Iran remains the greatest threat to the security of the United States and its people that exists in the world today. Iran – where “Death to America” chants can be frequently heard on the street and whose leaders have pledged to “annihilate” Israel – continues its aggression.
In recent months, more examples of the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of deadly terrorist activity, development of its nuclear program, cultivation of relationships with bad actors around the globe and persecution of religious minorities, including an American citizen, have emerged.
In late January, a former Iranian diplomat defected and told Israeli television that Venezuela is shipping uranium to Iran and the country is only a year away from having a nuclear bomb and would use it against Israel. Also in January, a senior Iranian cleric said the U.S. should expect retaliation for an alleged U.S.-funded attack in Pakistan that killed 103 Shiite Muslims.
American investigators have also recently revealed plans the Iranian regime had to blow up Israel’s embassy in Washington and assassinate the Saudi ambassador. American soldiers have been maimed and even killed in battle by our enemies using Iranian-supplied weapons. And last week, reports surfaced that an explosion at a nuclear facility in Fordow, Iran, revealed a possible new secret nuclear facility where uranium was being enriched. Iran denies this, of course.
For those of us who recognize and take these threats seriously, the first weeks of the second Obama administration have been a grim period. The nominations of Chuck Hagel, John Kerry and John Brennan, for the heads of Defense, State and CIA, respectively, have been a reminder that President Obama would prefer a softer, more negotiable stance with Iran than what is required to confront this threat. Natan Sharansky, the remarkable human rights activist, once wrote, “Evil cannot be defeated if it cannot be recognized, and the only way to recognize evil is to draw clear moral lines. Evil thrives when those lines are blurred, when right and wrong is a matter of opinion rather than objective truth.”
The president and this trio are setting off to do just that – blur these lines.
A Senate vote on Chuck Hagel’s confirmation to be our next secretary of defense was postponed last week, and it’s a good thing. In light of Hagel’s long history of pandering to the Iranian regime, the more time allowed to review his record and dangerous positions, the more likely it is that his nomination will be defeated. As a U.S. senator, Hagel voted against sanctions on Iran and refused to sign a letter that labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization – the same Hezbollah that was linked to a bombing in Bulgaria last summer.
Next up is John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism nominee who has been nominated to head the CIA. Brennan’s views, like Hagel’s, have been even more accommodating of Iran and its ally, Hezbollah. He has tried to remove language like “radical Islam” and “jihad” from the law enforcement and intelligence communities and has said about Hezbollah, “There is [sic] certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.” Appealing to the “moderate elements” of Iran and Hezbollah does not seem like a very serious foreign policy.
And finally, John Kerry was confirmed and has already taken over as our next secretary of state. While Kerry’s anti-war views are well-known from his post-Vietnam days, his friendliness toward our more recent enemies has been less reported. He has been a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, for example, and has advocated deeper engagement with bad actors and friends of Iran like Daniel Ortega, Fidel Castro and Egypt’s new dictator, Mohamed Morsi. This is the man running our foreign policy now, the man who will inevitably be faced with dealing with Iran in the coming months and years and making decisions that must protect the U.S. and her interests.
These three – Hagel, Kerry and Brennan – along with President Obama, are what Barry Rubin, Middle East expert and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs Journal, calls “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.”
Instead of drawing clear moral lines against what we know to be the evil and very serious threat of Iran, these four have a history of blurring, of seeking to engage, of negotiating and of “appealing to moderate elements.” Given the aggressive nature and deadly threat we face, the thought of where these four will lead us is downright scary.
There is still time to act, though. The Senate needs to send a signal to friend and foe alike that it is not in bed with the dangerous positions of Chuck Hagel. Go to NoToChuck.com to contact your senator and urge him or her to oppose this nomination.