Obama’s Shame

Probably not a great post title, because he has none, but Roger Simon has thoughts on the different responses of Trump versus Obama to Iranians seeking freedom:

The students and others marching in the streets to overthrow these tyrants desperately wanted America’s help, specifically the support of our “oh-so-liberal-progressive” president. they shouted, “Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?”

Obama was silent.

I can’t think of a moment I was more disgusted by the acts (inaction actually) of an American president. What did he stand for? What did we stand for?

Well, who knows? What we do know is he wanted to deal with Iran his way — whether to get the glory for himself or for other even less attractive reasons we will never know. He was secretly communicating with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei even before he took office, hinting at accommodation.

He wanted an Iran deal and he got it, the Iranian people and the U.S. Constitution be damned. (I have met several of the student demonstrators from that period who spent years being tortured in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Their faces resembled Picassos of the Cubist Period. They were the lucky ones. Their brothers and sisters just disappeared.)

Obama was silent for those students and millions of other decent Iranians. He wanted his deal so much that, as we know, he sent still more millions to the mullahs in cash, so they could use those dollars in any untraceable manner they wished — such as funding Hezbollah and the Houthis.

And speaking of Hezbollah, we all know now, due to reporting about Project Cassandra by Josh Meyer at Politico, that Obama was so determined to make his creepy deal that he acceded to the mullahs’ demand to pull the FBI off a detailed investigation of the Hezbollah thugs’ extensive involvement in the U.S. drug trade. Are we sick yet?

I was sick at the time. He gets one thing wrong, though: His colleagues were never “liberals.” They were simply leftists purloining the term, and they have no problem with fascism, as long as it’s a fascism they find sufficiently anti-Western.

[Sunday-morning update, from Phoenix]

Say you want a revolution?

During some demonstrations, crowds chanted “Seyed Ali shame on you, let go of power” and “Sorry Seyed Ali, it’s time to go.” In Tehran, protesters faced a mural of Mr. Khamenei and shouted “Death to you.” Openly targeting Mr. Khamenei, who is considered God’s representative on Earth, is a crime that carries the death penalty.

In a number of cities, demonstrators have expressed nostalgia for the last monarchical rulers of Iran, the Pahlavi dynasty, by evoking the name of its founder Reza Shah. Many Iranians consider Reza Shah to be the father of modern Iran and his era is associated with a time of economic prosperity. . . .

Here are some slogans being chanted at the protests, translated into English:

“We don’t want an Islamic Republic, we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”

“They are using Islam as an excuse to drive people crazy.”

“Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic.”

“Reformists, hard-liners, Game is over.”

“We are all Iranians, we don’t accept Arabs.”

“We are getting poor and clerics are driving fancy cars.”

“Reza Shah, Rest in Peace.”

“We will die but we will take Iran back.”

“Come out to the streets Iranians, shout for your rights.”

“Death to the Revolutionary Guards.”

While seeing the mullahs overthrown would be almost forty years overdue, seeing the tears of Obama and Valerie Jarrett would add a little extra frisson.

[January 2nd update]

An Iranian revolution of national dignity:

After nearly four decades of plunderous and fanatical Islamist rule, Iranians are desperate to become a normal nation-state once more, and they refuse to be exploited for an ideological cause that long ago lost its luster. It is a watershed moment in Iran’s history: The illusion of reform within the current theocratic system has finally been shattered. Iranians, you might say, are determined to make Iran great again.

Their movement is attuned to the worldwide spirit of nationalist renewal. From the U.S. to India, and from South Africa to Britain, political leaders and the voters who elect them are reaffirming the enduring value of the nation-state. Iran hasn’t been immured from these developments, as the slogans of the current protests indicate. No longer using the rights-based lexicon of votes and recounts, Iranians are instead demanding national dignity from a regime that for too long has subjugated Iranian-ness to its Shiite, revolutionary mission.

It’s notable, for example, that protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me.” Put another way: The people are tired of paying the price for the regime’s efforts to remake the region in its own image and challenge U.S. “hegemony.” Some have even taken to chanting “Reza Shah, Bless Your Soul,” expressing gratitude and nostalgia for the Pahlavi era, which saw the modern, pro-Western nation-state of Iran emerge from the shambles of the Persian Empire.

Trump’s message would seem to fit just fine with this mood.

