Why are liberals campaigning to make an illiberal regime like Iran acceptable?

What a weird thought. My own patriotism has never been touched one way or another by my views of Iran. Nor do I hate Iran—if by “Iran” one means the millions of people who marched alongside Neda Agha-Soltan when she was gunned down by regime thugs in the 2009 Green Revolution, or the fellow travelers of Hashem Shaabani, the Arab-Iranian poet executed two years ago for “waging war on God,” or the thousands of candidates who are routinely barred from running for Parliament for being insufficiently loyal to the Supreme Leader.

This is the Iran that liberals like Mr. Kinzer ought to support, not the theocratic usurpers who claim to speak in Iran’s name while stepping on Iranian necks. But we are long past the day when a liberal U.S. foreign policy meant shaping our interests around our values—not the other way around—much less supporting the liberal aspirations of people everywhere, especially if they live in anti-American dictatorships.

Today’s liberal foreign policy, to adapt Churchill, is appeasement wrapped in realism inside moral equivalency. When it comes to Iran policy, that means believing that we have sinned at least as much against the Iranians as they have sinned against us; that our national-security interests require us to come to terms with the Iranians; and that the best way to allay the suspicions—and, over time, diminish the influence—of Iranian hard-liners is by engaging the moderates ever more closely and demonstrating ever-greater diplomatic flexibility.