February 26, 2012

Whether Carter or Obama, The Price of Appeasement Will Be The Same

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

 When the Iranian thugs, who called themselves students, commandeered the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took the entire staff hostage, Jimmy Carter failed to act upon this clear act of war against America.  The “students” were an arm of the, then, still organizing regime, which, as a result of Carter’s utter fecklessness morphed into the Revolutionary Guard.

 We all know the result.  Today’s regime has consolidated into a Mullah-run theocracy, which has been developing nuclear weapon capability, and sees it as their mission to “wipe Israel off the map.”  What is the Western World to do?  President Obama, believing that his silver- tongued oratory could accomplish anything “engaged” the regime with, as he put it, “an open hand instead of a clinched fist.”  We can all see what that has accomplished in Mr. Obama’s three years in office.

So what do we do?  Even without an attack on Israel, Iran as a nuclear power will set off a nuclear arms race in the region.  Iran is a Shiite nation and the Saudis and most of the rest of the region are Sunnis who despise, far more than most westerners comprehend, their Shiite brothers in law.  Can we afford to stand idly by while Iran, which recently planned to bomb a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C. in a foiled attempt to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador, and which has already committed outrageously hostile acts against its Arab neighbors, the Jews in far away Argentina, Israelis in India and Thailand, is allowed to continue its terrorist policies?

So far sanctions have accomplished little, although tougher measures planned to be in place by July, amounting to a total boycott of Iran’s Central Bank, which would effectively eliminate their ability to engage in any dollar or other hard-currency transactions, a cutoff of refined oil sales to Iran and a boycott of crude oil from Iran might bring the Mullahs to their knees.  The Europeans are on board, but President Obama, who hints at U.S. participation, seems still hopeful that the Iranian regime will suddenly change its mind and “engage.”  As we write this essay, international inspectors are in Iran, but have been denied access to suspected nuclear development sites.  Sorry guys, the evidence will not be found in facilities approved for inspection tours by the regime, or the fashionable shops in Tehran.

Moreover, the president has other choices.  Writing in the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 21, Edward Luttwak, Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies  presented a strategy:

Interrupting Iran’s nuclear efforts by a stealthy overnight attack against the handful of buildings that contain the least replaceable components of Iran’s uranium hexafluoride and centrifuge enrichment cycle — and which would rely on electronic countermeasures to protect aircraft instead of the massive bombardment of Iran’s air defense.

While the stall continues, Iran makes isolated attacks against the U.S. and others.  Reuel Gerecht, Senior Fellow at the Center for Defense of Democracies in a recent article stated:

“There is still much to learn about the Iranian-directed plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador in a Washington, D.C., restaurant.  But if the Justice Department’s information is correct, the conspiracy confirms a lethal fact about Iran’s regime.  It is becoming more dangerous, not less, as it ages.

At the regime’s apex — Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his praetorian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the clergy who’ve remained committed to theocracy — religious ideology and anti-Americanism have intensified.

The planned assassination in Washington was a bold act:  The Islamic Republic’s terrorism has struck all over the globe, and repeatedly in Europe but it has spared the U.S. homeland because even under Khomeini Iran feared outraged American power.”

Sadly focused as he is on the thing he cares about most, his own reelection, our president remains incapable of outrage and he is facing in Mr. Khamenei a man who Mr. Gerecht refers to as having been given his post by Ayatollah Rafsanjani as the Don Corleone of Iranian politics.

James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (for both Bush 43 and Obama), testified before Congress:

“Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the U.S. or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran’s evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the Ambassador as well as Iranian leaders’ perceptions of U.S. threats against the regime.”

U.S. officials say that the alleged Washington bomb plot showed a new recklessness by an increasingly embattled Iranian regime.  An Iranian-American was charged last October with planning to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. while he ate at his favorite Washington restaurant, potentially killing many Americans at the same time.

Appeasement, it seems, always has its enthusiasts, just as those leaders who recognize encroaching danger always have their detractors.  Ehud Barak, the Defense Minister of Israel, just last week, was taken to task by none other than intellectual Fareed Zakaria for suggesting that Iran was fast approaching a zone of immunity which, once achieved, would eliminate any option for keeping the Mullahs from obtaining nuclear arms (this is the same Fareed Zakaria who assured his CNN viewing audience that the about–to-be empowered Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt should be of no concern). Zakaria compares Israel’s concern over the existential threat Iran represents to its survival, with Germany’s decision to start World War One because of its fear that Russia was achieving a zone of immunity through its arms build-up.  Zakaria, of course, had to reach back nearly one hundred years in order to skip over Winston Churchill’s entirely prescient warnings (remember that Churchill was also called a war monger) about Nazi Germany.  Zakaria then doubles down on his flawed historical perspective with this gem, “…Everything that Israel says about Iran now, we said about the Soviet Union.  We saw it as a radical revolutionary regime, opposed to every value we held dear, determined to overthrow the governments of the Western world in order to establish global communism.  We saw Moscow as irrational, aggressive and utterly unconcerned with human life.  After all, Joseph Stalin had just sacrificed a mind-boggling 26 million Soviet lives in his country’s struggle against Nazi Germany.” 

