Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Obama's Feeble Grip On Iran and Reality

A couple of interesting opinion pieces in the media today on the Iran situation, particularly focusing on Borat Obama's feeble-handed and feeble-minded response to it.

First, Wes Pruden in the Washington Times:

So only a churl would rain on the parade of the brave and the bold, but a realist can see the limits of the romantic view of what's going on inside Iran. The most important of the losing candidates, Mir Hossein Mousavi, was no doubt cheated of many votes - maybe enough to have been cheated out of the presidency. But as sad as that is, the greater danger for America and the West is that the boiling rage in the streets will divert attention from what's most crucial, most urgent and most important. Stopping the Iranian bomb, not correcting theft of an election, is what counts most...

The rage in Tehran's streets suggests that time may be running out for a brutal regime, but that same clock is ticking for Barack Obama and what to do about the Iranian bomb. A reprise of the Cairo speech won't work; the Muslims are masters of endless, empty rhetoric themselves, and know how to figure the discount on words. The consequences of taking out the Iranian nuclear works, or enabling Israel to do it for him, would be awful, exceeded only by the consequences of allowing the mullahs in Tehran to get their bomb. Then everybody in Arabia would want one. The Saudis would buy one from Pakistan; certain intelligence sources say a deal is already in the works to deliver it once an Iranian bomb is in place. If the Shi'ites have a bomb, it's only logical, as logic is measured in that miserable corner of the world, for the Sunnis to get one. Every thuggish eighth-century theocracy must be fully armed.

The implications are frightening and easily measured, even by a timid White House. Mutually assured destruction kept the Cold War confrontation between Washington and Moscow in check, with one or two close calls, because both East and West had something to lose. The prospect of Sunnis and Shi'ites shooting it out with nuclear weapons, with nothing to lose but each other, is not a happy one. Dealing with it will require something with more firepower than a teleprompter.

And then Christopher Hitchens at Slate (via FrontPage):

Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of "the Islamic republic." But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. (Hint: Don't make your sole reference to Iranian dictatorship an allusion to a British-organized coup in 1953; the mullahs think that it proves their main point, and this generation has more immediate enemies to confront.)...

Coexistence with a nuclearized, fascistic theocracy in Iran is impossible even in the short run. The mullahs understand this with perfect clarity. Why can't we?

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