Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: History, Iran, Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:25 am

There is no love lost between Obama and this site as anyone who has perused my posts for more than 5 minutes can attest. But the president’s response to the Iran crisis - at least on one one level - has been the correct one, in my opinion. He has been cautious, realistic, firm, and taken a tone that is non-confrontational while still offering as much support and sympathy for the Iranians in the streets that, under the circumstances, anyone should expect.

On another level, however, he has failed. By not pausing in trying to achieve rapproachment with the regime and making it clear that our policy is affected by the way they are treating the protestors, the president is giving the Iranian government a free ride. Enough with this stupid “Weenie Diplomacy” and assurances that the outreach will continue as if nothing happened. I am a realist but this smacks of stubbornness on Obama’s part and not the kind of hard headedness that is needed if the president is going to successfully engage Iran and get them to alter their nuclear program and end the threat of war.

The Iranian economy is in shambles. They also feel threatened by the United States (as well they should). They desperately need membership in the WTO and the IMF in order to have access to loans that will allow them to rebuild their crumbling oil industry and have money to invest in 21st century industries.

They also need the UN sanctions - paltry as they are - lifted. In short, there are practical, real world incentives for the Iranians to make a move toward the west. The Khatami-Mousavi faction represents this realism in the regime. It’s not a question of them being “moderate.” Both those men still refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist and believe the US to be the “Great Satan.” Nor do they particularly love “freedom” as we understand the word. They wish to reform an oppressive system not do away with it. However, they seem to be less ideological, more flexible than the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad faction and on that, the president can pin his hopes for negotiations.

But the fascists (I will not dignify their beliefs by referring to them as “conservatives”) hold the upper hand and have powerful instruments of repression on their side - the Rev Guards and Basij. And as long as the Supreme Leader is on their side, the reformers will make little progress. Eventually, there may be a “Grand Bargain” of some kind where the reformers are absorbed in some small way into the system. I doubt that Mousavi will be one of those invited in - he appears to have burned his bridges in that respect. But the bargain will be one of convenience and won’t last.

Obama is absolutely correct that he has no power to influence this internal Iranian debate and his rhetoric has reflected that reality. But he is incorrect in thinking that this means he should allow the Iranians to believe that nothing they do on the streets to their own people will deflect him from seeking some kind of deal. It seems to me that this stance would breed nothing but contempt for America from someone like Ahmadinejad or Khamenei. And having your negotiating partner holding you in contempt is not the best way to get any kind of deal that we could live with.

As for those who are criticizing Obama for his measured rhetoric on Iran, I have to ask the question: Suppose Obama were to do as you ask and use the most violent rhetoric to condemn the regime? Then what? Where do we go from there?

It certainly would feel good to give a few verbal pops in the mouth to Ahmadinejad and his crew, but when the dust settles, where are we? Are we any closer to stopping Iran from building a bomb without risking a ruinous war in the Middle East? Is Israel safer? Is Iraq better off?

Unfortunately, the advocates of tough talk are also advocates of bombing Iran, with all the catastrophic fall out that such a policy would entail. It may yet come to war with Iran. I am enough of a realist to see how Iran possessing the bomb would be, in John McCain’s words, “the only thing worse than war.” But to not do everything in our power to resolve the situation without armed conflict would be the folly of our times, much worse than the idiots who blundered into starting World War I or the appeasers who allowed Hitler to start World War II.

The cavalier way in which many talk of “hitting” Iran makes my blood run cold. Rejecting negotiations outright just doesn’t make sense to me in this situation. There are too many unknowns to be confident that bombing Iran wouldn’t make things worse. And if that would be the case, why bother? Only in the last extremity - ironclad proof that Iran has a weapon or is enriching uranium to the 85-90% level to build one - should we consider war.

Obama’s outreach to Iran will almost certainly fail as long as the fascists are in power. They are too ideological, too paranoid to change. But who knows what the future will bring? What kind of shape will the Iranian economy be in a year from now? Who will be in charge? Will it come to a point that Iran actually needs the west to stave off disaster?

This is why Obama’s rhetoric on today’s crisis may be sound, but the idea that he is not demonstrating that the regime’s treatment of their own citizens has any consequences at all is wrongheaded. Successful negotiations require that both parties respect each other. Given Obama’s actions, it is hard to believe that carrying on a “business as usual” stance with the regime will engender anything but contempt for the US from its leaders.


  1. Believing that the current Iranian regime will ever respect any American president - particularly this one - is ludicrous and woolly-minded.

    I don’t think WE should bomb Iran but I do think that Israel has the ability and the spine to do what we have the ability but no spine to do - bomb the hell out of the nuclear facilities for their own protection. At least that’s my call on the matter.

    I do not ever believe in “negotiating” with a bully. I have encountered too many and the thing that works best is a good swift kick with a steel-toed boot to their “privates” - memorable and effective!

    Comment by Gayle Miller — 6/24/2009 @ 3:02 pm

  2. I second Gayle Miller - there is no one that a bully dislikes more than some one who is so willing to be pushed around. It is a sign of weakness and bullies can smell it from miles away.

    Obama’s comments on this issue has been forced by the cold blodded killings on the ground - besides the Washington Times today reports that Obama sent a letter to Khameni before the elections


    What this shows is that Obama was nothing more than a wuss who was literally BEGGING the mullahs to behave better - “see, i sent you this nice letter and now i have not gone anywhere near Sarkozy or Merkel have in expressing condemnation, so please, please…. please dont make me outright condemn you !”

