May 09, 2006

Speaking Truth To Idiocy

Imagine if you will, two cars in a race on parallel tracks. One car is an Indy job with a huge well tuned engine and a 100 mile absolutely flat raceway, no curves, no obstructions, clear driving. The other is a 1932 Model A Ford poorly maintained, with a bad cylinder and gunked up carburetor. It's road is potholed, rough, partly unpaved and has many pieces of junk on the surface but is, however, 10 miles shorter.

Car one is Iran, car two is those who are trying to head off Iran's development of nuclear diplomacy. Which really has a chance to win? If you said the first, give yourself a prize (might I suggest a swift belt of Glenfiddich just before the Iranian nuke explodes over Israel).

That's illogical Roper, you might say, well, yeah, but it may be also the truth. I'll grant that relationships between the US and Iran is not an automobile race, but it is a race none-the-less. Because right now, there is a concerted move in diplomatic circles and in the mainstream media (MSM) to make the United States in general and George Bush in particular the bad guy in this danse macabre. And the good guys are about to take it in the chops.

Don't believe me? In today's Wall Street Journal is an article by one Amir Taheri outlining the failed diplomacy and policies of the past (Carter, Brzezinski, Clinton, etc.) and how it is currently being touted as the only way to get the irrational and psychotic Iranian regieme to "give up" their nuclear ambitions. And, seemingly, it is based on the failed policies of the past. In his article, Taheri noted:

Something interesting is happening with regard to the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Slowly the blame is shifting from the mullahs to the Bush administration as the debate is redirected to tackle the hypothetical question of U.S. military action rather than the Islamic Republic's real misdeeds. "No War on Iran" placards are already appearing where "No Nukes for Iran" would make more sense.

The attempt at fabricating another "cause" with which to bash America is backed by the claim that the mullahs are behaving badly because Washington refuses to talk to them. Some of this buzz is coming from those who for years told the U.S. to let them persuade Iran to mend its ways. They include German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his British and French colleagues in the European Union trio that negotiated with Iran for years. Preparing to throw in the towel, they now say the U.S. should "directly engage" Iran. That would enable them to hide their failures and find a pretext for blaming future setbacks on the U.S."

So, why this new meme? Actually for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is Bush Derangement Syndrome. But it is misplaced anger, and typical of the misdirection of the Anti-Bush left. And no, I'm not (this time) saying the whole left, or even the majority of the left, but for damn sure a significant portion of the left that gets to set policy and gets to set the flavor of political debate for the larger left.

Let's go back, as Taheri does to John F. Kenndy, perhaps the last semi-conservative Democratic President. Conservative? Who are you kidding Roper? The conservatives denounced Kennedy as a bleeding heart liberal when he was President. That is correct, but that was then and this is now and we have the advantage of hindsight. Kennedy made some very conservative moves as President, not the least of which was cutting ruinous tax-rates. But, I digress. Kennedy made somewhat of a hash of the Cuban Missle crisis. In order to get missiles out of Cuba (which were already against international law) he pledged two things. One, to remove missles from Turkey and two to promise not to take military action against Cuba. The end result of this "bargaining" was to set a policy that today we still have to deal with and left Cuba via the dictates of Castro to attempt to spread revolution throughout vulnerable parts of the world. As Taheri noted:

Instead of being punished, Castro and his Soviet masters were doubly rewarded for undoing what they shouldn't have done in the first place. And Castro was free to do mischief not only in Latin America but also in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf, often on behalf of Moscow, right up to the fall of the U.S.S.R."
This is the "sophisticated leadership" that the Democrats and the left would have us follow. Notice how well that worked?

