The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Poisonous Fruit

I’ve only written one letter to the President of the United States and that was 30 years ago, less about 8 weeks. Thirty years ago today, the Islamist regime that had recently gained control of Iran invaded the American Embassy in Tehran and took well over 400 people hostage. This was a clear violation of international law and an act of war.

Then President Jimmy Carter, in a policy approach that would define his Presidency, did nothing. Well, that’s not really true, he decided that rather than acting, he would talk, and then talk some more to the thugs who ruled Iran.

As the world watched, the Iranians, recognizing a weak, indecisive leader of the United States, jerked Carter around. They mixed ridicule with the occasional concession, all the while laughing at our President's feckless attempts to free the hostages.

I wrote to Carter to suggest that it might be time to act and that if he didn’t, he would become a one-term president (a prediction that turned out to be accurate). But Carter, a "man of peace", hesitated and did nothing of substance. It was, I believe, Carter’s actions over the next year that emboldened Islamists who (correctly) perceived the United States as a paper tiger.

On this dark anniversary, the Los Angeles Times reports:
President Obama today called for a new relationship with Iran in a statement that marked the 30th anniversary of the takeover by Iranian militants of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

The seizure of the embassy by radical students marked the beginning of Iran's turn to hard-line policies. Fifty-two Americans were held hostage for 444 days.

"This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation," Obama said in his statement. "I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

It’s ironic that at the same time Barack Obama spoke those words, violent demonstrations in Iran were being suppressed by government thugs (not a word from Obama), the Israelis intercepted a 400 ton Iranian arms shipment intended for Hezballah (not a word from Obama, but criticism of Israel for the horror of building houses on Israeli land from his secretary of state), topped off by insults from Iranian supreme leader directed at the United States (little mention in the MSM).

Like Carter before him , Obama clearly does not understand the Middle East or the proper exercise of geopolitical power. His naive “soft power” approach, now applied for almost a year, has accomplished exactly—nothing. In fact, it’s accomplished worse than nothing, because it emboldens our adversaries and worries our allies (buy hey, the Europeans now love us, and that has to count for something).

In June, 2008, during Obama's campaign for the Presidency, I wrote:
Many of my left-of-center friends have adopted a mime suggested by the DNC and mimicked by Barack Obama. They suggest that electing John McCain would effectively result in “Bush’s third term.”

There’s no point in delineating the profound differences between Senator McCain and President Bush, the mime is embedded, and logical argument is fruitless. So, smiling, I often suggest (as I’ve done in this blog) that electing Barack Obama may very well result in Jimmy Carter’s second term.

I’ll admit that some of my left-of-center friends are thrilled at the prospect, conveniently forgetting the disaster that was the Carter Presidency—four years in which Carter’s misguided policies led to economic stagflation, unemployment rates approaching double digits, interest rates above 18 percent (that’s right, 18%), a foreign policy that installed the Ayatollah Komeni and Islamofascism in Iran —a country that was a staunch US ally and is now hurtling toward nuclear weapons.

As each day passes, it looks like we are, in fact, reliving Carter’s second term. What worries me is that President Obama, like Jimmy Carter, is sowing seeds that will bear poisonous fruit.