Ironically, what’s been missing so far from Obama’s statements on Iran is his signature focus on hope and change, tailored to inspire and sustain the pro-democracy protesters. Here are five ways the Obama administration can firmly support political reform in Islam consistent with its You-Tube diplomacy—confronting the tyranny, corruption, the absence of civil rights and civil society that comes with Islamic supremacist states.
1.Fully-fund Radio Farda: Radio Farda is the equivalent of Radio Free Europe for the Persian world. Its funding has see-sawed in recent years, at the same time that America’s public diplomacy efforts became pre-occupied with the exporting the pop-stylings of Brittany Spears rather than serious ideas. The intellectual tradition of Iran and the Arab street is starved for non-theological content, but it can recoil from crass western commercialism. The recent expansion of Radio Farda into text-messaging has increased its relevance to Iranian youth and helped propel the social networks and connections to the western world that are publicizing and enabling the protests. Grants should also be given to develop better fire-wall blockers in the cause of free-speech. The Obama administration might have abandoned the term “war on terror”, but we are indelibly engaged in a war of ideas against radical Islam.