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June 30, 2009
Obama's policy in Iran a 'shambles'
So declares the Wall Street Journal and it's hard to argue with their reasoning:
[I]t remains the American interest to reach a negotiated settlement with Tehran over its nuclear program, whether or not Ahmadinejad was fairly elected. Likewise, it is in Tehran's best interests to settle, assuming the benefits for doing so are sufficiently large.
If this view ever had its moment, it was in the months immediately after Mr. Obama's inauguration. The administration came to town thinking that America's problems with Iran were largely self-inflicted -- a combination of "Axis of Evil" and "regime change" rhetoric, an invasion that gave Iran a reasonable motive for wanting to arm itself with nuclear weapons, and an unwillingness to try to settle differences in face-to-face talks.
In other words, Mr. Obama seems to have thought that a considerable part of America's Iran problem was simply an America problem, to be addressed by various forms of conciliation: Mr. Obama's New Year's greetings to "the Islamic Republic of Iran"; the disavowal of regime change as a U.S. objective; the offer of direct talks without preconditions; withdrawal from Iraq; the insistence, following the election, that the U.S. would neither presume to judge the outcome nor otherwise "meddle" in an internal Iranian affair.
In many ways, it is as shortsighted and arrogant to believe that all the problems in the world are basically due to America's actions (or inactions) as it is to believe that bellicosity and having a dismissive attitude is why the world hates us. If we can be more "humble" and conciliatory, according to Obama, solutions will be revealed.
But what happens when that policy comes face to face with the fanaticism in Iran? It is the bane of the good hearted that recognizing evil is a problem for them. And it should be clear to Obama now that any attempts to reconcile with the Iranian mullahs while they butcher their own people in the streets is a ridiculous notion that has no chance of success.