    Andrew McCarthy at NRO has this jaw dropping article about how Obama HAS ALREADY released Iranian backed terrorists in exchange for the bodies of two British hostages who were kidnapped and killed ( Five American soldiers were killed by the same terror cell)


    Rick, you have tried to honestly evaluate Obama’s position on Iran - kudos to you - but no matter how much lipstick you put on the Iranian pig, it still is a pig.

    If anything, the regime will now work overtime to get its nuclear bomb ready - imagine the security and leverage that the regime would get once it has the bomb - it would be The Shia MIRROR IMAGE of Pakistan. If the cost of attacking Iran now is terrible, the cost of attacking a nuclear armed Iran would be inexplicable.

    The more you try to delay the inevitable, the quicker it seems to happen - especially with war.

    The Iranian regime has every reason to believe and logically so that should it survive the current crisis, its longevity is best guaranteed by nuclear weapons.

    And from what we have seen in the last two weeks - first, the hastiness with which Khamenei declared Ahmedinejad to be the winner and second the forcefulness of his threat in the Friday sermons no less to any one who dares to protest shows that there is a new power center in Iran who has the backing of the military (the IRG) - and he happens to be their next President.

    DinnerJacket has FORCED Khamenei to back him if Khamenei wants to keep the illusion of the sole Supreme leader going.

    All I can say is that Netanyahu is the only man who has the balls to pull off what is needed - a total annhilation of their nuclear program.

    BUT Obama is not going to allow Israeli planes to fly over Iraqi airspace - how the hell is Bibi going to counter this?

    For more news on how brutally Iranian protestors were attacked and killed today, please read this


    Pray for the brave people of Iran - they are fighting pure evil.

    Comment by Nagarajan Sivakumar — 6/24/2009 @ 7:12 pm

  3. I am with you, Rick, that bombing Iran is the last resort we should take. I am even with you that Obama may have a reasonable plan in restraining the rhetoric. Good post, very logical.

    In past decades, CIA could support the opposition with money, weapons, political influence (bribes), etc. But now, everybody with a cell phone can record video evidence of all that, and post it on YouTube in minutes. Those days are over, at least to the degree of the empowerment of the Shah, or the Contra’s of Nic.

    As you rightly say, Iran must feel the consequence of their human and civil rights abuse. But quite honestly, for the first time, I feel Obama’s pain: there does not seem to be a good solution… I am a man of strong convictions, but I am also man enough to admit that I have no idea what to do here. I do not want to live under the threat of a nuclear Iran, run by a madman. On the other hand, I don’t want my 22 year old son manning checkpoints in Tehran.

    Comment by lionheart — 6/24/2009 @ 7:55 pm

  4. So why exactly are there no options for the U.S. except what Obama has done to date and war with Iran (which those calling for a tougher line are presumed to favor ASAP)? Did I miss some connection in the argument?

    Obama (and Hillary) said in the campaign that he favored “tough diplomacy” over war. So do I. He’s on record favoring “soft power” and “smart power.” I favor them too.

    So why are we now deploying “soft or smart power” options? A good start would be to put the case to the Security Council — can’t get much softer power than that — but what’s the use of the UN if you don’t go there when a theocratic fascist regime is murdering its own people in the streets?

    Then, there is trade — not so much with the US, which has little, but with Europe and Asia, which have a lot. And Iran needs foreign investment, membership in the WTO, help from the IMF, etc.

    The Russians just declared for Ahmadi. Did we do anything to persuade them not to do so? Do we have no leverage with the Russians? Aren’t there linkages to be found? The same for China and the Arab states.

    Does Tehran only fear the US because we might bomb its nukes some day down the road or does it not have to worry at least a little that the US can find a dozen ways to keep the anti-regime pot boiling — if we really put our minds and some resources to the task?

    Then, still well short of US attack or war, there is the possibility that the US could turn a blind eye to Israel taking action.

    It’s simply preposterous to suggest that the US has no options except low-key mumbling or war.

    Comment by John Burke — 6/25/2009 @ 12:12 am

  5. The US can work, as David Brooks described last week, to discredit and slowly dismantle the Iranian regime as it once did w/ the Soviets in the 80’s.

    Talk of a US war w/ Iran is silly because it would likely mean a crashed world economy, given that the Iranians will not go quietly in the night like Saddam did. They will shoot many, many missiles at Saudi and other Gulf oil sites, destroying vital petrol infrastructure in the process that would takes months or even years to bring back online. No amount of offshore drilling in the near term will replace that lost production, and oil prices would shoot through the roof to the tune of $7-9 dollars a gallon. Would the US economy survive that for very long?

    China and Russia will gladly pay for the oil infrastructure Rick mentions is needed for the Iranians to succeed in the 21st Century. The last time I checked, we had little leverage with either country and in fact, the Chinese seem to own our debt and essentially have a check on our foreign policy, though neither Republicans or Democrats want to admit it.

    Iran can get by on not joining the WTO or IMF because of that Russian and (especially) Chinese support. If Obama were somehow able to string together a coalition of Arab states, the EU and even India to oppose the Iranian regime with staunch sanctions, it would still mean little in the face of sustained Chinese and Russian support.

    Comment by Eddie — 6/25/2009 @ 7:10 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress