Massachusetts Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry has weighed in on Iran.
Kerry, who has long favored engaging the Mullahs, blames Iran's current state of affairs on, who else, the neoconservatives:
What comes next in Iran is unclear. What is clear is that the tough talk that Senator McCain advocates got us nowhere for the last eight years. Our saber-rattling only empowered hard-liners and put reformers on the defensive. An Iranian president who advocated a “dialogue among civilizations” and societal reforms was replaced by one who denied the Holocaust and routinely called for the destruction of Israel.
Damn those neoconservatives! If only the Bush Administration kept its mouth shut when Iran wouldn't permit women to run in the 2005 election then we would never have Ahmadinejad. We instead would have had Hashemi Rafsanjani, a moderate, who said this of the Jews in October 2007:
Europe resolved a great problem – the problem of the Zionist danger. The Zionists, who constituted a strong political party in Europe, caused much disorder there. Since they had a lot of property and controlled an empire of propaganda, they made the European governments helpless. What Hitler and the German Nazis did to the Jews of Europe at that time was partly due to these circumstances with the Jews. They wanted to expel the Zionists from Europe because they always were a pain in the neck for the governments there. This is how this calamity fell upon the Muslims, especially the Palestinians, and you all know this history, more or less.[...]The first goal was to save Europe from the evil of Zionism, and in this, they have been relatively successful.
I am glad to see Kerry thinks Rafsanjani is a beacon of enlightenment.
Needless to say it is very difficult to take what Kerry says seriously. Case in point:
If we actually want to empower the Iranian people, we have to understand how our words can be manipulated and used against us to strengthen the clerical establishment, distract Iranians from a failing economy and rally a fiercely independent populace against outside interference. Iran’s hard-liners are already working hard to pin the election dispute, and the protests, as the result of American meddling. On Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry chastised American officials for “interventionist” statements. Government complaints of slanted coverage by the foreign press are rising in pitch.
But Kerry undermines his own argument. So the Iranians are going to accuse us of meddling whether Obama says anything or not. For Obama not to say anything about what is happening in Iran because he doesn't want Iran to accuse us of meddling is a cop out but inconsistent with the democratic values that Obama upholds so high and mighty when he speaks about closing Gitmo.
Not surprisingly though Kerry has little good to say about America:
We can’t escape the reality that for reformers in Tehran to have any hope for success, Iran’s election must be about Iran — not America. And if the street protests of the last days have taught us anything, it is that this is an Iranian moment, not an American one.
While there is a kernel of truth to his statement he misses the point. From where do young Iranians get their ideals about democracy? From the Mullahs? Ahmadinejad? Has it ever occurred to Kerry that American idealism in some way has inspired people to take to the streets in Iran? Are they not inspired by what has taken place in Iraq? Like it or not, that would not have been possible without our involvement.
The centerpiece of Obama's foreign policy is engagement with Iran. Assuming Iranians want to normalize relations with the United States then we have to come into what's going on in some way. Sure it might be wise to make it a secondary matter but our presence cannot be ignored altogether.
Kerry attempts to reassures us when he states, "Ultimately, no matter who wins the election, our fundamental security challenge will be the same — preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."
Yet this contradicts what President Obama said in his Cairo speech earlier this month when he said, "No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.” That doesn't sound like the policy of a President looking to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. It looks like Obama and Kerry aren't on the same page here. I gather Obama prefers a global test on nuclear weapons. Or perhaps Kerry is for preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon before he is against it.
Kerry concludes by stating, "Returning to harsh criticism now would only erase this progress, empower hard-liners in Iran who want to see negotiations fail and undercut those who have risen up in support of a better relationship."
Um, I think the hard liners in Iran are already empowered. After all, they have the guns, bayonets and if things go as they appear to be going they can add nuclear weapons to that list.
Just imagine if Kerry had been elected President. Then again I don't think we have to imagine anymore.