[Afternoon update]

[Bumped]

For some reason, former Obama officials want us to ignore the protests in Iran.

Gee, what reason could that possibly be?

[Wednesday-morning update]

Wow, even Leon Panetta is criticizing Obama’s pussilanimity (and that’s putting it kindly) in 2009.

[Update a few minutes later]

Are the Iranian regime’s days numbered?

I hope so. Of course, everyone’s days are numbered, the only issue is the size of the number.

[Bumped again]

[Update a while later]

Meanwhile, the quislings at the NYT regret that the protesters won’t pay attention to the government’s call for calm.

[Update a couple minutes later]

More thoughts on Obama’s and the media’s perfidy from The Federalist:

The initial coverage of these historic protests—or in some cases, the lack of it—was scandalous. The New York Times’s Thomas Erdbrink, in particular, veered into revolting Walter Duranty territory. Looking back at the paper’s coverage of Iran, it’s unsurprising.

“For many years,” the reporter wrote only last month, “many Iranians were cynical about their leaders, but that is changing thanks to Trump and the Saudi crown prince.” Every unfiltered report from Iran told a different story.

Actually, thanks to Trump, the Times’ coverage swerved unconvincingly from “The protests are only small and and not worth your attention’” to “These protests are about economic woes and have nothing to do with political disputes and are not worth your attention” to the “Violence is the protesters’ fault because they won’t listen to the regime’s calls for calm.” All of this is particularly offputting when you consider how hard some in the media worked to make the Iran deal a reality.

You don’t say.

[Thursday-morning update]

The brittle Iranian regime faces a new revolt:

Considering the context, 2018’s Iranian public outrage rates as double dismal. In the last nine years the Iranian regime has not moderated, as the Obama Administration contended it would. Rather, the mullah regime has fossilized, dishing out the same violent, repressive, rip-off poison it dished nine years ago.

But here’s a difference that’s dangerous for the ayatollahs. In 2018 the robed dictators know they are a brittle fossil, ripe for collapse. Why? Well, Donald Trump is the U.S. president, not a Barack Obama-type supplicant who fervently believes a nuclear weapons deal with Iranian militants is the ultimate in peacenik presidential legacies.

The result of the dismal domestic political and economic morass and the presence of the Trump Administration: Iran’s dictators enter 2018 thoroughly shaken.

Yup. As with the Soviet Union in 1981, there’s a new sheriff in town.

[Friday-morning update]

What a Soviet dissident thinks about Iran:

In an interview this week, Sharansky told me Macron’s response to the Iranian unrest reminded him of the appeasement crowd during the Cold War. It was the kind of thinking that led former president Gerald Ford to refuse a meeting with the Soviet author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

“It reminds me of the arguments against Reagan,” Sharansky told me. “All those battles we thought we already won, we have to fight them again.”

Yup.

[Bumped, again]

216 thoughts on “Obama’s Shame”

      1. Here’s an interesting little coincidence regarding Fast and Furious;
        The recipient of most of the arms was the Zeta cartel. That’s the same cartel Hezbollah was working with.

        I think article 3, section 3 of the Constitution applies here.

        1. Arizona, I understand that the Sinaloa Cartel was actually the recipient of most of those firearms.

          CONAN: And tell us a little bit about these gangs the ATF was trying to track down.

          MARIZCO: From the number of guns and where the guns were going, the ATF was trying to land somebody in the Sinaloa cartel. The Sinaloa cartel has been going after the Zeta cartel in northeastern Mexico, the Gulf cartel, the Juarez cartel in Cuidad Juarez; and for a certain number of years they were also going after the Arellano-Felix organization in Tijuana – so virtually throughout all of Mexico.

          Now, where the guns were ending up seemed to always be in the hands of people working for the Sinaloa cartel, whether that – whether the guns were being seized by the Mexico army in Tijuana, here on the Arizona border or in Mexico. Over and over again, the guns kept landing in the hands of one particular cartel.

          The Sinaloa cartel also seems to have dealings in West Africa and the Middle East, but I don’t know the extent.

  1. The correct title is “America’s shame.” At the time it was literally like being punched in the gut. It could have been a chance to correct Carter’s mistakes of the past, before which Iran could have been a modern nation.

    The shame belongs to those that allowed the progressives to ‘educate’ our future voters so that someone like Obama could become president.

