Thursday, November 5, 2009

Missing in action

Iranian dissidents celebrated the 30th anniversary of the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran with counter-demonstrations. At considerable risk to themselves, they shouted "Death to the dictators" instead of "Death to America." And, according to the Los Angeles Times, they also challenged President Obama, saying "Obama! Obama! Either you're with them or with us!" (Thanks to Investor's Business Daily.)

The White House, to mark the anniversary, issued a statement by Obama saying America “wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.” It then reassured the Iranian regime that the United States has no intention of interfering in Iran’s internal affairs.

Barry Rubin recounts here the Bronx cheer that Iranian supreme leader Khamenei gave Obama's attempts to make friends: "Whenever [the Americans] smile at the officials of the Islamic revolution, when we carefully look at the situation, we notice that they are hiding a dagger behind their back," he said. "They have not changed their intentions."

Conclusion: studiously ignoring the people in Iran who want to be our friends, while courting those who prefer to be our enemies, is not 'realistic' foreign policy; it's foolish, shortsighted - and just plain wrong.

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