We admit we are not doing Google or Lexis/Nexis searches on Rouhani then, but we can be assured of this much: If he had protested the killing of opponents by the mullahs' regime, he would never have been permitted to run for president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
We Americans seem to have been lulled into a stupor. It’s strangely like those years the locusts ate in the mid-seventies. That’s when Jimmy Carter urged us to get over our “inordinate fear of Communism.” Taking Carter’s University of Notre Dame speech as a starter gun, the Soviets and their cat’s paws ran freely in Africa and Latin America.
During the Cold War, there were occasional efforts to alert Americans to their peril. A few rock `em, sock `em movies such as Red Dawn and The Hunt for Red Oktober were screened. But those tended to be independent efforts.
The mainstream liberal view was represented by the novels of John LeCarré. To illustrate this point, Mark Steyn once described his lunch with the late conservative paladin Bill Buckley:
Bill was talking of how he’d created Blackie [CIA agent Blackford Oakes] as an antidote to the John Le Carre ethos, in which there’s no good, between east and west, and thus between their respective warriors at the KGB and in the western intelligence agencies. And once you accept this view the conflict is necessarily trivial: it’s just a game between opposing bureaucracies whose machinations and manoeuvres are their own justification. Le Carre was profoundly wrong but a good enough writer that his became the default there’s no bad, there’s just shades of gray and total moral equivalence template of spy fiction, and, because life imitates art, of far too many real intelligence types at the CIA and MI6 toward the end of the Cold War.
President Obama was schooled in moral equivalence of East and West. We’ve never asked to see his grades at Columbia or Harvard, but it would be instructive to know at least which courses he took at those Ivy League liberal bastions. He has acknowledged attending Marxist scholars' conferences as a college student, but how many of the actual courses he took would have equipped him to understand American Exceptionalism?
He has expressed decidedly mixed views himself about American Exceptionalism. At his first G-20 Summit, he said he did believe in American Exceptionalism—but quickly added that the Brits and the Greeks doubtless believed their own nations exceptional. More recently, he took to the airwaves to tell us American Exceptionalism might require us to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war.
It would have been nice if our own president had defended this country’s good name from the contemptuous jabs of Vladimir Putin. Mr. Obama might have said that Russia’s culture has enriched the world, but Russian rule has always been despotic.
Our president might have offered the Kremlin’s boss this challenge: If you don’t think America is exceptional, then tell us: When the Berlin Wall fell, which way did your captive people run?