September 20, 2010

Clinton on Iran - she hopes they find a way....

One of President Barack Obama's campaign promises and quixotic efforts is his outreach to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Despite repeated rejections of his overtures and the Iranian regime's blatant refusal to adhere to a series of United Nations resolutions, the Obama Administration just keeps on hoping that at some point Tehran will change its ways.

Perhaps at least one Administration official is tired of the rhetoric from Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. On one of the Sunday talk shows, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raised the possibility of regime change in the Islamic Republic. I wonder if she cleared her remarks with the President. After all, Obama still maintains his "outstretched hand" policy toward the regime that has the blood of hundreds of American troops on its hands, provides support for our enemies in Afghanistan, is the world's leading state supporter or terrorism, is developing nuclear weapons and, oh yeah, still holds two young hikers as virtual hostages. So how is that engagement policy working out so far?

Among other things, Mrs. Clinton urged the Iranian people to reject what she says is an expansion of the Iranian military's role and power. Her words: "The early advocates of [the Iranian Revolution] said this would be a republic. It would be an Islamic republic, but it would be a republic. Then we saw a very flawed election and we've seen the elected officials turn for the military to enforce their power. I can only hope that there will be some effort inside Iran, by responsible civil and religious leaders, to take hold of the apparatus of the state."

Whoa. That's a bit different than the rhetoric the President is peddling. That last sentence sounds eerily like a call to arms. "Some effort inside take hold of the apparatus of the state" could be construed as a call on the Iranian people to rise up and change their government. I don't know what else it could be. The Iranian opposition during the last elections was brutally oppressed, although there was only faint condemnation from the Administration. I can see no way in which the Iranian people can "take hold of the apparatus of the state" except by force.

So which is it? Are we extending an outstretched hand to the Iranian government at the same time we are encouraging the Iranian people to rise up against that regime? How about we accept the fact that the former has failed and we adopt the latter as our policy and alter our actions accordingly. Perhaps we should close the outstretched hand into a fist and remind the Iranians that we remain a superpower. It might serve us better if at some point this Administration stopped reinforcing Tehran's impressions of American weakness.

Mrs. Clinton's words get even better. When talking about the recent release of one of the American hikers, she remarked, "I just can't even imagine how painful the experience that they themselves have had inside prison." Really? It's not like you brought the full weight and power of the United States to do anything about their detention. If you want to know how painful the experience was for Ms. Shroud, ask her. I am not sure why she would care to speak to you since it does not appear you have any sway with the Iranians, after all, her two male companions are still sitting in the notorious Evin prison on trumped up charges while you seem capable of "only hope."

I keep replaying in my mind the campaign challenge about who I wanted to answer a hypothetical 3:00am phone call advising of some world crisis. The 3:00am call came some time ago; the issue was and remains Iran. It is too bad nobody answered the call.