August 5, 2015

BECAUSE “DEATH TO AMERICA” IS JUST HYPERBOLE: Iranian-born Sohrab Amari writes in Commentary about “The 36-year project to whitewash Iran.”

The metamorphosis of Iran, in elite American opinion, from terrorist state into U.S. partner is a long-brewing triumph for a certain set of ideas about the Islamic Republic and its relation to the nation it has called the “Great Satan” since its birth. Over time, the argument has been advanced by journalists, academics, Washington lobbies, and government officials. Its basic purpose has always been to sell the Iranian regime as moderate, amenable to reason, even decent and democratic, relative to its neighbors. The various arms of this campaign didn’t always work in concert. It wasn’t always a conscious effort. Frequently, it was advanced by well-intentioned but credulous journalists. The rebranding campaign was not a dark conspiracy; it was, for the most part, carried out openly. Nor, finally, did it always progress smoothly, but rather in fits and starts, with numerous setbacks along the way.

Nevertheless, Iran’s American apologists have now scored an unprecedented coup: making the U.S. friendly toward a regime whose motto is “Death to America.” . . .

But hey, I’m sure the whole “death to America” and “Great Satan” thing is just hyperbole. They’re really just a bunch of peace loving moderates who want to live in peace and embrace western values of democracy and equality, right?

Besides, as Obama said today, “The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon.”  So in Obama’s worldview, the choice is between: (1) near-term, conventional war with Iran; or (2) kicking the can down the road (until after Obama leaves office), and accepting the possibility of Iranian nuclear aggression against Israel or the U.S.

The fact that President Obama cannot even envision a middle ground between these two extremes–such as the possibility that continued or enhanced sanctions could leverage greater limitations on Iran’s nuclear program or even create pressure for meaningful, democratic regime change–is what strikes me as most disturbing. A president who sees major foreign policy issues in such stark “you’re either with me, or you’re a war monger” terms is a dangerous, divisive leader.

In President Obama’s narcissistic quest to achieve a legacy of “diplomacy” with America’s enemies abroad, he is remarkably incapable of evincing any diplomacy at all domestically, with fellow Americans who dare to criticize him.