As for the mullahs’ treatment of their own people, the president and his brain trust are tough-minded in the extreme. They just won’t permit it to wreck their scheme of coming to terms with the Islamic Republic. Even the slaughter following the fraudulent elections of June 12th is studiously ignored in favor of dialogue and deal making, and they spin appeasement into evidence of “putting pressure” on Tehran:
One conservative Iranian official put it this way to Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “If Iran can’t make nice with a U.S. president named Barack Hussein Obama who’s preaching mutual respect and sending us greetings, it’s pretty clear the problem lies in Tehran, not Washington.”
Tom Donilon, the deputy national-security adviser, told me in Washington: “Engagement was pressure. There’s no doubt about it.”
Actually there’s a lot of doubt about it. For one thing, the Iranians do not see it that way. On July 27th, Kayhan (the newspaper that serves as Khamenei’s mouthpiece) proclaimed that America was “begging Iran for dialogue.” And Iranian leaders have bragged that the United States was now prepared to live with a nuclear Iran.
Which is exactly what you get when you appease a tyrant: he bites you again.
Or take Eliot Cohen in today’s Wall Street Journal. He insists that there is very little difference between Bush’s and Obama’s policies, but that the “execution” of policy is quite different:
Differences in the execution of policy, however, make all the difference. Take, for example, outreach to Iran:
The Bush administration mulled this, and even tried it, diplomats warily meeting Iranians in various venues. But when Mr. Obama said to the leaders of Iran and other despotisms, “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist” he did not expect to find the Supreme Leader’s paws sticky with the blood of freshly slaughtered protestors. Remarkably, rather than adjust the policy, the administration almost immediately released five Iranian “diplomats”—in truth, members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps—that we held in Iraq…
But this policy will soon encounter the reality, a looming choice between war with Iran or acceptance of its status as a nuclear power. Is the administration prepared to act if diplomacy fails, as so often it does?
He chooses not to refer to Bush’s (actually Rice’s) all-out push for a bargain with Tehran, which they believed they had accomplished. That’s only to be expected, although there was plenty of fresh blood during the Bush years, and it wasn’t permitted to get in the way of the grand bargaining.
When Cohen talks about the “looming choice between war…or acceptance of its status as a nuclear power,” he gives the show away. Just like the others, Cohen ignores the Iranian war against us, and the evil visited upon the Iranian people, instead focusing his considerable analytical talents on the nuclear question.
But for all its dreadful significance, the Iranian nuclear project is a secondary issue, not the main act. If Iran had no nuclear program it would still be an evil regime that supports every major terrorist organization in the world (many of which are Iranian creations) and wages war against us. But our leaders studiously avoid all that, and become accomplices to evil.
The Iran appeasement is only one of many. We have just lifted some sanctions on Syria, which is the same thing as lifting sanctions on Iran (Syria will do most anything the mullahs want). And–you won’t have seen this anywhere in the press–we have just blocked all weapons sales to Georgia, which will be interpreted in Moscow as carte blanche for the Russians to do whatever they want down there. Meanwhile, we are doing whatever Chavez and Castro want in Honduras, in one of the most shameful betrayals of a democratic ally since the glory days of Jimmy Carter.
Anyone who has studied appeasement knows what lies ahead: more conflict, more fresh blood, and ultimately a bigger war against us. We can say to Obama what Churchill said to Chamberlain: you had a choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.