Ajami: The education of Mr. Obama; Update: Hot dogs still on the barbie for July 4th, Iran!

posted at 3:45 pm on June 22, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Fouad Ajami writes today that Barack Obama’s response to the Iranian crisis reveals a shallow depth on foreign policy from our new President that his opponents predicted during the campaign.  Obama can’t “lose” Iran — Jimmy Carter already took care of that — but he will lose an opportunity, if he doesn’t learn that the mullahs have no use for American “engagement”  Had he paid attention to history before entering the White House, Ajami argues, he’d already know that:

For the length of three decades, the custodians of the theocracy have had precisely the level of enmity toward the U.S. they have wanted — just enough to be an ideological glue for the regime but not enough to be a threat to their power. Iran’s rulers have made their way in the world with relative ease. No White Army gathered to restore the dominion of the Pahlavis. The Cold War and oil bailed them out. So did the false hope that the revolution would mellow and make its peace with the world.

Mr. Obama may believe that his offer to Iran is a break with a hard-line American policy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In 1989, in his inaugural, George H.W. Bush extended an offer to Iran: “Good will begets good will,” he said. A decade later, in a typically Clintonian spirit of penance and contrition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came forth with a full apology for America’s role in the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.

Iran’s rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact.

Ajami also slams Obama for his statement on Mousavi:

That ambivalence at the heart of the Obama diplomacy about freedom has not served American policy well in this crisis. We had tried to “cheat” — an opening to the regime with an obligatory wink to those who took to the streets appalled by their rulers’ cynicism and utter disregard for their people’s intelligence and common sense — and we were caught at it. Mr. Obama’s statement that “the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as had been advertised” put on cruel display the administration’s incoherence. For once, there was an acknowledgment by this young president of history’s burden: “Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.” No Wilsonianism on offer here.

Obama offers even less to the Iranians than Clinton, Bush 41, or Reagan, who sold them arms (a moment Ajami leaves out of the essay).  As during the campaign, Obama expects that face-to-face talks will work miracles without taking into account the nature of the regime in Tehran.  They do not want America’s friendship; in fact, they need America as an enemy almost as much as they need Israel as an enemy.  They need the great American bogeyman to smear their opponents and to keep internal dissent focused outwards, in regime-approved acts of catharsis on the streets.

They’ll need that even more if these protests fail to dislodge the mullahs.  The Guardian Council will have to paint the protesters as spies for Israel and America in order to discredit the movement.  They can hardly do that while having tea with Barack Obama or offering any meaningful dialogue on arms reductions — and that assumes they would ever end their nuclear-weapons program, which aims for the extermination of Israel.

Read all of Ajami’s scathing critique of Obama’s foreign policy vis-a-vis Iran.

Update: You thought it couldn’t get worse?  It does (via Yid with Lid):

The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

“We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran,” Kelly said. “We tried many years of isolation, and we’re pursuing a different path now.”

They want to have the Iranian regime celebrate Independence Day after brutally repressing a freedom movement in Iran?  Sickening.


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I truly believe he is frozen with fear. He’s never been really held to account for anything and now the eyes of the world are upon him and waiting for a stance and he’s scared $hitless not knowing what to do.

Big John on June 22, 2009 at 5:23 PM

And wankers like Obama end up doing nothing.
Frozen with fear like his frozen custurd.

izoneguy on June 22, 2009 at 5:42 PM

invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies

.
Are you effing kidding me?!!!!

ronsfi on June 22, 2009 at 5:43 PM

Talking about defication, how about Obama omniscience over how to handle Iran (at least from his greatest supporter Andrew “I will get you Trig Palin” Sullivan. Of course, Hitchens, in his usual brilliant style deals with that nonsense:

That last observation also applies to the Obama administration. Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of “the Islamic republic.” But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. (Hint: Don’t make your sole reference to Iranian dictatorship an allusion to a British-organized coup in 1953; the mullahs think that it proves their main point, and this generation has more immediate enemies to confront.)

Becuase it really does not matter what you say if the other side is not acting in good faith. So why not say what you mean.

Mr. Joe on June 22, 2009 at 5:49 PM

The BO08 doesn’t give a rat’s about anybody but BO08. He’s startlingly ignorant of history, incapable of constructing a logical argument and wholly self-absorbed. No wonder liberals like him.

mr.blacksheep on June 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM

I hate the State Department under all administrations, but even more so under this one.

myrenovations on June 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Mr. Obama’s June 4 speech in Cairo did not reshape the Islamic landscape. I was in Saudi Arabia when Mr. Obama traveled to Riyadh and Cairo. The earth did not move, life went on as usual. There were countless people puzzled by the presumption of the entire exercise, an outsider walking into sacred matters of their faith. In Saudi Arabia, and in the Arabic commentaries of other lands, there was unease that so complicated an ideological and cultural terrain could be approached with such ease and haste.

