How to Deal with Iran's Mullahs? Recall Reagan
January 16, 2004
After the tragic and devastating earthquake in Bam, there have some discussions of a possible "earthquake diplomacy" between the Bush administration and the mullahs in Iran. Such rapprochement would precariously jeopardize America's strategic interests.
Since President Reagan's key-shaped cake to the mullahs and Iran-Contra until today, various intelligent, well-intentioned officials have tried to portray the mullahs as pragmatic. Now the argument goes that the mullahs and America have a mutual interest in ensuring stability in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, there is no confluence of interests. The mullahs clearly understand the blossoming of democracy in that region would mean their eventual demise. As such, they would try to foil any such plans. The real problem is the mullahs themselves.
For more than two decades, they have diverted billions of dollars from Iran's oil revenues to filling their own pockets and financing international terrorism.
The mullahs' bloody hands are involved in countless numbers of terrorist acts across the globe, and it is they who introduced suicide bombers as a weapon. According to the CIA, the mullahs' Hezbollah is the "A list" of terrorists and more powerful than al-Qaida.
In dealing with the mullahs, the Bush administration ought to follow Reagan's example with the communists and not that of President Nixon. As Reagan rejected the Nixon doctrine of detente with the communists, and settled for nothing less than the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, President Bush should also accept nothing short of a full-fledged democracy in Iran.
Would the world have been better off today had Reagan compromised and continued Nixon's detente with the Soviets -- and not have applied the necessary financial pressure on them until their empire imploded?
Similarly, the longer the mullahs are in power, the more of a danger they present to the world. This is especially true in light of their nuclear ambitions.
The Bush administration needs to systematically expose the mullahs' corruption, incompetence and brutality in order to showcase the fallacy of Islamic fundamentalism as a political and economic ideology. This is an absolutely essential step in winning the war on terrorism so as to prevent further disillusioned Muslims from being seduced by the allure and false promises of this intolerant ideology.
Let the angry Muslim students hear and see what the Iranian students have had to endure under Islamic fundamentalism. Let them bear witness to the executions, tortures, beatings, drug addictions, lack of opportunities, sad and unhappy faces and wasted lives.
Similar to the last days of communism in which there were more communist sympathizers in Berkeley, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass., than in Moscow, Islamic fundamentalism has been completely refuted in Iran, but not yet so in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Helping the Iranian people to liberate themselves from the grasp of the mullahs could be accomplished with no American military involvement.
Through a mixture of coercion and engagement, America needs to pressure the Iranian government to implement two critical bills passed by Iran's Majlis, but rejected by the Council of Guardians. These two bills focus on establishing a free press and free elections.
Without a free press, a democracy would wither and die; with a free press a dictatorship would crumble. In the annals of history, no dictatorship has survived the onslaught of a free press. The newspapers that have been shut down and the journalists and students who have been imprisoned and routinely tortured seek a civil, democratic society based on the ideals of peace, equality, justice, transparency and a genuine representative government.
There is not a more critical issue facing America's foreign policy today than establishing a democratic role model in the Middle East. The Iran option won't require bloodshed or billions of taxpayer dollars. It would also be a prudent hedge in case the Iraq plan doesn't unfold as desired.
The mullahs' theocracy belongs in the dust bin of history just like communism and fascism. The Bush administration should not increase the life expectancy of this doomed regime by continuing the misguided policies of the past two decades and engaging in quid pro quo deals with the mullahs. Such myopic, politically motivated policies have enabled the mullahs to survive and to pose an ever greater menace for America.
Winning the war on terrorism is impossible so long as the mullahs are in power.
Ladjevardian, an Iranian-American, is a Houston-based writer. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/2356105
While I agree with Reza Ladjevardian's sentiments, he seems to be under the impression that what Mr. Powell says, is what Mr. Bush wants or believes.
It's Mr. Powell that would have some sort of detente. I believe this statement "tearing down of the Berlin Wall, President Bush should also accept nothing short of a full-fledged democracy in Iran" is the reality of the President's policy.
Reza Ladjevardian's suggestion of letting the world "see what the Iranian students have had to endure under Islamic fundamentalism. Let them bear witness to the executions, tortures, beatings, drug addictions, lack of opportunities, sad and unhappy faces and wasted lives." is very good and one made by others. Getting the media to cooperate, is another story. Perhaps the President needs to do this more directly in the form of a nationally televised speech or press conference, with pictures or a slide show of "life under the regime", similar to how the army has presented it's updates during the war.
Yes, a free press is essential..."Without a free press, a democracy would wither and die; with a free press a dictatorship would crumble." And for these reasons, it will not materialize in Iran until the regime is gone.
"Winning the war on terrorism is impossible so long as the mullahs are in power."