House Foreign Relations Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) recently briefed members of the Israel Allies Caucus on Capitol Hill. He spoke to supporters about Iran. Leading off with a question from decades ago: “What distinguishes the United States’ nuclear missile arsenal from that of the Soviet Union?” That question was asked of President John F. Kennedy. And that young President answered succinctly: Attitude. Exactly right. The attitude of the United States is not one of dominance and aggression, whereas that of the USSR was undeniably so. President Kennedy had only to point to the Berlin Wall–a ugly spike driven through the heart of a great old European city.
Chairman Royce was too diplomatic to say it, but it is the case that liberal Democrats like Kennedy used to understand these matters. Not only could Kennedy brush away a pesky reporter’s rude question with wit and concision, but he could play offense, too. Many Americans yet remember JFK at the Berlin Wall in the last hopeful springtime of his life. If anyone doubts that freedom is preferable to Communism, “lass is nach Berlin kommen” the young statesman said in very passable German: “Let them come to Berlin!” Happily, there are still some liberal Democrats on the Hill–supporters of the Israel Allies Caucus–who still do get it. They are part of a bi-partisan effort to make sure Iran does not get sanctions relief–a “signing bonus” in Chairman Royce’s apt phrase–while making no real halt in its lurch for nuclear weapons.
Iran has been at war with the U.S. since the Mullahs seized our U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. That was, and is, sovereign American territory. Their holding our Embassy is proof of what? Their attitude.
And that attitude has been unrelievedly hostile to the United States for 36 years.
If some liberal House members understand this, good. But that understanding does not extend down Pennsylvania Avenue. The Obama administration is hopelessly entangled in its own paper trail of wishes. Somewhere over the rainbow National Security adviser Ben Rhodes sees a bright new morning of U.S.-Iranian rapprochement. How so? The Wall Street Journal‘s Bret Stephens brilliantly punctures Ben Rhodes’ beautiful balloon with his rapier pen. As Stephens makes abundantly clear, the Iranian Mullahs are not even pretending to have detente with the U.S. They are openly, brazenly calling for our death. Chairman Royce pointed to the Ayatollah boasting of the intelligence they gained when their Houthi cohorts overran the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen. And Yemen was the one bright spot this administration could point to in the entire bloody crescent.
Nor are things any better inside Iran. The Gatestone Institute recently published online this dismal report from inside the Mullahs’ madhouse.
After 35 years, however, the human rights of Iranian people are still being destroyed daily at the hands of Iranian mullahs.”We have observed a dramatic increase in the number of executions since the election of Mr. Rouhani,” says Moghaddam.
“According to our reports, the number of executions has increased by 30% since Rouhani became president. On average more than two people have been executed each day since his election.”The main change since the start of Rouhani’s presidency is Iran’s foreign policy towards the West.”Their rhetoric has changed. But human rights have not improved.”
Under this “moderate” Rouhani, human rights conditions in Iran have not gotten better, some hold they have gotten worse. In addition, even though Iranian state authorities call for “Death to America” — not a statement “for internal consumption” — and call for Israel to be “wiped” off the map, the Obama administration is working on a deal to give these dictators nuclear weapons.
Ironically, for an administration that prides itself on international advocacy for women and homosexuals, Iran’s women are more oppressed than at any time in the past half century. And the Mullahs publicly hang homosexuals! Any notion that Iran is preferable to ISIS or that the Mullahs could ever be our peace partners is utterly delusional.
As long as President Obama continues to say it’s either my supine policy toward Iran or its war, we will be headed into harm’s way. No better formula has ever been devised for war than to convince our enemies that we will tolerate anything rather than use force. With Mr. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize on the line, he is bending so far over backward to appease the Mullahs that he risks falling flat.
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.