Sunday, July 5, 2009

Obama's Iran Wimplomacy, Shades of Carter

Like Jimmy Carter before him, Barack Obama just doesn't get it. President Carter allowed - yes, allowed - the radical Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Iran to happen in the late 1970's. Then, Carter did nothing to prop up the Shah of Iran. Granted, the Shah was something of a bastard, but as the old saying goes, he was "our bastard." More importantly, the Shah was a far better alternative than the lunatics that replaced him. Now, in 2009, those lunatics and their successors still run Iran with iron fists, more repressive than the Shah ever was. Whereas Carter betrayed the Iranian people by allowing the lunatics in, Obama today has betrayed them by not speaking out soon enough - or with enough resolve - against the barabaric response to the protesters in the streets. About 20 are known to have been killed. Hundreds more have been badly injured, maimed, and imprisoned. Mark LeVine, Middle Eastern historian, wrote this for Al Jazeera: It took more than a week of intensified government repression against protesters in Iran before Barack Obama, the US president, moved from cautious commentary to describing the crackdown as "violent and unjust". LeVine hits Obama's Wimplomacy (my word) with no mercy: Rather than encourage Arab democrats, the Obama administration is improving ties with Libya and returning an ambassador to Syria, where today we are courting Bashar al-Assad as a "key player" in the region, despite his country's abysmal record on human rights and democracy. Obama, like Carter and so many other Democrats, seem to have a knee-jerk fear of offending dictators. They also have an instinctive love of them, such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Mao, and so on. You can walk down any city street and see Che Guevara shirts. It's extremely rare indeed to see anybody wearing a Benito Mussolino shirt. The Left loves dictators. LeVine continued by touching on why it's so important for an American president to do what Obama has not done, which is to give assurance to those longing for democracy: Consider what would happen if, instead of staying on the sidelines in Iran while playing softball with Israel and trying to woo other autocratic regimes into our orbit, Obama could look the Iranian leadership in the eyes and make the same demand of them that he should be making of all the leaders of the region: democratise and grant freedom to the peoples under your control. At least then the brave Iranians risking their lives for democracy, and the long-repressed peoples of the region more broadly, would know that the US stands up for them. While the vast majority of U.S. citizens would love to see true democracy take hold in Iran, the sad fact is that the U.S. has officially not stood up for the Iranian people. The top official to fail in that duty, the one who is symbolically and politically most important, is Barack Obama. At the end of LeVine's column, Al Jazeera added a post script. "The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Al Jazeera," it said. Here's my post script: The views expressed by Mark LeVine are in complete synch with those of Chicago News Bench. Leave a Comment... See Our Online Store Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...