Foreign Affairs

Barack Obama: the best US president Iran ever had

Barack Obama: the best US president Iran ever had

Imagine if Mitt Romney had accurately predicted that a re-elected Barack Obama would restore Iran’s prestige as a regional power, cover for them as they completed their nuclear weapons research, and turn Iraq into a bloody quagmire where Tehran would become a major player as a de facto U.S. ally.  Obama’s media cheerleaders would have been carted off newsroom sets, clutching their chests and gasping for air.

But here we are, watching the Iranians hold a hero’s funeral for a commander in the Revolutionary Guard – the same outfit that was slipping operatives across the border to kill American troops in cowardly Geneva Convention-defying sneak attacks not long ago – after he was killed in action against what Obama foolishly described as al-Qaeda’s junior varsity league.  That would be the same outfit the United States is currently dropping bombs on.  The Associated Press reports the latest scene from the Obama-assisted renaissance of the Iranian theocracy:

State TV said the funeral for Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi was held in a Guard compound in Tehran. He will be buried in his hometown Ahvaz in southwestern Iran on Tuesday.

The Guard said Sunday that Taqavi was “martyred while performing his advisory mission” in Samarra, a town north of Baghdad that is home to a major Shiite shrine. He is the highest ranking Iranian officer known to have been killed abroad since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which he fought.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told mourners at the funeral that Taqavi had died defending Iran from extremists, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

“Some ask, what is the link between Taqavi and Samarra? The answer is very clear. If Taqavi and his colleagues do not give blood in Samarra, we should give blood” in Iran, he said.

Shamkhani said Taqavi was a veteran Guard member who had close contacts with the Iraqi armed opposition when the country was ruled by Saddam Hussein.

I suppose it would be bad form to ask what sort of contacts General Taqavi maintained with armed Iraqi opposition after Saddam went down his spider hole.  Remember when the American Left pretended to be overcome with grief and fury at the death of American troops in Iraq, bestowing “absolute moral authority” upon the mother of one such fallen hero, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan?  Never mind all that.  A Democrat’s in the White House now, and his followers are expected to forget everything Iran did to support the Iraqi insurgency, because their dear leader has decided to rehabilitate Iran’s image.

Also, he needs all the help he can get against the Junior Varsity League.  Even Obama’s most ardent media cheerleaders are having a hard time ignoring all the American boots hitting the ground over there.  Fortunately, the Christmas rush helped the Obama media under-report the deployment of 1,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne – not into Baghdad, but into the livelier northern latitudes of Iraq – and the first close-range firefight between U.S. ground forces and the jayvee squad, fought at the Ein al-Asad military base on December 18.  Alas, the holidays are over now, so it will be a lot harder to distract the American people from what’s going on in Iraq, including the need for Iranian muscle to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the threat Obama once mocked Mitt Romney for warning about.

After showering the Castro regime in Cuba with money and prestige in return for absolutely nothing, it looks like Tehran will be the next stop on Obama’s Dictatorship Capitulation Tour.  Unlike with Cuba, there’s a bit of lip service paid to the idea that Iran’s done some terrible things that it really ought to stop doing, but the Iranians know that Barack Obama’s words are wind.  He’s still posturing as a global titan, the First Citizen of the Word, able to bring the crushing weight of planetary disapproval down upon the heads of rogue regimes.  As long as dictators indulge this pretense a little, and give Obama a bit of room to preen in the spotlight and generate some favorable op-eds in American papers, they can expect him to slip bags of taxpayer cash and precious certificates of legitimacy to them under the table.

Thus we have Obama’s remarks on the regime in Tehran – which he slipped up and described as a “country,” rather than the capital city of one, in the sort of gaffe that doesn’t count if you’re a Democrat – to National Public Radio.  This President excels at talking kinda-sorta tough while giving away the store, but as the Weekly Standard notes, it’s rather difficult to reconcile Obama’s rhetorical portrait of Iran with the way he wants to treat them:

[W]hen I came into office, the world was divided and Iran was in the driver’s seat. Now the world’s united because of the actions we’ve taken, and Iran’s the one that’s isolated,” Obama told NPR.

“They have a path to break through that isolation and they should seize it. Because if they do, there’s incredible talent and resources and sophistication inside of — inside of Iran, and it would be a very successful regional power that was also abiding by international norms and international rules, and that would be good for everybody. That would be good for the United States, that would be good for the region, and most of all, it would be good for the Iranian people.”

In the same interview, President Obama acknowledges that Iran sponsors terrorism and wants a nuclear bomb.

“Tehran is a large, sophisticated country that has a track record of state-sponsored terrorism, that we know was attempting to develop a nuclear weapon — or at least the component parts that would be required to develop a nuclear weapon — that has engaged in disruptions to our allies, whose rhetoric is not only explicitly anti-American but also has been incendiary when it comes to its attitude towards the state of Israel,” he said, mistaking Tehran for Iran.

And yet a “path” exists, in Obama’s mind, for this nation to be “a very successful regional power.”

That’s the idea end game for every state sponsor of terrorism: you get to violate all the standards of civilized conduct to advance your agenda, but eventually civilized adversaries weary of endless bloodshed invite you to sit at their table and treat you with the respect you haven’t earned.  Isn’t it interesting to watch liberals, who still hold the United States 100 percent accountable for every historical crime perpetrated by our distant forefathers, hand out clean slates to dictatorial regimes that were training and equipping terrorist insurgents against American forces the day before yesterday?  Terror states don’t even have to tone down their “death to America” rhetoric to get one of those clean slates, and liberal politicians don’t have to make any stern demands in exchange for giving them.  With the threat of the Islamic State bringing a convergence of interests between the U.S. and Iran, there’s not much Obama needs from them beyond a gentleman’s understanding that they won’t cook off their first atomic weapon until after he leaves office.

In that same NPR interview, Obama was asked about reopening the American embassy in Iran.  “I never say never, but I think these things have to go in steps,” was his reply.  That will come as exciting news to our diplomatic corps, because if there’s one guy you want covering your back when you arrive at an embassy on hostile ground, it’s Barack Obama.  Could he at least hold off on musing about the delivery of a fresh load of hostages to Iran until they tell their air force to stop threatening American ships in the Strait of Hormuz?

The word is out to all the world’s strongmen: you’ve got two years to purchase legitimacy at steep discount prices from Obama’s Lame Duck Fire Sale.  Act now, while supplies last.  As long as the President gets a few days of glowing media coverage for “thinking outside the box” and taking bold steps to create new openings with a previously closed regime, it is not necessary to open your regime even a tiny little bit.  You can even keep a few Americans in your dungeons on trumped-up charges, if you want.

For many years, the Left claimed to be angry about questionable deals made with ugly regimes as part of a long Cold War against the world-conquering menace of the Soviet Union.  Now that a leftist academic is perched in the Oval Office, they’re totally cool with making questionable deals with ugly regimes, even without the looming threat of a world-beating enemy.  In fact, some of these deals are being made expressly as weary capitulation to thug states that outlasted American regime-change policy.  It’s impossible to deny that some of the arrangements made to checkmate the Soviets ended badly.  These new capitulations will end worse.

Update: Allow me to anticipate the cries of, “But what about Jimmy Carter?” and respond in advance: Carter didn’t give Iran half of what Obama proposes to.  He was the right President in the right place at the right time to get Iranian theocratic fascism rolling, but he was mostly a passive spectator.


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