Obama said that he would talk to Iran without preconditions. The Iranians have reacted with contempt, saying that Obama wants to talk because the U.S. has failed. And the Iran has cheerfully begun setting out its own preconditions: first Ahmadinejad said that Obama “must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran.” And now we hear that Obama must accept a nuclear Iran for “the chances for dialogue and co-operation” to “succeed.”
They have done more in this line, as Caroline Glick notes in “Honest Obama and Iran” in Jewish World Review, January 30 (thanks to all who sent this in):
The Iranians for their part have reacted to the new president with a mixture of relief and contempt. On November 6, two days after the US election, Ahmadinejad sent a congratulatory letter to Obama. Ahmadinejad’s letter was considered a triumph for Obama’s conciliatory posture by the American and European media. But actually, it was no such thing. Ahmadinejad’s letter was nothing more than a set of demands much like those he had set out in a letter to then-president George W. Bush in 2006.
In his missive to Obama, Ahmadinejad laid out Iranian preconditions for a diplomatic engagement with America. Among other things, Ahmadinejad demanded that the US send all its military forces back to America. As he put it, the US should, “keep its interventions within its own country’s borders.”
So Obama’s conciliatory gestures have led only to increased Iranian demands. Numerous historical examples show that appeasement often inspires increased bellicosity in the one being appeased; Lawrence Auster makes a terrific point about this:
Caroline Glick demonstrates that just two weeks into his presidency, Obama is already in the far reaches of appeasement of Iran. Her article reminds me of Allen Drury’s 1970s Cold War novel Come, Ninevah, Come Tyre. It’s about a very liberal U.S. president who thinks that if he makes sufficient conciliatory gestures to the USSR, the latter will react in kind and the superpower standoff will be ended and the world will be at peace. So he announces a huge, unilateral drawback and reduction of U.S. forces, tantamount to a surrender in the Cold War. And what do the Soviets do in response? They instantly demand further U.S. concessions, accompanied by hostile threats. But that’s not the end. Now comes the most amazing moment of the story, showing that Drury truly understood the liberal mind. The president, instead of realizing that the Soviets’ belligerent response to his peace move has shown it to have been a fiasco, makes yet another extravagant peace move.
Read Glick’s article. You’ll see that something like that (though not yet as extreme and consequential) has happened between Johnnie [Ahmadinejad] and Obama. Also, I recommend the Drury novel. It is highly relevant to our time, now that, under our new president, as in some nightmare from which we thought we had long ago awakened, we seem doomed to relive every folly of liberalism, as though the spirit of every past appeaser, fictional as well as historical,–Neville Chamberlain, Henry Wallace, Adlai Stevenson, Robert A. Leffingwell, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter–had been incarnated in the current U.S. president.
Not that Busheron [GW Bush] wasn’t a despicable appeaser, with his joshing around with enemies of our country who openly despised him. But Barack seems to be on a whole other level.
I read Come Nineveh, Come Tyre long ago, and, coincidentally, revisited it last year, and agree with Auster’s assessment: Drury has the mind of the appeaser down cold, and when I reread it I was amazed by the large numbers of parallels between the Cold War scenario of the novel and the large-scale appeasement mode of the West vis-a-vis the global jihad and Islamic supremacism today. There is a vastly inferior companion novel, The Promise of Joy, in which Drury imagines that the liberal appeaser’s opponent, a proponent of a strong stand against the Soviet Union, becomes President instead — with an outcome that is catastrophic in different ways, not least because, in opposition to the President, the appeasers still control the media and a great deal more. Both are worth visiting or revisiting, especially Come Nineveh, Come Tyre, if you can find them.
Anyway, will Obama reward Iran’s increased arrogance and new demands with new concessions, after the pattern of President Edward M. Jason in Come Nineveh, Come Tyre? I wouldn’t be surprised. Would you?
“Iran says US must accept nuclear programme,” by Roula Khalaf and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Financial Times, February 4 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A senior adviser to Iran’s president says dialogue with the US will succeed only if the Obama administration accepts Tehran’s right to have a nuclear programme.
Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, right-hand man to Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the fundamentalist president, said, in an interview with the Financial Times, Tehran was studying its options, just as the new US administration was reviewing its Iran policy.
The US hopes to engage with Iran and persuade the country to halt its uranium enrichment activities, the most sensitive part of the nuclear programme, and withdraw its support for militant groups in the region….
But Iran too has a list of demands requiring US policy shifts.
On some issues — such as the removal of US troops from Iraq and stabilising Afghanistan — Iran and the US can find common ground.
Others, particularly Iran’s claim that its nuclear programme is peaceful in nature and so advanced that it has become a fact on the ground, could prove the two sides” differences are irreconcilable.
“If [US] policies change the two nations will get closer to each other, the two governments will get closer to each other and the chances for dialogue and co-operation will succeed,” said Mr Samareh.
“The policy of [George W.] Bush was to use this [the nuclear issue] as an excuse to stand up against the Iranian nation.
“For there to be change, this policy has to change.” In Afghanistan, he said, Iran was expecting a more robust effort to fight opium production….