President Obama has been thinking a lot about himself lately — surprise! — specifically about his legacy. Eli Lake has a suggestion for the soon-but-not-soon-enough former president:
High on his post-presidential to-do list should be regime change for Iran. No, Barack Obama should not press his successor to invade Iran and set up an occupation government. But the president should use his time after office to nurture and support Iran’s democratic opposition in its struggle against Iran’s dictator.
For now, the president should hear from some people who disagree with him. The White House “vision committee” should invite Iranian dissidents who recently signed an open letter opposing the Iran deal. They would have interesting comments over late-night cocktails with the commander-in-chief. Obama’s aides could send for Gene Sharp, the leading theorist of nonviolent conflict, and Michael Ledeen, the conservative historian who has spent the last 20 years trying to foment political warfare against the regime.
As an elder statesman, Obama should busy himself with the fate of that regime’s political prisoners the way Jimmy Carter has taken up the cause of Palestinian statehood.
Lake is a smart guy, but this column is filled to the brim with WTF.
If Obama had any interest in regime change in Iran, he could have done something, anything more than give the cold shoulder to Iran’s Green Movement in 2009. But as students were shot and killed in the streets by rooftop snipers, Obama wouldn’t even provide lip service to those kids.
Instead, Obama worked publicly to lend legitimacy to the mullahs’ regime with his endless negotiations over their nuclear program, while working behind the scenes for years to legitimize those deadly ambitions. To top it off, Obama acceded to what amounts to a $100,000,000,000 bribe for Tehran to do little more than pretend a little harder that they aren’t developing nukes.
And those one hundred billion dollars are just the tip of the iceberg of the money to flow Tehran’s way once the sanctions are lifted — never, ever to “snap back” under any condition.
Nukes aside, try not to think about how much domestic oppression the mullahs can buy with that much money.
Obama has worked very hard as president to cement Iran’s Islamic regime firmly in place — what makes Lake think Obama has any interest, desire, or ambition to use his post-presidency to undo the legacy he already has?