What to Do about Iran

America will decide in 2016 how it will face deadly perils by enemies who despise our liberty and our goodness.   There is a parallel with the Soviet Union.  In 1981, for the prior 36 years, America had tried to construct a way to live with the Soviet Union.  The Evil Empire supported violence against our interests all over the world.  The Kremlin waged an unrelenting campaign against our way of life.  Every approach presidents before Reagan had tried to live with the Soviets failed. 

Then our new president of the United States, when asked about his strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union, famously responded: “How about this?  We win.  They lose.”  Succinct, principled, and quintessentially Reagan.  As soon as Reagan took office, he planned to end this great threat to world freedom and peace by seeking victory instead of uneasy peace.  It worked.  It worked, in fact, with stunning speed. 

The end of the Cold War, which happened twenty-five years ago, may seem to folks today to have been inevitable and easy.  It was not.  Indeed, victory was possible only when we actually sought victory.  Reagan did just that.  He fought a bloodless global war on many levels.  He put economic pressure on the Soviet Union.  He supported resistance against the Soviets from within their empire.  Reagan made sure that we were militarily stronger and that this edge would grow the longer the Cold War was fought.

Reagan also made use of the allies he had.  The prime ministers of Britain and Canada were close allies.  The German chancellor was one, too.  Bold Christians – Pope John Paul II, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and others – joined in this truly holy war.  What Reagan had in 1981 looks very much like what our next president will have in 2017.

We have friends.  David Cameron and Stephen Harper are conservative leaders whose parties have absolute majorities in their respective Houses of Commons, and both men grasp the danger we face.  German chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU party does not quite have a majority in the Bundestag, but it is by far the largest parliamentary group, and Merkel is as popular and experienced a leader as Germany has had since reunification.

Israeli prime minister Netanyahu is likewise strong and experienced and would aid any effort to end those evils that threaten his nation.  He is smart, brave, and wise.  President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has acted with great courage as well in both attacking radical Islamists and reaching out to Egyptian Christians.  King Abdullah of Jordan has been equally resolute, and both leaders seek our friendship as well as our help.  The Gulf States, whose claim to Islamic purity is unassailable, likewise want our help against a common great evil.

What America and what the civilized world need is someone with the vision and wisdom of Reagan, someone not content to beg for peace from evil regimes that seek our destruction, but rather to clearly call these regimes wicked and call for their end.  Reagan did not mince words.  He called the Soviet Union an “Evil Empire.”  That is precisely the term most descriptive of the mad mullahs in Tehran. 

The vile oligarchs who rule this empire suppress the national aspirations of Kurds and others trapped within Iran.  They murder gays and stone women.  They promote anti-Semitism and persecute all religions except for their own slice of Islam.  These creeps organize terrorism throughout the Middle East and describe America as the “Great Satan” and Israel as the “Little Satan.”  The Tehran gang suppresses individual liberty in Iran and makes a mockery of democracy.

While it is clear that letting Tehran acquire nuclear weapons is wrong, a broader question is this: why permit this regime to remain in power at all?  Because of it, the people of Iran are poor.  Because of it, the whole of West Asia lives in fear.  Because of it, other potential threats to our way of life are emboldened.  Why not end the reign of these wicked and crazy men? 

This does not mean hot war.  Reagan won with soaring political rhetoric, united stands with true friends around the world, and championing the liberty of those trapped in that Evil Empire.  Here is a thought for some aspiring Republican candidate or president:  lay out a plan for ending the aggressive, undemocratic, gay-murdering, misogynist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-American regime in Iran and replacing that regime with a moderating, pro-Western, tolerant one.

We are in a cold war with Iran.  The next Republican president in 2017 should say about this cold war what Reagan said about his own in 1981: “How about this?  We win.  They lose.”