For the last many years, American foreign-policy makers in the Bush and now Obama administrations have tried to pretend that freedom in Iran is not at the forefront of Western interests. (See my previous column, "The Persian quest for freedom.") Indeed, the only real concern has been Iran's capability to develop nuclear weapons, which would create a security threat for Israel, Europe and the United States.
During the second Bush administration, our challenged president put all his "eggs" into the basket of Iraq, ignoring both Afghanistan and the Nazi-like Islamic regime in Tehran. During this time, from 2000-2008, the nuclear capability of the mullahs grew, leaving the incoming Obama administration with this cancer. One would have thought then that ridding the Islamic regime of this nightmare for the West would have been at the top of President Obama's priorities. Instead, however, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her minions at the State Department have pursued, obviously at the direction of Obama himself – who has prided himself as the great repository of rational thought toward the Islamic world – a policy of appeasement.
For the last year and a half, as the United States and its allies attempted to negotiate with these despots, the nuclear threat grew, with Iran now able to develop and deploy in five years nuclear-tipped missiles that could potentially reach the United States. In response to what even Obama himself must admit is an unwillingness by the Islamic regime to negotiate nuclear containment, the administration has unsuccessfully sought to rally United Nations support for sanctions against Iran. Even if the administration had succeeded, it is clear that sanctions would have only harmed the Iranian people and not prevented the development of nuclear weapons. Indeed, sanctions are a meaningless gesture; they have never worked. Take the Cuban embargo, now going on 50 years, and President Jimmy Carter's grain embargo against the former Soviet Union as just two examples.
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Predictably, key members of the U.N. National Security Council have balked at so-called strong sanctions – notably China and Russia, which see a strategic anti-American kinship with the Islamic regime. In the face of this additional failure by the Obama foreign-policy establishment, the administration now has to resort to crowing about the capabilities of American ballistic-missile interceptors to shoot down incoming Iranian missiles. This missle defense was installed over Democratic objections in Alaska by the last Bush administration.
In short, Obama's Iran "policy" is in shambles. The policy of appeasement has predictably not worked, no more than it worked for Neville Chamberlain with other "Nazis" prior to World War II. And, given Obama's failure to do anything to support the Iranian freedom movement, which over last summer and into the fall looked like it might succeed, with a little Western encouragement and help, at toppling the Islamic regime, this courageous movement is now virtually dead.
Layer on top of this a Voice of America – the U.S. government organ that is supposed to promote freedom in Iran and around the world – being neutered by the Obama administration, as it now broadcasts, ala the president himself, self-flagellistic anti-American rhetoric apologizing for the United States' past "sins" in foreign affairs, and you have a complete meltdown of a pro-active if not constructive American policy to free the world of this barbaric dictatorship. Indeed, in recent days I was forced to file suit against the Board of Governors and other managers of the Persian News Network of VOA over their successful efforts in viciously destroying a prominent and very popular Persian television anchor, Elham Sataki, because of her personal political views that VOA should be doing much more to promote freedom in Iran. Even the one Republican governor of VOA, Blanquita Collum – a fellow female broadcaster in her own right – stood by and watched Ms. Sataki be rendered mentally and physically disabled as a result of the retaliation the managers meted out, for fear that she herself would be retaliated against by the Obama administration.
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This Obama foreign-policy disaster now raises, more than ever, the question of what the United States should be doing to bring about freedom in Iran, not only to further the interests of these brave Persians yearning to be "free" and promote greater stability to the Middle East, but also to make sure that the nuclear weapons Iran must already possess are in the hands of sane persons.
Clearly, there is no direct military option, given the years both Bush and Obama have allowed Iran's military to grow stronger. And, the time lag has given the Islamic regime time to secure the atomic weapons underground, safe from air bombardment. To bomb Iran would not be the right thing to do in any event, as thousands of innocent, freedom-minded Iranians could be killed.
In this context, supporting the Iranian freedom movement becomes even more important. Notwithstanding an effective VOA, the United States should openly and proudly proclaim its support for the freedom movement, call for the overthrow of the Islamic regime and coordinate a government in exile, which would someday enter into Tehran in triumph as Charles DeGaulle did Paris, when the Nazis were finally removed. And, we should provide covert assistance to the Iranian freedom fighters, including weapons to help them remove the mullahs from power.
In this context, the Obama administration must now concede that the sins of President Carter, who actively engaged in assisting Ayatollah Khomeini in overthrowing the shah 31 years ago, are the cause of the current crisis. At the time, Carter and his equally foolish if not stupid national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, believed that an Islamic state would be a natural enemy of the Soviet Union and its desire to exert greater influence if not control in Iran. Ironically, of course, it was the shah, and before him his father, who sometimes used very strong means to control subversion by communists in their nation. The shah was admirably an ally of the United States, but Carter and his clownish minions undercut him nevertheless and singlehandedly laid the foundation for the Nazi-like Islamic regime that threatens the world today. Now, the shah's son, Reza Pavlavi, is shunned by the American government, despite his being a popular voice of reason and a potential leader of this government in exile. Indeed, neither his nor his father's names can even be mentioned on VOA. This must end! In the context of what has occurred in Iran over the last 31 years, the Persian people, the United States and the world would have been fortunate to have the shah and his family still in power. And, Reza advocates a democratic secular state, as times have changed and there is no longer a need for a strong monarchy.
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Jimmy Carteresque foreign policy failed in the late '70s, and it has failed now. It is time for Obama to throw off his naïve "kinship" with radical Islam and recognize that it is a cancer that must be destroyed in Iran, so the Persian people and the world are set free from this modern-day Third Reich. If Obama fails to heed this warning, he will have a legacy even worse than Carter, Clinton and Bush, as he will have allowed a nuclear tyranny to take hold in Iran that could well someday destroy the Western world.
All this will not happen unless we, the American people, demand it through whatever legal and peaceful means are at our disposal. The Iranian crisis cannot be ignored and "put on the back burner" any longer; it's time to act now!