    Our shame, not educating our kids, continues today.

    1. Wikipedia says the Shah’s son only has support of 20% of 15% (3%) and that consisting mostly of older exiles. I doubt a queen could take a thrown in Persia. The Iranian people are good people but their culture is strongly patriarchal.

      The new revolution would have to come mainly from young people that may not be looking to establish a new Shah? But I haven’t talked with any Iranian’s since the early 80s so I really have no idea.

      I think the family is pro American. I had friends that knew the Shah as contractors before the revolution.

      1. At least one of the slogans quoted above is definitely republican in nature. If Iranians too young to remember the last shah firsthand (negatively or not) aren’t royalist, I don’t think the cause will find much traction.

  2. I’m old enough to remember when bombing Libya was going to bring peace and love and democracy. Instead of terrorism, mass murder and slave markets.

    While I’d hardly defend Obama’s sucking-up to Iran, is there any reason whatsoever to believe it wouldn’t become just as much of a disaster as every other Middle-Eastern nation America has ‘regime-changed’?

    1. I was on a Pacific carrier during El Dorado Canyon. Terrorism, mass murder, and slave markets existed in North Africa and Asia Citerior for hundreds of years before then and will continue when I’m long gone. It’s the nature of the sandbox.

    2. is there any reason whatsoever to believe [Iran] wouldn’t become just as much of a disaster

      While the Shaw had his faults, the Iranians were once firmly on their way to becoming a modern society. They might even have brought much of the Muslim world with them. We are at war on many fronts. Iran could be a powerful ally.

      Like many immigrants from repressive regimes, they would not be deluded, like many Americans are, about the enemies nature. Even some of their imans are pro-western.

      As the Poles are to communism, the Persians could be to Islam (or at least a sort of reformation.)

        1. It would still have an impact. The Iranian Revolution sent the message, if they can do it, we can do it. The failure of that Revolution sends the equal and opposite message.

        2. Sunni don’t even view them as Muslims though.

          Which is part of my bigger point. Iran could prosper as a member of the modern world. Something the Shah was moving them toward (and the reason my CA friends were there as contractors, part of a larger movement.). Muslims could not avoid taking notice which would encourage some in the Muslim world to agitate for similar benefits in their own countries (those that don’t vote with their feet.).

          No guarantees of course.

        3. “Sunni don’t even view them as Muslims though.”

          That’s true of some Sunni, notably Wahabi and those who’ve had recent conflict with Shiite, but the majority of Sunni recognize Shiite as genuine (but perhaps sinful) Muslims because Shiite recognize Muhammad as Gods prophet.

        4. Certainly Salafists among the Sunnis don’t view anyone else as Muslims. The majority of Sunnis couldn’t be bothered, until empire building Caliphate revivalists demand a scriptural literalist interpretation of the Koran, mixed with the traditional demand that the later suras of the Koran have priority over earlier suras.

          It is no oddity that Khomeini praised the Salafist Moslem Brotherhood writer Qtub, in his demand for the revival of a Caliphate. It’s just that Khomeini wanted a revival of the Shia/Fatimid Caliphate of 960AD-1170AD, rather than a 7-8th century Sunni Caliphate.

    3. The future is always uncertain. Who knows what would happen?

      People like to knock Iraq but we had interests there and it would have turned out OK if Obama left some troops and didn’t halt diplomacy. Let’s put it another way, Obama thought Iraq went so well they didn’t need a US troop presence.

      Relative to other large wars, Iraq saw little loss of life for us and them. Flawless execution? Nooooo but we weren’t sending civilian airliners to evacuate the troops either.

      We do have interests with Iran. We don’t want them having nukes or achieving hegemony over the ME. We also have a claim to payback for their shielding of AQ, proxy militias in Iraq, and supplying Islamist terror groups in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. I’d rather not see us go to war with Iran. I don’t know how to prevent them from getting nukes otherwise.

      I have yet to see anyone put forward a credible plan to stop them through diplomacy and the main argument is always, “So what if they have nuclear weapons.”

    4. What would you think if you lived there? Would you chose the better-safe-than-sorry policy of living under the boot heel of despots? Or, would you prefer to take your chances with something else?

      Your choices are bad, and possible-worse-possibly-better. I think if life isn’t even worth living, I would chose a chance at life.

