Says Iowahawk, “To be fair, it did create jobs for Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.”
Via the Free Beacon, here’s the professor-in-chief doing what he loves to do, lecturing other regimes that he understands their national priorities better than they do. In a way, this reminds me of his infamous bitter-clingers comment during the 2008 campaign: In both cases, he resorted to economics to try to understand cultures that were antagonistic to him (albeit in very different ways). There’s a hint here that “death to America” is less a sincerely held worldivew among Iran’s rulers than a convenient scapegoat used by the regime to distract the Iranian public from economic stagnation. All you have to do, Obama’s telling them, is drop the antagonism to the Great Satan in order to reap the economic benefits of rejoining the community of nations. Essentially, this is him signaling that a grand bargain with the U.S. isn’t out of the question provided that they let go of some of their public antagonism.
How does a regime like Iran’s do that, though? It’s a theocracy that came to power in a revolution that deposed an American-backed ruler; “death to America” represents the clerics’ rejection not just of pre-revolutionary Iran but of U.S. influence in the Middle East generally, from its alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia to the threat its culture poses to austere Shiite religious values. Just lay all of that silliness aside, Obama seems to be saying, and let’s make some trade deals. It’s a bit like telling the Soviets circa 1955 that world peace is as simple as the Kremlin formally repudiating Marx and Lenin. And even if you agree with O that Khamenei and his inner circle can’t possibly be deeply wedded to the idea of “death to America,” there’s an obvious reason why Khamenei will stick with it: Once you drop a core revolutionary value like battling the Great Satan in the interest of reaching trade deals with him, all reason for protecting the primacy of the clerics in Iran’s government would fall away. If the point of government is to guard the revolution and keep Satan at bay, it stands to reason that you need “holy” men in charge. If the point of government is to create jobs, well, then you’re better off with secular technocrats. The best spin you can put on O’s comment, then, is that it’s an applause line aimed at the average unemployed Iranian on the street, who probably won’t ever hear it to begin with once Iranian censors are done with this video.
Besides, some would say that the best thing you could do for that man on the street would be to refuse to legitimize Iran’s current regime in hopes that it’ll gradually weaken and be toppled. But I guess we’re long past that possibility with this White House. Exit question: Why does Iran need to stop chanting “death to America” to create jobs? They chanted throughout our nuclear negotiations with them and Obama still agreed to release $100 billion to them in sanctions relief, money that’ll create many, many employment opportunities. It’s weird to demand that Iran treat America with more civility as a condition of economic opportunities when you’ve just proved within the past two months that they needn’t do so to benefit.