So, as Zakaria sees it, Israel’s concern over Iran is as misplaced as he apparently feels America’s concern was over the Soviet Union.  Never mind that Iran has threatened to wipe Israel off of the face of the earth and its supreme ruler has just, this month, referred to Israel as a cancer that should, and will, be destroyed.

The consequences of appeasement are obvious.  The walls keep closing in and the opportunities to escape danger are fewer and fewer and the choices are narrower and narrower.  It is an expensive lesson, and for our ally, Israel, the consequences of mollycoddling Iran are existential.  Had Carter properly utilized American power and not recoiled with fear, we could have strangled this fascist regime at the first sign of its hostility toward the civilized world.

Now, while we are playing with nuclear fire in Iran; tens of thousands of rockets supplied by Iran are aimed at our ally, Israel, from both Lebanon and Gaza. Our “allies” in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are showing increased hostility toward America, and nuclear-armed North Korea is held in check solely by the American presence in South Korea. China, meanwhile, is rapidly building its fleet, including at least one new aircraft carrier.  In the face of all of this, our Commander-In-Chief announces that because the threat of war is receding, he is slashing our defense budget by 6.0% according to an analysis by Army Times (10% if the lame brained sequestration plan cobbled together by the so-called Congressional Super Committee becomes operational in January 2013), while increasing civilian agency spending 1.1% in order to avoid reforming entitlements in an election year.

History has never kindly treated such naïveté.



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11 responses to “Whether Carter or Obama, The Price of Appeasement Will Be The Same”

  1. Iyablans says:

    So….Whaddayawanna do?

  2. Iyablans says:

    Say what you mean..
    Should we go to was with Iran now?

    • The purpose of our essay was not to advise the Department of Defense what it should do, but rather to suggest that the hour is late and the time to have acted was about 33 years ago when the American Embassy was overrun and our diplomats and staff taken hostage. We have known of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program for two decades and have done little more than vacillate and pontificate through a succession of administrations. First, we voiced concern that Iran could have a nuclear weapon within ten years, then we warned they could produce a weapon within two or three years. Now we’re down to months and, as the essay stated, our options have grown fewer and the consequences more dangerous. The cost of appeasement only grows with time. We doubt Iran will change course out of fear of being brought to her knees. Iran will change course, we believe, when the pariah nation is, in fact, brought to her knees, either economically or, if necessary, militarily.

  3. Mark J Levick says:

    Our President views himself as an intellectual and as such is a strong believer in the rule of reason. Unfortunately the Islamists with whom he is dealing know no such rule, have little regard for human decency and are willing to sacrifice the present for a glorious future in which the little Satan is destroyed and the Great Satan is no longer great and poses no threat. Mr. Obama is supported by the Arabists and appeasers who have run the US State Department for generations and a public which is constantly reminded of the volley of engagement by the legacies of Vietnam Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan and those who have a visceral hatred of Jews which is now politically correct in the form of condemnation for a Jewish democracy led by a hawkish prime minister. Whomever observed tha”perception is truth” was correct. In this case the mullahs in Iran perceive the US to be a paper tiger, the Europeans to be irrelevant and the UN to be an ally in their war against Israel. The Israelis perceive that the West has no stomach for an attack against Iran’s bomb making capabilities and that Washington cannot be counted on for support. Absent evidence that sanctions will effect a change in Iranian policy or that Obama will be defeated in his reelection campaign, the Israelis will have no choice but to go it alone and attack Iran’s bomb making facilities. The result will more than likely be either a pyrhic victory or the end of the Jewish State. Let’s pray that Obama somehow morphs into Margret Thatcher, Winston Churchill or Ronald Regan and uses the resources provided bt US economic and military superiority to spare us from a life either under the Sword of Islam or being governed by the will the
    UN majority.

  4. Iyablans says:

    Wow China will build a new aircraft carrier….that makes the chinese carrier count…..ONE.

    • Actually, China has completed construction of one aircraft carrier, which is currently undergoing sea trials. China is reported to have two additional aircraft carriers under construction in Shanghai. Three aircraft carriers operating in the Pacific, especially off the coasts of Korea, Viet Nam and the Philippines will represent formidable additions to China’s naval muscle, especially with respect to territorial disputes that China has in the region. Our essay should have made clear that two additional carriers were under construction.

  5. Par says:

    You still are skriting the issue: Do you wish to attack Iran at this time????

    • We beg to differ. We don’t presume to know which alternative, economic or military, will cause Iran to cease its nuclear weapons development program. Our point is simply that delay (20 years, or so, of it and counting) has produced little discernible progress, and when we do act the cost, by any measure, will probably be greater in portion to the delay in dealing with the problem.

  6. Iyablans says:

    The “if necessarily” part is the rub…When might that be?

  7. Par says:

    You are still skirting the issue: What has happened over the past years is water over the dam and can’t be changed. What should be done now (” before later is too late”) is the issue. Is military action the answer now? To cry over spilled milk does no good.

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