How does one respond to an unpopular tyranny who is threatening to start a war? Do you try to encourage them to reform, with soft words and promises to help if they turn to cooperation? Or do you be blunt and articulate the idea that unjust government must reform, because freedom lives in the hearts of men, and without freedom a government will not stand?

That is the dilemma facing President Obama.

In Iran, you have a government that stole the election. This is not an opinion, but a fact. Many people reported seeing boxes of fake ballots added to the regular ballot boxes. Then there were the numbers: the government winning in areas that usually backed the opposition.

That is why the students, with many of the public, took to the streets after the last election, only to be confronted with armed “revolutionary guards” who assaulted and arrested them.

Since then, things have been quiet, with small demonstrations on and off. But behind the scenes are rumors of high ranking clerics and politicians, even those who support an Islamic republic, who are unhappy about those who stole the election.

If there is a change in government now, it could be peaceful, with a transition rather than a revolution leading to civil war.

So the demonstrations showing opposition to the government have not stopped.

The the LA Times and other news outlets are reporting that the government sponsored “Anti American” demonstrations to celebrate the taking of the American hostages 30 years ago now have open demonstrations at the fringes of the government arranged crowds: and they are not shouting death to America but death to the dictators.

The UK Guardian has photos HERE if you scroll down…apparently twitter is back up…and they have a bunch of photos from one of their photo-journalists…
What is more, both of these newspapers report that some of the demonstrators are asking where is the American president, who has been so eager to make peace with the present dictatorship that he has failed to support those who are asking for democracy. Again, quote is from the LATimes:

“Obama, Obama!” protesters chanted on a day marking the 30th anniversary of the United States Embassy takeover. “Either you’re with them, or with us.”

And where is President Obama? Equivocating, as usual, and talking sweetly to the dictators;

President Obama issued a statement Tuesday night urging Iran’s leaders to join with him in overcoming the acrimony forged by the hostage crisis three decades ago.

“This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation,” Obama said. “I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”

This type of statement, of course, could be interpreted as President Obama backing the present regime: all in the name of peace, of course.

All of this sounds familiar to those of us who are old enough to remember the good old days when the western intellectuals insisted that Russia wasn’t really bad, and if   only the west would give in to them and stop “threatening” them they would suddenly make peace.

Military analyst Austen Bay comments about those days:

For decades — I repeat, decades — this crowd had a media pulpit from which its self-proclaimed intelligentsia preached the moral equivalency of the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and at times dropped the all pretense and fingered the U.S. as the “fascist state” and global oppressor.

In the language of the defeatist left, the U.S. was the jailer, the warmonger, the threat to world peace.

And then suddenly,twenty years ago this week, the Berlin wall was removed by Germans. The Germans were following the example of the Poles and Hungarians who refused to believe the lies. And although many “spin” the reasons behind the collapse, the real reason was the three leaders (Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul II) who “spoke truth to power” and insisted that an unjust government could not be given into, and that they would help those who wanted freedom.

So what is the lesson for us today?

Some of us who backed the President when he used his office to make peace gestures to the Muslim world are not heartened when he fails to recognize that the dictatorships oppressing their own people (and who own the media, which spouts out anti American propaganda) might be the problem, not America’s sins.

Such dictatorships include Iran, whose open persecution of their own people and threats to destroy Israel are part of the problem. But other dictatorships which are allied with America have a problem too: a Saudi Arabia that doesn’t allow freedom of religion and who practices apartheid of women, an Egypt that is a dictatorship propped by US money while spreading anti American propaganda in it’s widely watched media.

The oldest trick in the book for dictators is to find a scapegoat for people to hate, so that thepeople don’t point fingers at the dictators who are looting the country.

Yet the left prefers it’s own story rather than reality in these matters (and believe me, I was a leftist in college, but as a scientist working abroad, I had to honestly believe my own observations instead of the dogmas of college days).

Bay points out the similarities of then and now:

The Berlin Wall’s collapse exposed that Big Lie, as did the documented moral, political, economic and ecological wretchedness of the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, we still hear echoes of this “blame America” cant lacing al-Qaida propaganda and the lectures of hard-left reactionaries like Bill Ayers. The great anti-American lies of the Cold War are recast as the great anti-American lies of the War on Terror.

So will President Obama say a word of encouragement to the students in Iran, or will he continue to follow the meme of his friends and pretend that the government of Iran is just misunderstood?

You notice I didn’t  mention their nuclear program:  because Iran needs clean nuclear energy for it’s economy (it is oil rich but refinery poor).  A peaceful Iran with a bomb will be as dangerous as a peaceful India with a bomb.

On the other hand, an atomic bomb in the hands of a firebrand  Iranian President who might just make war with Israel to divert attention to his unpopularity is dangerous.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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