The Corner

Perception and Reality in Iran

It isn’t exactly news that Obama’s strategy of constructive engagement in Iran is failing because of the utter lack of good faith on the other side. The mullahs are happy to take advantage of Obama’s nice-guy approach, because it gives them the one thing they most desperately want: precious time to pursue their nuclear program and amplify their influence in the region, free from pesky American pressure.

This report, however, touches on a more specific failing of the administration:

Iranian leaders are turning inward and rejecting engagement with the West as they blame outsiders for street protests, even as President Barack Obama’s administration pushes for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

The leadership has denounced foreign governments as “enemies” for encouraging demonstrations over last month’s presidential election and plans to put a British Embassy employee on trial for inciting the protests, which were violently suppressed. A French student also has been detained on spy.

When Obama’s supporters urged him to show restraint and stay on the sidelines during the recent Iranian uprising, one of their main arguments was that any forceful statements or material support America gave in aid of the protests would help the regime tar the protestors as American dupes and foreign puppets. But of course, the mullahs were always going to make that argument anyway, with a significant amount of credibility. The question, then, is how much the regime’s propaganda efforts would have been helped if their charges of American meddling would have been true. And would this harm have been outweighed by the benefits if America came out in full-throated support of the dissidents? To me the answer seems far from clear, despite the legions of Obama apologists who are vehemently committed to the creed that the best way we can help democracy in Iran is to avoid standing up for it, whatever we do.

Absent any conclusive evidence that this passive approach is tactically sound, though, it seems quite indefensible. Shouldn’t we want the leader of the free world to err on the side of standing firmly and openly with the brave souls who fill the streets clamoring for liberty and democracy, and against the tyrants who send bullets and soldiers to crush any hope of reform?

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More
Elections

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More