Presumptuous, arrogant, naive, self-absorbed, and just plain wrong.

College Prof on June 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM

First we had “Tricky Dick.”

Now we have “Limp ….” – well, you know.

Mr_Magoo on June 22, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Time for the President to hold Iran by the nose and the Special Forces to kick them in the a$$. Yesterday won’t be too soon.

Knott Buyinit on June 22, 2009 at 5:56 PM

President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

While European embassies are sheltering wounded protestors.

Hot dogs for dictators from the Weenie-In-Chief. Do they come with mustard or arugula?

Steve Z on June 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM

Update: You thought it couldn’t get worse? It does (via Yid with Lid):

Actually, no I didn’t think it couldn’t get worse. In fact, based on what I understand about Obama’s character (or lack thereof) I was assuming it would get worse.

AUINSC on June 22, 2009 at 5:59 PM

truly believe he is frozen with fear. He’s never been really held to account for anything and now the eyes of the world are upon him and waiting for a stance and he’s scared $hitless not knowing what to do.

Big John on June 22, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Gird your loins, like the Iranians are doing now!

Steve Z on June 22, 2009 at 5:59 PM

NoKo nukes Hawaii while Obama has hot dogs and celebrates the 4th of July with the Mullahs!

WTF have we let happen????

jp on June 22, 2009 at 6:01 PM

The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

WHAT?!

And these stupid leftist twits sat there and complained that W didn’t care about the US Constitution?!

Obama’s obviously going to use it for kindling at the BBQ…

Skywise on June 22, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Are you effing kidding me?!!!!

ronsfi on June 22, 2009 at 5:43 PM

that was honestly my first thought also

Ann on June 22, 2009 at 6:02 PM

Brush off the expiration date.

artist on June 22, 2009 at 6:03 PM

So some of the very people that support terrorists who plot OUR downfall are invited, on Independence Day, of all days, for a back yard barbecue, AMAZING.

Chamberlain was forever made a chump for bringing home to Britain a phony agreement with Hitler. His line: “With this agreement, peace in our time” is priceless stupidity.
Chamberlain was a genius compared to Obama.

Jeff from WI on June 22, 2009 at 6:04 PM

Great Headline link to Christopher Hitchens.

Persian Paranoia:
Iranian leaders will always believe Anglo-Saxons are plotting against them.

That last observation also applies to the Obama administration. Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of “the Islamic republic.” But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. (Hint: Don’t make your sole reference to Iranian dictatorship an allusion to a British-organized coup in 1953; the mullahs think that it proves their main point, and this generation has more immediate enemies to confront.)

There is then the larger question of the Iranian theocracy and its continual, arrogant intervention in our affairs: its export of violence and cruelty and lies to Lebanon and Palestine and Iraq and its unashamed defiance of the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Atomic Energy Agency on the nontrivial matter of nuclear weapons. I am sure that I was as impressed as anybody by our president’s decision to quote Martin Luther King—rather late in the week—on the arc of justice and the way in which it eventually bends. It was just that in a time of crisis and urgency he was citing the wrong King text (the right one is to be found in the “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”), and it was also as if he were speaking as the president of Iceland or Uruguay rather than as president of these United States.

Coexistence with a nuclearized, fascistic theocracy in Iran is impossible even in the short run. The mullahs understand this with perfect clarity. Why can’t we?

maverick muse on June 22, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Look, the caterer has been engaged, the flowers arranged, the entertainment lined up and the guests formally invited. You can’t seriously expect them to cancel now. /sarc

jeanie on June 22, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Pantywaist Weenie Roast, Obama’s serving US on the grill rack. Will the hotdogs be chicken or “Kosher” beef? Obama’s fettish for Pork just won’t do with the Muslims.

maverick muse on June 22, 2009 at 6:16 PM

maverick muse on June 22, 2009 at 6:09 PM

For such a smart man, Hitchens sure has a hard time voting for the right guy. Or is it that Hitchens insists on always being the smartest guy in the room?

JiangxiDad on June 22, 2009 at 6:23 PM

I think his response has been fine.

I don’t agree, though, that the US is in charge of world peace and fairness.

call me silly. *haha

AnninCA on June 22, 2009 at 5:42 PM

Repulsive. *tee-hee

JiangxiDad on June 22, 2009 at 6:25 PM

Time for the President to hold Iran by the nose and the Special Forces to kick them in the a$$. Yesterday won’t be too soon.

Knott Buyinit on June 22, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Don’t hold your breath there, pal. He invited them over for beans and weiners ya know.

/obamafudpucker!

Key West Reader on June 22, 2009 at 6:28 PM

And what is this half-wit going to do when Russia decides that all of their former satellites would do better rolled back into the eastern bloc?

Oh, I know! He’ll make a limp-d1ck speech in Tblisi! Woo!

fronclynne on June 22, 2009 at 6:40 PM

“We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran,” Kelly said. “We tried many years of isolation, and we’re pursuing a different path now.”

