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

Monday, March 05, 2018

An Aunt's Opinion

I can recall a family gathering in the 1978-79 timeframe in which a debate over Iran ensued. Many in my family were what we now call progressives, and like all progressives at the time, they demonized the Shah of Iran and lionized the "peoples revolution" and its leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. I argued that although the Shah wasn't angelic, he was a U.S. ally and had worked hard not to allow Iran to fall under the spell of Islamist ideology. But the progressives insisted that the Ayatollah Khomeini was a wonderful man, that accusations of extreme Islamist ideology were grossly overblown and that his ascendency to leadership of Iran was a wonderful thing.

At the time of the family gathering, rumors swirled about how once the Shad was deposed, the Ayatollah Khomeini would fly from his refuge in France and take control. The progressives at my family gathering were ecstatic. I winced, and my aunt angrily asked what I would do instead.

"Shoot down the plane," I responded sarcastically.

The history of the past 40 years indicates that there were worse strategies.

Jose María Aznar and Stephen Harper write:
Iran is a revolutionary theocratic state committed to spreading religious extremism throughout the Islamic world. It combines this ideological mission with pragmatic tactics, projecting political and military power from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean and Red seas. To support its ambition, Iran has illegally pursued nuclear weapons and fought wars using terrorist proxies. Iran’s leaders have threatened Israel time and again with total destruction, and now, for the first time since the Islamist revolution of 1979, Iranian power has arrived at Israel’s border.

Despite Tehran’s quest for regional control, popular protests in December and January showed that most of the nation’s citizens don’t share their leaders’ designs. The regime’s destabilizing actions have also triggered resistance from Saudi Arabia and other regional powers. Iran’s own citizens and neighbors are convinced of Tehran’s malice, and all concerned nations should heed their warning.

But, but, but ... today's progressives argue that Barack Obama and his team of foreign policy 2s established an agreement that has everything under control. That the vaunted "Iran Deal" is the West's protection.

Aznar and Harper respond:
The Friends of Israel Initiative, of which we are members, has always maintained that the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement does not adequately prevent the regime’s progress. The nuclear inspections for which the agreement provides grant Iran too much time to conceal evidence of illicit activity. And the agreement doesn’t prohibit the development of delivery mechanisms such as ballistic and cruise missiles. Worst of all, the agreement’s sunset clause provides a clear horizon for Iran to resume its race toward a nuclear bomb.

Rather than preventing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the 2015 agreement gave the regime a road map to achieving them. Predictions that the agreement would de-escalate tensions and improve cooperation have proved wrong. Since signing the agreement, Iran’s aggression and hostility have increased.
No matter. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, progressives are convinced that the Iran Deal is our protection. They are as wrong today as my aunt was in 1979.