On Tuesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not just reject President Obama’s latest feckless floating nuclear deadline. He , declaring that Iran “will continue resisting” until the United States has gotten rid of its 8,000 nuclear warheads.
So ends 2009, the year of “engagement,” of the extended hand, of the gratuitous apology — and of spinning centrifuges, two-stage rockets and a secret enrichment facility that brought Iran materially closer to becoming a nuclear power.
We lost a year. But it was not just any year. It was a year of spectacularly squandered opportunity. In Iran, it was a year of revolution, beginning with a contested election and culminating this week in huge demonstrations mourning the of the dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri — and demanding no longer a recount of the stolen election but the overthrow of the clerical dictatorship.
Obama responded by distancing himself from this new birth of freedom. First, scandalous silence. Then, a few grudging words. Then relentless engagement with the murderous regime. With offer after offer, gesture after gesture — to not Iran, but the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” as Obama ever so respec…