Commentary Magazine


So Far, Not So Good

How’s the new outreach to Iran going? The president went on TV to curry favor with the “Islamic Republic of Iran.” We announced that we’d join our European allies in talks, and whispered that we might allow Iran to keep up with its nuclear development program while we all chat. And what have we gotten in return? Let’s see. Iran has ferried enriched uranium to North Korea. The Iranians have, as Noah pointed out, resumed their favorite ploy of nabbing Americans. Today we hear:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused Israel of being the “most cruel and racist regime,” sparking a walkout by angry Western diplomats at a U.N. racism conference and protests from others.

In a rambling speech, Ahmadinejad on Monday pointed the finger at the United States, Europe and Israel and said they were destabilizing the entire world.

Some European diplomats immediately walked out of the room when Ahmadinejad said Israel was created on the “pretext of Jewish suffering” from World War II.
A wigged protester shouting “Racist, racist” threw a soft red object at Ahmadinejad, hitting the podium and interrupting his speech.

Might it be that our actions are not melting the mullahs’ hearts but, rather, emboldening them? Could they be perceiving a green light to ramp up their aggressive behavior without fear of any consequences? That’s what Michael Ledeen suspects is going on:

[The president] doesn’t seem to realize that all his sweet talk is very provocative, it plays into the mullahs’ fantasy world in which they are routing us all over the world (they know it’s all about us, not about him), and soon the American president will kneel to the Supreme Leader.  He actually seems to believe that it is possible to convince the Iranian leaders to give up their nuclear program, when every major figure in the Islamic Republic has said that Iran will never, ever, abandon that program.  The only thing they are willing to discuss is how we will accommodate to the fact of a nuclear Iran.

Meanwhile, their agents and proxies are killing Americans from Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Iraq and Afghanistan.  And Obama does nothing in response, except to make gesture after gesture demonstrating his lack of will to confront those who have been killing Americans for thirty years.

Obama likes to think if he is “persistent” this will all pay off. One wonders what it will take, what facts might ever convince him that persistently projecting weakness is not the key to “progress” in our relationship with Iran.

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