This Would Certainly Be Hope ‘N Change

Robert Kagan calls on Obama to do something important and vital: push for regime change in Iran. He notes that Obama’s engagement folly was premised on the faulty assumption that “a bargain could be had with benighted and virulently anti-Western leaders.” It turns out that the problem was not insufficient humility by the West or George W. Bush. It was the nature of the current Iranian regime, which, if there had been any doubt, has now revealed its true nature in the wake of the June 12 elections. So Kagan argues:

Regime change is more important than any deal the Obama administration might strike with Iran’s present government on its nuclear program. Even if Tehran were to accept the offer made last year to export some of its low-enriched uranium, this would be a modest step down a long, uncertain road. Such a minor concession is not worth abandoning the push for real change.

And Kagan reminds us that regime change is, for a president so entranced with a nuclear-arms-free world, “the best nonproliferation policy. Even if the next Iranian government refused to give up the weapons program, its need for Western economic assistance and its desire for reintegration into the global economy and international order would at least cause it to slow today’s mad rush to completion and be much more open to diplomatic discussion.” But of course it’s also the only realistic approach in sight. Who thinks engagement will bear fruit? (Well, other than J Street.) There is no rationale for continuing the kabuki theater or for insisting on limiting our sanctions to keep the “door open.” (So we can be on the receiving end of more rebuffs and insults?)

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This Would Certainly Be Hope ‘N Change

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