It is now abundantly and painfully clear that President Obama is clueless about America’s national security interests in this dangerous world.
Obama is playing golf in Hawaii as the Islamist regime in Tehran shoots protesters in the streets and admits it has beaten to death scores of other protesters taken to jail. Obama’s silence in not voicing support for the protesters is deafening.
Anyone who has watched events unfold in Iran over the past three months can see that the street protests have evolved from a protest against a stolen election to a wider protest against the regime itself. The protests are not only taking place in the capital but in major cities all across the country. The most recent protests featured banners and shouts aimed at America: “Obama, which side are you on?” is a chant heard often. Unfortunately, that’s a good question.
Since the revolution in 1979 that overthrew the pro-Western shah, Iran has pretended to be a democracy, but its “fundamentalist regime” slowly concentrated power in the hands of radical clerics. So, Iran now pretends to be a democracy, and the world pretends to believe it. Last October, the regime pretended to have a presidential election but overplayed its hand by stuffing the ballot boxes.
In the last 27 years, over 120,000 citizens in Iran have been killed by the regime, executed after sham trials or simply shot or beaten to death in prison without benefit of a trial. The street protests are escalating because millions of Iranian citizens have decided they have no other recourse. The question is not, what do Iranians want? The question is, is the civilized world listening? Is Obama listening?
Obama’s silence over Iran’s democratic protests is especially confounding after his rush to judgment in Honduras. After the Honduran Supreme Court and Congress ousted the president under a constitutional provision allowing that move, the U.S. State Department protested their action. In Honduras there was no reluctance to criticize a pro-American regime, but in Iran, the United States bends over backwards to maintain neutrality and keep “open channels” to the dictatorship run by the radical mullahs. Why this double standard?
Obama’s silence is not merely hypocritical, it is patently contrary to America’s vital interests.
There is more at stake in Iran than the human rights of street demonstrators. What is at stake is the safety and security of the United States. Why? Because Iran’s clerical regime is the central banker and strategic sanctuary for Islamist terrorists all over the world. Iran’s leadership has openly stated that one of their goals is to destroy Western democracies and replace them with a new, worldwide caliphate ruled by Shariah law. In other words, Iran’s regime has declared war on the West and is covertly funding our enemies, while we pretend these conflicts are the result of “misunderstandings.”
Without Iran’s funding and backing, the terrorist cells in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Argentina, Western Europe, Indonesia, Lebanon and Iraq would be far less dangerous.
Try this experiment. Think what a different world we would have if the radical mullahs in Tehran were overthrown and a genuine democracy installed in its place. What if there were a government in Iran that actually sought nuclear power for peaceful purposes and not for bombs? What a different world it would be if the government in Iran stopped interfering in the affairs of Iraq and other neighbors!
The democratic protesters in Iran are not asking for American “intervention.” They are only asking for our moral support, a signal that we want their side to win. Why is that so difficult for Obama to do?
Since his election, Obama has been following a policy of “reconciliation” with Iran. He has opened negotiations both publicly and through back channels, offering a new dialog and apologies for America’s past sins. What has been the Iranian response? It has proceeded full speed on its nuclear program, its suppression of democratic dissent at home and its support of terrorists aboard. By his naivete, Obama has made himself worse than irrelevant: His silence implies support for the Iranian regime.
Like millions of other Iranians worldwide, Tim Ghami, the head of the Colorado Iranian American Community, follows the events in Iran closely. He follows the daily bulletins posted at www.iranfocus.com, a website run by Iranian dissidents, and he also gets information by e-mail from friends.
A naturalized American citizen who worries about both America and Iran, Ghami believes that within 12 months the dictators will be gone – if only America and Europe will give moral support to the democratic forces.
But Iranians are not the only ones who are asking Obama, “Which side are you on?” Americans, too, are asking the president to change course.
Memo to President Obama: This is not a mid-term exam at Yale. Iran is at a crossroads. The vital issue here is your country’s safety and security. Talk to the Iranian people, not their tormentors.