Yeah … the path of “drop your pants, sh!t all over yourself, and surrender, begging for mercy”.

When are the polls going to start asking who thinks that The Precedent is a traitor who should be removed form office and prosecuted, now? I think the percentage would be around 20%, already.

progressoverpeace on June 22, 2009 at 6:47 PM

“There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

Just what the heck is wrong with this administration?
Inviting them to celebrate the 4th of July?? I can’t get my mind wrapped around what they do sometimes. It’s like they don’t mind and are able to ignore that the Iranian government is brutally slaughtering innocents in the streets in the name of tyranny and oppression so long as Mr. Obama’s little party gets a good photo op. Dang it all. I’m mad.

Miss Molly on June 22, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Obama is not afraid.
The only thing Obama is afraid of is Michelle.
He “rules” with impunity.

His inaction about Iran is not because he’s afraid.
“Liberty” and “freedom” are exactly opposite of what he stands for…he aims to be our ruler…just like the mullahs.

So far, it’s worked.
His closest living relatives live in huts.
He has a black heart.

The perfect Manchanurian Candidate.
Another, “Mission Accomplished”, when the dollar is substituted for some other currency.
It’s the way Obama rolls.

luvstotango on June 22, 2009 at 7:01 PM

President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Anger….outrage….disbelief….stunned….shocked…..WTF???
Where are the adults, or at least the people who know just a teensy bit of history? I don’t know what to say any more.

Proud Texan on June 22, 2009 at 7:26 PM

Invite the Iranians; serve bratwurst.

patch on June 22, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Invite the Iranians; serve bratwurst.

patch on June 22, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Brats are too good for those people. Save them for better company. Give the Iranians hot dogs. In fact, they might enjoy tooling around D.C. in the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile

Jeff from WI on June 22, 2009 at 7:43 PM

Invite the Iranians; serve bratwurst.

patch on June 22, 2009 at 7:34 PM

Don’t bother, the ONLY place to get great brats is HERE and we don’t what those people here. Darn state is getting diverse enough.

Jeff from WI on June 22, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Grotesque. No hot dogs for you.

Mason on June 22, 2009 at 8:12 PM

Chamberlain was forever made a chump for bringing home to Britain a phony agreement with Hitler. His line: “With this agreement, peace in our time” is priceless stupidity.
Chamberlain was a genius compared to Obama.

“At the depths of that dusty soul there is nothing but adject surrender.” — Winston Churchill

A rather apt quote for our peace-bringer too.

year_of_the_dingo on June 22, 2009 at 8:12 PM

What are the lefty blogs saying about it? Can’t wait to hear this despicable spin since they’ve been so into the new Iranian green fad and all.

Mommypundit on June 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM

What a great way to celebrate OUR independence and democracy. Invite the most thuggish regime on the planet which just put down an insurrection violently.

JDwinston on June 22, 2009 at 9:16 PM

I don’t believe this story…Hot dogs??!!…Nope…Ribs or Chicken…Maybe

Jeff from WI on June 22, 2009 at 9:45 PM

Won’t the regime think we’re just trying to get to its diplomats so we can recruit them to be spies? We have to be very careful that it doesn’t look like we’re trying to interfere with Iran’s sovereignty. And what if the potato salad goes bad and someone gets sick? The regime will think we’re trying to poison its diplomats. And they’ll accuse us of meddling and then they won’t want to meet with us.

Bennett on June 22, 2009 at 11:14 PM

I bet they won’t serve any Allen Brothers, because you have to be socially conscious at all times.

Chris_Balsz on June 23, 2009 at 6:08 AM

I agree Jeff, I hope some Iranians do come, and are offered a beer butt chicken courtesy of our President.

Chris_Balsz on June 23, 2009 at 6:29 AM

Newsflash: “Iranian Diplomats Develop Diarrhea From Michelle’s Rancid Potato Salad, Tehran Outraged”

Jeff from WI on June 23, 2009 at 6:53 AM

progressoverpeace: When are the polls going to start asking who thinks that The Precedent is a traitor who should be removed form office and prosecuted, now? I think the percentage would be around 20%, already.

.
Which is EXACTLY why that question will NEVER be asked!

scituate_tgr on June 23, 2009 at 8:39 AM

Maybe Obama can charge the Iranian diplomats $3,000 per hotdog.

The Bullet Fee

You don’t “have dialog” with regimes like this. You help their citizens crush them.

Changucopia on June 23, 2009 at 10:15 AM

The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, the document that Obama is inviting the Iranians to celebrate on July 4th:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Note the capitalization of “Creator,” “Rights,” “Life,” “Liberty,” and “Happiness.” Those are in the original document (I checked). The whole idea of this document is that there are principles of humanity that we were created with, that override boundaries of state, religion, and race. This second sentence was not intended to apply to only citizens of the United States, but all people.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

blueguitarbob on June 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM

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