Jonah Goldberg
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But even if Iran did go nuclear, who really cares as long as the nutty, messianic, totalitarian leadership is gone? A stable, democratic regime concerned with economic growth and normalcy might not be perfect, but which sort of government would you rather see in charge of nuclear weapons?

Democracy is not necessarily a cure-all. Palestinians in Gaza held elections and swept Hamas to power. But the Iranians aren't Gazans. And while America is despised by most nations in the region, the U.S. is actually popular with the Iranian people.

Ebadi doesn't want America to topple the Iranian regime the way it toppled Saddam Hussein's. Or, if she does, she's certainly smart enough not to say so outright, given that her family is under constant surveillance by Iranian authorities. What she wants is for America to get its priorities straight. Iran, which has been sponsoring terror for 30 years, is a threat because the Iranian regime is a threat. Change the regime and the threat diminishes or vanishes instantaneously. We had a golden opportunity to accelerate regime change in June, but Obama blinked.

Enamored with the idea that "engagement" with evil will produce good, and convinced that a brutal, undemocratic regime is the legitimate representative of the Iranian people, Obama was slow to recognize the moral authority of the democracy movement. By the time he did say what he should have said at the outset, it was clear that his grudging and qualified support for the protestors had no steel to it. The Iranian regime recognized that it would have a free hand to murder and intimidate its own people in order to reconsolidate power after it stole the election. This was a sad moment for the leader of the free world. "Mr. Obama has extended the hand of friendship to a man who has blood on his hands," Ebadi told the Post. "He can at least avoid shaking the hand of friendship with him."

There are rumors -- unconfirmed at this point -- that the Supreme Leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, is either dead or in a coma. If true, the resulting power vacuum might give Obama the chance for a do-over. That is, if he's interested in earning a peace prize, not just winning one.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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