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Monday, July 20, 2015

He's no Ronald Reagan

President Hussein Obama has suddenly become a partisan of Ronald Reagan.
“Where I completely admire him, was his recognition that if you were able to verify an agreement . . . with the evil empire,” then it was worth doing.
Writing in the Washington Post, Jackson Diehl destroys the notion that this two-bit Islamophilic anti-Semite can be compared to Ronald Regan on any level. 
Reagan might well have concluded that a bargain postponing Iran’s emergence as a nuclear threshold state for 15 years was worthwhile regardless of the nature of the regime. Beyond that, however, Reagan’s answer to the Soviet threat was virtually the opposite of Obama’s for Iran. In that difference lies the strongest critique of the policy this president has pursued.

Though he sometimes plays it down, Obama deeply believes that what he calls engagement with Iran can lead the regime to embrace “a different path” during the decade its nuclear development will be on hold. Thanks to the deal, he told Friedman, the mullahs “have the ability now to take some decisive steps to move toward a more constructive relationship with the world community.”
Reagan, in contrast, didn’t believe the Soviet Communist leadership would change. He was a skeptic of the “detente” policy pursued by Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, calling it “a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims.” His goal was to do whatever he could to undermine and eventually destroy the regime, whether it was shipping arms to insurgents fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan, speaking out in favor of imprisoned dissidents or theatrically demanding that Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. Reagan’s massive increase in defense spending and embrace of missile defense helped to provoke the final collapse of the Soviet economy as it struggled in vain to keep up.
Reagan’s insight was that it was possible to strike deals with Moscow on nuclear arms while simultaneously waging an uncompromising Cold War. Obama’s ideology, which he has applied to Cuba and Burma as well as Iran, is that the United States should seek not to defeat its adversaries, but to coax them into more cooperative behavior.
Consequently, Obama has strongly resisted Reagan’s methods. He has starved Syrian rebel forces of the arms and training they seek to defeat Iran’s closest ally. He declined to speak up for Iran’s domestic opposition even when it staged a street rebellion against the regime in 2009. He has never attempted to secure Iranian compliance with human rights norms, as did Cold War treaties with the Soviet Union. At his news conference last Wednesday, he coldly described the possibility of a strengthened Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army in Syria and Lebanon, as an acceptable tradeoff for the nuclear deal.

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