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Monday, June 22, 2009

Why Obama got Iran wrong

Fouad Ajami explains why President Obama got Iran wrong.
But in truth Iran had never wanted an opening to the U.S. For the length of three decades, the custodians of the theocracy have had precisely the level of enmity toward the U.S. they have wanted -- just enough to be an ideological glue for the regime but not enough to be a threat to their power. Iran's rulers have made their way in the world with relative ease. No White Army gathered to restore the dominion of the Pahlavis. The Cold War and oil bailed them out. So did the false hope that the revolution would mellow and make its peace with the world.

Mr. Obama may believe that his offer to Iran is a break with a hard-line American policy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In 1989, in his inaugural, George H.W. Bush extended an offer to Iran: "Good will begets good will," he said. A decade later, in a typically Clintonian spirit of penance and contrition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came forth with a full apology for America's role in the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

Iran's rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact. There is a Persian pride and a Persian solitude, and the impact of three decades of zeal and indoctrination. The drama of Barack Obama's election was not an affair of Iran. They had an election of their own to stage. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a son of the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolutionary order, a man from the brigades of the regime, austere and indifferent to outsiders, an Iranian Everyman with badly fitting clothes and white socks -- was up for re-election.
Read it all.


At 11:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The important point is Iran's rulers are religious zealots, not Iranian nationalists. They don't care if the people suffer and die. If faced between preserving their regime or reviving their dying country, there is no paradox for them. Their power comes first even when that means the end of not only Iran but of the world. It is what makes Iran's Islamist rulers so dangerous - they are not governed by moral rules or rational restraints. The sooner the West appreciates this, the better off it will be. That's why Obama got Iran wrong.

At 12:32 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I think that Sarkozy or even Bibi can claim the mantle of being the leader of the Free World.
Good job Hussein.


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