Kennedy was, however, only the first link in a chain of failed positions. Then came Jimmah Cartuh (some spellings have it as Jimmy Carter) who beat the hapless Ford for the Presidency in 1976. Carter then presided over perhaps the most miserable excuse for a presidential administration in the world with possibly the exception of U.S. Grant. When the Mullah's took power in Tehran and foisted their criminal theocracy on Iran, Carter sent them a congratulatory note. Again from Taheri:

In 1979, soon after the mullahs seized power, Mr. Carter sent Ayatollah Khomeini a warm congratulatory letter. Mr. Carter's man at the U.N., a certain Andrew Young, praised Khomeini as "a 20th-century saint."
Saint indeed. And then for some 400 days, the Ayatollah Khomeini and his thugs (one of which is now President of Iran) committed an act of war by seizing the United States Embassy, soverign ground of the United States and holding hostage some 50 plus of its staff. Yes indeed, a real "Saint" that Khomeini. It was not until the inaugeration of Ronald Reagan and the realization that he wouldn't play patty cake with them that they finally released the hostages. There is a lesson here for those of you on the left that really think: you can't deal with these folks, they don't understand or give a damn about diplomacy, they only understand that when their opponent won't back down, that they will.

Taheri goes on to say:

A more dramatic show of U.S. support for the mullahs came when Mr. Brzezinski flew to Algiers to meet Khomeini's prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan. This was love at first sight -- to the point where Mr. Carter approved the resumption of military supplies to Iran, even as the mullahs were executing Iranians by the thousands, including many whose only "crime" was friendship with the U.S. The Carter administration's behavior convinced the mullahs that the U.S. was a paper tiger and that it was time for the Islamic Revolution to highlight hatred of America. Mr. Carter reaped what he had sown when the mullahs sent "student" fanatics to seize the U.S. embassy compound, a clear act of war, and hold its diplomats hostage for 444 days. "The Carter administration's weakness was a direct encouragement to [anti-American] hard-liners," wrote Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, one of the hostage-takers, years later.

Mr. Brzezinski's op-ed took the title "Been There, Done That," meant as a sneering nod to events that led to the liberation of Iraq. A more apt title, however, is: "Been There, Done That, Learned Nothing" -- a nod to Mr. Brzezinski's failure to learn the lessons of Iran even three decades later."

Did you read that? ""The Carter administration's weakness was a direct encouragement to [anti-American] hard-liners."

And the last piece of the failed diplomacy puzzle is from our old friend, author of the third way, the serial philanderer and donator of silk underwear William Jefferson Clinton. According to Taheri (and a number of others who have noted the same fatuous claim) Clinton has said:

Anytime somebody said in my presidency, 'If you don't do this, people will think you're weak,' I always asked the same question for eight years: 'Can we kill 'em tomorrow?' If we can kill 'em tomorrow, then we're not weak."
But Clinton didn't ask all the relevant questions. He could have asked
What if by refusing to kill some of them today we are forced to kill many more tomorrow? Also: What if, once assured that we are not going to kill them today, they regroup and come to kill us in larger numbers?
As Taheri said, "We all know the answers."

There is a truism in behavioral science, if you want more of a behavior, reward it. If you want less of a behavior punish it or give a realistic and believable threat to punish. President Reagan gave a realistic and believable threat to the security of the Mullahs and they backed down. Jimmah Cartuh reinforced their behavior by doing nothing, in essence rewarding their actions in taking over the U.S. Embassy. Why is it that the left has such difficulty learning this lesson. They have seen the lesson time and time again in little things like giving someone a pension because they have a drinking problem to the international stage in which nation-states have advanced their goals because someone backed down. Munich and Chamberlain come to mind anyone? This refusal to see how human beings really react to reward/punishment is endemic in the left, and sometimes in the right, but most specifically in the left. We are seeing this currently in many European capitals and their waffling with the islamo-fascist threat in their midst. The plight of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. comes to mind. As does the EU's decision to come up with "non-judgmental" descriptors for islamo-fascist terrorism in a "culture war" we dare not lose.

Again, I digress. Clinton, unknown to many, offered to allow Iran the "opportunity" to become the regional powerhouse. Taheri:

Mr. Clinton did not reveal that in 1999 he offered the mullahs "a grand bargain" under which the Islamic Republic would be recognized as the "regional power" in exchange for lip service to U.S. "interests in the Middle East." As advance payment for the "bargain" Mr. Clinton apologized for "all the wrongs that my country and culture have done" to Iran, whatever that was supposed to mean. The "bargain," had it not been vetoed by the "Supreme Guide" in Tehran, might have secured Mr. Clinton the Nobel Peace Prize he coveted, but it would have sharpened the mullahs' appetite for "exporting" revolution.
Ahh, Clinton and his many meaningless apologies. Kind of turns the stomach doesn't it?

