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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Let's Talk About It

Wow. Maybe the reason Iran doesn't want to talk to us isn't because George W. Bush hurt their feelings. Maybe it's not actually in the interests of a scum-sucking regime to talk to us.

For the entire campaign and much of his presidency, Barack Obama has laid the blame for Iran’s actions on George W. Bush rather than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Obama would, unlike Bush, engage the Iranian regime. He would bring the Sweet Voice of Reason to the dialogue. Obama’s skills at international diplomacy, so evident during his years in the Illinois state senate, would tame the terrorist-sponsoring, Holocaust-denying, Israel-threatening, election-frauding, America-is-the-Great-Satan believing president of Iran and the mullahs who support him. So long as we didn’t provoke the Iranian regime — and so long as our president spoke respectfully of it and took the obligatory subtle jabs at the U.S. in the process — all things were possible. After all, how could Ahmadinejad be unmoved by the young, sophisticated, charismatic Barack Hussein Obama, author of The Cairo Speech (already deemed by Rahm Emanuel as one of the greatest foreign policy speeches ever made by an American president)?

Quite easily, it turns out.

It may be that the problems with Iran rested not with President Bush but with the nature of the Iranian regime itself. It may be that referring to the Iranian regime, as well as the regimes of North Korea and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, as an “axis of evil” wasn’t the source of the difficulty after all. It may be that those regimes actually were and still are evil. And it may be that leaders like Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-Il are immune to the charms of America’s 44th president. They may interpret Obama’s efforts at outreach as signs of weakness. They may decide to set the terms of debate and, later, negotiations. And they may turn out to be so unreasonable and intransigent that Obama the Logician is flummoxed when it comes to dealing with them. Maybe Obama’s effort to cast himself as the Great Reconciler and the Great Apologizer will not only fail, but prove to be counterproductive.


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