“There will be no more stupidity, no more mistakes. It’s a new day. God help you all.” — the sinister new President in his Inaugural Address, in the movie Masked and Anonymous
“God help you all” indeed. Obama’s message to Iran, delivered on the occasion of Persian New Year, looks like more appeasement. His fellow appeasers (Solana) are enthusiastic about it, and the objects of the appeasement (the mullahs) are reacting with a predictable uptick of aggression and bellicosity.
“In a Video Appeal to Iran, Obama Offers a “˜New Day,– by Alan Cowell in the New York Times, March 20:
Invoking art, history and “the common humanity that binds us,” President Obama offered a “new day” in America’s relationship with Iran, using an unusual videotaped message to appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.
Yes, we both celebrate New Year’s in much the same way, so we must not be all that bad, eh?
But he warned Iran’s leaders that their access to what he called Iran’s “rightful place in the community of nations” would not be advanced by threats or by “terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions.” […]
Here, as always, the President assumes that Iran wants to take its “rightful place in the community of nations,” but the poor dears just can’t quite figure out how to go about it. The possibility that perhaps they would prefer to hasten the coming of the Mahdi and destroy the Zionist entity, even if doing so brings them criticism from the UN, doesn’t seem to have entered his calculations. Of course, if this had occurred to him, he probably wouldn’t have sent any message to Iran at all, and this one will bring him more love from the Western intelligentsia, even though it won’t do a thing to smooth over matters with Iran itself.
The president’s overture drew an enthusiastic response from the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who said he hoped it would lead to a “new chapter in relations with Iran.”
But Iranian officials were more cautious, according to news reports, welcoming the president’s desire to settle disputes with uncharacteristic alacrity, but insisting, as they have in the past, that the United States must first address Iran’s grievances toward Washington.
Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a senior official in Tehran, said a new relationship could not be built on “Iran forgetting the previous hostile and aggressive attitude of the United States.”
“The American administration has to recognize its past mistakes and repair them as a way to put away the differences,” news reports quoted Mr. Javanfekr as saying.
Appeasement breeds aggressiveness:
Mr. Javanfekr, an aide to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, urged the United States to “fundamentally change its behavior,” Reuters reported.
Mr. Obama “has to go further than words and take action. If Obama shows willingness to take action, the Iranian government will not show its back to him,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse. He did not say what specific actions Tehran wanted.
The catalogue of grievances includes American support for a 1953 coup and the downing in 1988 of an Iranian civilian airliner by an American warship in the Persian Gulf. Iran also holds Washington responsible for supporting Baghdad in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and for backing armed Iranian dissidents. Mr. Javanfekr was also quoted as taking issue with the United States military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling it “the only source of stability in the region.”
He also said America’s support for Israel was “not a friendly gesture” and he took issue with Washington’s support of United Nations sanctions against Iran, which he said were “wrong and need to be reviewed.” […]
And why wouldn’t Obama, appealing to Iran in this way, not be open to such review?
President Obama, however, chose to evoke different imagery.
“Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place.” He said.
But, referring to the deep divisions since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, he went on: “For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained. But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together.”
The president said: “Within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations. Those are shared hopes, those are common dreams.”
Shared hopes and common dreams? What indication does Obama actually have that Iran is at all interested in peace and security and cooperation between nations? Can he or anyone else point to even one single concrete confirmation of this?
“So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran’s leaders,” he said. “We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community.”
“This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect,” he said. The use of the term “mutual respect” has become a kind of code-word in speeches by Mr. Obama and President Ahmadinejad, signifying a break with the Bush Administration which listed Iran as part of an “axis of evil” that included Iraq and North Korea.
Iran has yet to show any respect in return for all the respect Obama is showing to the mullahs. He doesn’t seem to have noticed.
As in the past, though, the president indicated that rapprochement had a price for Iran, which is heading toward critical presidential elections later this year.
“You, too, have a choice,” the president said. “The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right “” but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.”
The president’s reference to terror and arms seemed to refer to Washington’s objections to Iran’s support for the Islamic militant groups Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Mr. Obama did not go into specific detail on issues such as Iran’s nuclear project, which Tehran says is for peaceful purposes but which many in the West suspect is designed to create nuclear weapons that would threaten Israel and upset the regional power balance.
Is Obama then obliquely calling upon Iran to end its support for Hamas and Hizballah? What do you think?
Rather, the president offered a vision of a new era.
“So on the occasion of your New Year,” he said, “I want you, the people and leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek. It’s a future with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce. It’s a future where the old divisions are overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace.”
“I know that this won’t be reached easily. There are those who insist that we be defined by our differences. But let us remember the words that were written by the poet Saadi, so many years ago: “The children of Adam are limbs to each other, having been created of one essence.” The reference was apparently to Saadi Shirazi, a 13th-century Persian poet from the town of Shiraz.
Iran doesn’t pose a serious threat to us