  3. If there is any justice in the world a George Washington type will emerge. However the perpetrators of the mullah regime don’t need to get off scot free like the Stasi did in East Germany. Lamposts, ropes.

    1. My Man of the Year who is way under the Media radar is Mohammed Bin Salman. He is the Crown Prince who is kicking backsides and taking names.

      He has serious concerns about Iran. He has little patience for those not taking Iran seriously — he is talking to you Mr. Abbas, he is talking to you Mr. Erdogan.

      He has all of the right enemies. My hope is that he lives.

      1. The problem is his people are soft and unskilled in commerce and in war. He is also running counter to the prevailing winds in Islamic culture.

        He is a very promising development, if he lives long enough.

        1. I don’t think there really is a prevailing wind in Islamic Culture at this moment. You might liken it to the eye of the storm, with the far edge now on the horizon.

          1. Could be but Islamists do have a lot of popularity. The eye of the storm seems to be who will control a or the caliphate. It is very chaotic as various militias, war bands, and terror groups jockey for power but is there any actor that isn’t motivated by a strain of Islamism?

            MBS’s actions are ones of reform, which go against his own culture. Some may support it but many do not and it is especially risky because he controls the holy sites.

  4. Too much overt US meddling in Iran would be the kiss of death to those opposing the current repressive regime, just as such poorly thought through meddling has been a disaster in numerous other countries suffering repression. Don’t count on Trump to do anything other than get those in Iran fighting for change to be labeled as American stooges by the majority of Iranians.

    1. I agree with your first part. Sometimes moral support is all you can give. Our interest there is in preventing nuclear weapon development not in freeing Iranians to follow ? form of government.

      This though…

      Don’t count on Trump to do anything other than get those in Iran fighting for change to be labeled as American stooges by the majority of Iranians.

      The Iranian regime, just like Maduro and others, will always claim the opposition is from the USA regardless of anything Trump does. Don’t be too quick to blame Trump for something that would happen no matter who is President and what they did or didn’t do. Didn’t the blame Obama for stuff like this too? And Obama helped them develop nuclear weapons, fight a war in Syria, and attack two of our allies Saudi Arabia and Israel.

      Sometimes country’s actions are based on their own motives and are not reactions to anything the USA did.

      1. I’d argue that the softly – softly approach Obama took to the Iranian domestic situation is why the protested – up until now – have been seen by many in the Iranian Government – including the President, as a genuine domestic issue rather than as foreign meddling, this has had the effect of strengthening the perception of legitimacy of the protesters within the country.

        I’m not going to get into whether or not Iranian support for enemies of Israel and Saudi Arabia qualifies as Iranian attacks on those two countries – that’s all but irrelevant to any US attempts to influence the Iranians Governments domestic policies.

        The Western nations have something that should be a winning card when it comes to influencing counties to follow their lead – economic and political systems that really work! But again and again attempts to spread the word about the free market and democracy fail because of Western Governments (too often led by the US) arrogant heavy-handedness.

        1. Riiiiight. Siding with the government and sending them pallets of cash was really support of the opposition.

          That is one helluva fantasy world you live in.

          1. “Siding with the government and sending them pallets of cash was really support of the opposition.”

            You get that from my comment? You feeling even dumber than usual today?

          2. He didn’t get it from your comment Andrew. He simply observed what Obama actually did and used logic. What he got from your comment is; “That is one helluva fantasy world you live in.” And it is.

        2. US arrogant heavy-handedness

          When people compatible with western values are dying in the streets, positive action is called for. We should have so much humint in that country that it’s hard not to bump into a spy.

          We do know the Iranian people. We just haven’t given them the support they deserve.

          It’s about time, throughout the world and especially in our own country, that we identify the good guys from the bad and do what it takes. We’re failing.

          We might want to suspend benefit of the doubt until we get passed the crisis. We can’t afford it with a deep state so entrenched.

          1. US arrogant heavy-handedness

            Is it really that hard for you to quote accurately Ken?

            Western Governments (too often led by the US) arrogant heavy-handedness.

            There have been so few examples of Western nations political meddling in other countries leading to the establishment of “western values” that on balance the meddling is almost never worth it for the people in those countries protesting the tyranny and corruption . . . I’ve just run down the list and I didn’t find a single example of a successful case of meddling in a countries domestic affairs leading to a wealthy nation with “western values”.