Taheri issues a clear call for those of the "diplo-speak" to come forward with a specific plan and also abjure the double talk. I'll add to that: Why bother? At the present time the Mullahs and the Madman have no intention of backing down except in the face of a real and credible threat. I'm not saying start a war, but unless we can manage to get the theocrats in Iran to understand that war is behind our diplomacy, they will not back down and we will have a nuclear Iran. One that simultaneously denies the Holocaust but plans to start a real one.

If the world (and by this I really mean the West) doesn't get it through their collective thick skulls that these are not nice people, they are not rational people and they have a deluded belief that they can conquer the world for Islam than our courts and our laws may some day be supplanted by the laws and courts of the Mullahs. And that is the bottom line.

Tracked at The Mudville Gazette

Posted by GM Roper at May 9, 2006 09:09 PM | TrackBack

George W. Bush understands that he cannot win with some (many) people, particularly of the Left and many in Europe. If he chooses diplomacy, as he's done with Iran, the US is blamed for the lack of positive result. If he chooses force, as he did in Iraq, the US is a hegemonic warmonger nation.

To his credit he has, in the past and knowing this, chosen to do what he believes will offer the best opportunity for success. Unfortunately with Iran, with his political capital expended and his will debilitated, he was coerced into the wrong - meaning ineffectual - approach.

As GM has so painstakingly shown, the historical record tells us that the dipolomatic approach often fails when employed with non-democratic states - such as Iraq, Iran, etc - because they simply cannot be trusted to bargin in good faith and their goal is to selfishly get as much as they possible can negotiate.

Iran is making the same mistake Iraq made in that it assumes our hands are tied by the UN and Euro-International community. Sadly, given the low political popularity of the President and the looming Congressional elections, they may be correct.

Posted by too many steves at May 10, 2006 04:38 AM

Israel, yet again, will have to do the job...or perish. Can we even imagine what it is like to live there? Enemies near, semi-near (within easy missile range), AND far. Millions professing that it is God's will that they be entirely exterminated.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world, is mostly unconcerned.

Shame on us.

Posted by tad at May 10, 2006 06:31 AM

I wish we would END this drama once and for all. Ending it would be painful- we would have more enemies in the short run. In the long run though, the world would come to respect those who respect freedom and life.
My idea of ending this includes a nuclear blast or 20 over the entire region.

It's us or them.

Posted by Raven at May 10, 2006 02:15 PM

Great post, GM!

The situation with Iran does rather resemble the Carter era, and our exercise of diplomacy with these guys may kill us yet.

Posted by Tim Birdnow at May 10, 2006 05:04 PM

Re: your comment that the blame will shift from the mullahs to Bush.

Those who do so will think themselves brave; fearless thinkers unafraid to look at the world as it is and Say Out Loud what no one else dares to say. Actually, all of their friends will be saying it too, so they can all stand bravely alone in splendid isolation together.

Hey, it's much easier to swallow than to have to say "I'm just a partisan hack."

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at May 10, 2006 05:56 PM

There's no rush. Bush showed how useless Europe is by handing them the ball and syaing, "Here, try your soft power and show us stupid hicks how the world works."

That was a demonstration.

We probably do have people in Iran gathering intelligence.

The important thing is that they are stopped before they get a bomb. In fact, waiting to blast those installations till the last moment will be more discouraging than doing so immediately.

We will have better intelligence by then. Perhaps even custom-made bombs. The result will be less collateral damage and greater effectiveness.

Plus, a miracle could happen in the meantime. The Iranians could overthrow their government for example.

But I just can't see us allowing Iran the bomb under any circumstances. I don't think the rest of the world takes us seriously on that. Europe thinks, "They aren't after us. If we kiss up, they'll attack Israel and give weapons to terrorists to attack America. Not us." And they make a virtue of looking the other way when their neighbor is attacked.

Posted by Kathy - At the Zoo at May 10, 2006 11:06 PM

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