feith and Bari Weiss should make squirm the Obama cheerleaders who have, while touting the president from hope-’n-change, also taken up the cause of Iranian democracy protesters. Feith and Weiss write:
The Obama administration — fixated on negotiating with Tehran to get it to abandon its nuclear-weapons program — has responded mostly with silence. To pursue engagement, President Obama needs his Iranian interlocutors to be durable leaders, not frauds on the brink. Iranian dissidents challenging the regime’s legitimacy are thus being treated as obstacles to statecraft.
It is not simply the Obama team’s silence in the face of the Iranian regime’s thuggish behavior. That would be bad enough. No, the Obama administration is cutting off funds to multiple groups that seek to help the democracy protesters and those who might undermine the regime the Obama team is so fixated on negotiating with for a 21st-century version of “peace in our time.”
They run through the list of groups to which the Obama team is denying funds: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, Freedom House, the International Republican Institute (“which for several years received State Department support to train Iranian reformers and connect them to like-minded activists in Europe and elsewhere”), and the Iran Democracy Fund (whose funding was diverted to the Near East Regional Democracy Fund, which “can use the money however — and in whatever Near Eastern country — it pleases”).
Where are the green-bannered bloggers? Why don’t we hear from the human-rights organizations that routinely accuse the U.S. of being too miserly in its philanthropy? Seems as though they have all gone mute.
And the Obama team? They are courting the mullahs and aren’t about to have the “engagement” broken up by upstarts pointing out all the flaws in the Obama team’s new-found negotiating soul mates. Obama would like the protesters to just go away. Cutting off the funds to democracy advocates and human-rights watchdogs is one step. And bestowing fawning attention in ongoing negotiations on those who stole an election and brutalized their own people is another. It is the policy of no change and no hope for the Iranian people.