Two events this week should have provided US policy makers with several sober truths with regard to Iran. On the one side, we witnessed Senator Biden (DE) engagements in Switzerland with Iran's Foreign minister (Kharazi, another “Kh”, see: “KhKhKh“) and on another occasion in Poland, Vice President Cheney attended a remembrance at Auchwitz, one of the Nazi's concentration camps. Auchwitz was a prison camp where there was large scale 'industrial' killing of Jews, gypsies, dissidents, the disabled, or any one that did not fit into Hitler's notions of a perfect Aryan race.
Biden is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee. He is once again being persuaded to influence US policy towards engagement with Islamic fascists in Iran. The administration must resist such guidance.
All the parties pushing for engagement are positioning themselves for clever bargains with the United States: The French and Germans are saying we'll forego Iraq if you engage with Iran. The Iranians themselves are saying we'll forego our nuclear program if you engage with us. And the Brits are playing power broker here, playing both sides in order to increase their influence inside Iran to post second world war levels, having persuaded the Mullahs to align fully behind them in the future. In every case, if a bargain is made, the United States and the Iranian people will be the losers.
Let us not forget that it was Chamberlain (Britain's Prime Minister) who flew to Germany and signed a peace treaty with Hitler (while Hitler was rounding up Jews) preferring engagement to confrontation. Only an unprincipled, opportunistic politician would have done that. And the Brits do have a tradition of developing such leaders. With the recent exception of Tatcher, almost every one of their leaders rose up from extreme wings of their parties only to betray their power base once voted in power. They are all power-mongers – with no commitment to any principles.
And needless to say, both France and Germany have had their share of involvement with fascism and engagement with brutal regimes … such as Saddam's Iraq. To say that any European policy recommendation is ever based on selfless and principled consideration is basically laughable. It wasn't until Hitler had overrun half the continent that everyone finally opened their eyes and recognized his evil. And by then, it was too late. Without U.S. commitment, Hitler would have overrun the continent.
We should not make the same mistake with Islamic Fascists in Iran. Iran's mullahs have grown very rich and remain symbols of success for Islamic militants everywhere. They have also provided valuable financial assistance to Islamic militants everywhere. The United States cannot support, assist or recognize Iran's theocracy – in this age of terrorism by Islamic militants. All Islamic clerics from Morocco to Malaysia are dreaming of an age when they too can become rich like Iran's clerics, and are planning their own versions of Iran's Islamic revolution. In the long run, the very presence of these mullah's in power will lead to a continuing rise of Islamic militancy and fascism.
This could for example mean the eventual destabilization of Iraq's nascent democracy as their Islamic radicals rise in power. Or elimination of any further hope for democracy in places like Egypt where it is widely believed that democracy today would lead to a takeover by Islamic radicals. Consider the Palestinian local council elections this past week, where Hamas, the radical Islamic Party won 60% of the popular vote. Or consider recent bombings in Uzbekestan by Islamic militants, which has caused a great deal of fear and had the negative effect of actually reinforcing Uzbekestan's police state and dictatorship.
The irony of coarse is that given a chance, Iranian popular vote would have kicked out the Mullahs a long time ago. The Iranian people themselves could be the ones telling the whole world how brutal 26 years of Islamic fascism has been. An open debate in Iran, advertised to the whole world, would show how bad this regime has been. The promises of the Islamic militants everywhere would ring hollow and their support would fizzle out – if Iran's situation is openly, publicly reviewed. Videos of Iran prisons shown on Al Jazeera would make Abu Ghraib look like a summer camp! Much like the defeat of communism, the failure of Islamic fascism to deliver real benefits to the nation and its inherent brutality would become self-evident.
By engaging with the Mullahs, the United States would in effect be dealing with the biggest threat to real democracy inside Iran as well as the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. If as it appears now, the Mullahs in Iran have also been meddling in Iraq and directly assisting Iraqi insurgents leading to coalition casualties, then such a rapprochement would also be angering for the US public.
Iran clearly, is not a case like Vietnam, where there was a war and then one could argue there has been relative peace for a while, so everyone should kiss and make up. In Iran's case there is an active threat to the United States through Iran's support for insurgents: Hamas, Al Qaeda, etc.
Iran's regime is clearly much worse and more sophisticated than Saddam Hussein ever was. To place them in an American context, it is like dealing directly with the KKK – dubbed the “KhKhKh” (Khomeini, Khamenei, Khatami … ). Why are we even talking to them?
And so this brings me to Davos, Switzerland and Senator Biden's meetings with another “Kh” from Iran. While such adventures appear to bolster Biden's stature internationally, they really do very little to promote a decent position for the United States. Remember that this is the same Senator who a few cycles ago, pulled himself out of the presidential race after it was revealed that he had plagiarized texts of a British political speech. This clearly tells us a great deal about his original and independent thinking. Once again, it seems Senator Biden has succumbed to emulating the Brits.
Democrats have in the past voiced concerns about the delays in releasing the embassy hostages in Tehran in 1980, which led to Carter's downfall, and was caused by private back room deals between Iran's regime and the Republicans. And now, despite Biden's public outbursts, isn't it strange that Biden, a Democrat would also have meetings with Iran's foreign minister? For what purpose, may we ask? Is it legal for a Senator to conduct foreign policy negotiations?
US failures in the past to bring about regime change should not be a deterrent. In fact, now is the time for Senator Biden to support bold, brave and creative policies within the executive branch that would bring immediate and significant change in Iran – and finally bring about a more democratic and secular government there. The costs of change today, are in fact lower than the eventual cost if the regime remains in power.
And by the way, an Iranian national referendum discussed in Davos is not a catchall solution. We all know the Mullah's will carefully craft the referendum question (as they have before) and then manipulate voting to thwart change and hold onto power. Significant change in Iran will require more than this.
In any case, the mullahs must go … and go now! Rapprochement comes later.
The United States must in the long run maintain and expand its global presence through decency, fair play with real respect and compassion for the people of these nations. With Iran especially, the United States does have a debt of decency. Consider Eisenhower's CIA backed coup to eliminate democracy in Iran (1952); Or Carter's active assistance in the demise of the Shah and promotion of Islamic militants (1979). Or even Reagan's back room deals with the same Islamic militants to swing them against Carter and delay the release of the hostages to win the 1980 presidential elections… and subsequent arm sales to both sides extending the Iran-Iraq war resulting in over 1 Million casualties.
Remember, Hitler was defeated, but it did take appeasement with Stalin to make it happen. But that appeasement then gave rise to Stalin and communism. Communism was then defeated, but it took the cooperation of Islamic militants in Afghanistan (and elsewhere) to bankrupt the Soviets. With that appeasement, came the rise of the Taliban and Islamic fundamentalists everywhere.
But the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is in fact potentially a more destructive force than Hitler or Communism ever was. With 1 billion Moslems sitting on virtually 80% of the world's energy reserves we can all imagine the consequences.
We should not engage with Iran's Islamic fascists, but defeat fundamentalism everywhere for the greater good of mankind, at any cost