As I gazed onto a parade route sprinkled with red, white and blue everything on July Fourth, I thought about what patriots past and present have sacrificed for our freedom. I also thought about the people in Iran fighting for "azadi," the Persian word for "freedom."
The White House has offered what amounts to diplomatic dribble in response to their plight for liberty. I'm not saying our president should send a militia to muscle the mullahs, but shouldn't he at least show stronger solidarity for the protesters? Isn't it time his actions superseded his rhetoric? Negotiating with extremists has never worked. Trying to reform them only morphs them into different monsters.
Is it just I, or are others experiencing a Carter deja vu?
Former President Jimmy Carter didn't do enough to support an Iranian popular revolt. His foreign policy was ridiculously idealistic. Carter believed that he could negotiate his way out of anything. He tried to pacify every party. Carter believed international thugs and terrorists could be swayed from extremism by our simply presenting them what he thought was a better way.
Carter is a major reason that we are in our Middle Eastern dilemma with Iran today because, while allegedly fighting for human rights, he set the stage for the rise of two of the worst human rights violators in history -- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and ultimately his modern successor, the current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
As many recall, during the early 1970s, democratic-flavored reforms flourished in Iran because of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, from economic and educational reforms to increased rights for women, religious minorities, etc. And the Nixon and Ford administrations applauded and rewarded these reforms.
With Carter's induction as president and push for human rights in international affairs, the Shah of Iran's popularity declined because of accusations that he tortured thousands of prisoners. Carter demanded the shah release political prisoners, break up military trials, and permit free assemblies, among other requests -- all of which only fostered political and social unrest.