Mona Charen

Within the past several weeks, presidential aspirant Barack Obama has announced that he would meet with America's enemies and attack America's friends. Those interested in a dramatic departure from Bush/Cheney need look no further.

Asked whether he would -- without preconditions -- meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, Obama declared that he would and added, "I think it's a disgrace that we have not spoken to them." (Actually, the U.S. has had diplomatic contact with all of those nations, just not at the presidential level.)

A week later, in a major foreign policy address, Sen. Obama scolded the leader of Pakistan and warned, "I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will."

To be fair to Sen. Obama, there is no doubt that Pakistan is a terror haven and a flimsy ally. But Pakistan's very precariousness in this struggle -- to say nothing of its nuclear arsenal -- argues for particular finesse and restraint, one would think. What is it about American allies that Democrats seem to find so offensive? When Jimmy Carter was president, he inaugurated a foreign policy ostentatiously based on respect for "human rights." Yet the principal targets of his human rights crusade were American allies like the shah of Iran, while traditional enemies like the Soviet Union and Cuba 'scaped whipping. That turned out well, didn't it?

We've heard endlessly about America's blunder in supporting the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviet occupation. The unintended consequence was to strengthen the Islamists. Fair enough. Few foresaw that our allies in defeating the communists would then turn against us. But what of Jimmy Carter's abandonment of the shah? No foresight was required. Even in 1979, it was clear that the only beneficiaries of a revolution in Iran would be either the leftists or the Islamists. If the mullahs had not seized control of Iran in 1979, the world would be a far, far less dangerous place today.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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