            There are examples of total warfare leading to the utter defeat of a tyrannical government followed by the establishment of “Western values” (the defeated axis powers) and of the collapse of socialist states without significant western meddling leading to the establishment of Western values (former Warsaw pact countries), and I can name examples of countries converting to “western values” without the meddling against the government (Singapore, South Korea) but an example of a country subject to meddling (as Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Iraq, Iran were) converting to a wealthy nation holding “western values” I know of no example.

          2. How many countries are there in the world? Every single one we have meddled in. Guess how many have meddled in ours? Even our allies like the UK and Australia meddle in our country.

            Do you really think we did nothing in the Warsaw pact countries?

            Where would South Korea be today without our meddling?

            We can be a good example but everyone meddles and everyone needs help. Would our own Revolutionary War been successful without help?

            Again you ignore that their are other players. Is Cuba the way it is because of the USA or because of the Castros and communism? If the USA did nothing, would Cuba be any different today?

          3. I’m referring to “meddling against the government”, attempts to support anti-government factions either openly or secretly that don’t stay secret, I’m saying that such an approach always back-fires hurting those that Western Governments wish to support. I can’t find an example where such an approach hasn’t back-fired, hurting those being praised – give me one if you can.

            “Even our allies like the UK and Australia meddle in our country.”
            Not in the way I describe, and even with the US government the meddling in other countries it is usually not the open promotion of opponents of a current government. Such an approach by the US to, for example Britain in at election time with open support for the Conservatives against a UK Labour Government would be very unwelcome to the British Conservative Party – the kiss of death, many voters would turn against the Conservatives. Likewise, if there had been open meddling by Putin in the US election with Russian support for Trump discovered prior to the vote it would have been a disaster for Trump. You understand that?

            So the Moron, with his public support for the protesters, has hurt the protesters, many Iranians will now be easily persuaded that they’re US puppets, Prior to the Moron’s twitter comments Rouhani was saying the protesters had some legitimacy, after the Moron’s comments he switched to calling the protesters US – Israeli puppets.

          4. I’m saying that such an approach always back-fires hurting those that Western Governments wish to support. I can’t find an example where such an approach hasn’t back-fired, hurting those being praised – give me one if you can.

            How did Reagan’s support for the dissidents in the Gulag “backfire”?

          5. Andrew, the reason the Westernization of the former Axis powers was so successful was that:

            (1) they were clearly and absolutely conquered by the Allies, and,

            (2) they were administered for a decade after war’s end by Allied military governments of occupation.

            Absent both these conditions, the results will not be good.

            We never invaded Cuba in fee simple. The lessons of WW2 were already being forgotten by the early 60’s when all the “Best and Brightest” were busily inventing Proxy War gambits like the risible Bay of Pigs fiasco.

            We never invaded North Vietnam either, as we should have. We allowed ourselves to be buffaloed by the Chinese into imagining we’d face them again in Vietnam ala Korea 1951. So we fought the Vietnam War on the enemy’s terms, duly lost, and then watched as the vaunted PLA tried to, itself, invade North Vietnam shortly afterward – and get their asses handed to them for their trouble.

            The original plan for Iraq was to run the place with a military government of occupation, but the “anti-imperialist” squishies in the State Dept. and elsewhere got to Bush 2 and he appointed the spectatcularly clueless and incompetent Paul Bremer to execute an unworkably quick transition to local governance.

            If we needed to run West Germany and Japan for a decade each before turning them back over to the locals, how much longer, then, should Iraq have reasonably taken? I’d say a minimum of 25 years. Our “reward” for trying to take the “quick and easy” way forward will be to have a great deal more than 25 subsequent years of trouble in that part of the world. We’ve already had 15, most or all of which could have been avoided if we’d pursued things sensibly after April 2003.

            Same thing goes for Afghanistan in spades.

          6. Dick, I agree with your comment, if you go to war you MUST be prepared to commit totally, but it then follows that if you are unsure that your administration is not in a position to make that total commitment – perhaps because of domestic reluctance – you should not go to war.

          7. Scratch the “not” in: “. . . if you are unsure that your administration is not in . . . “

          8. How did Reagan’s support for the dissidents in the Gulag “backfire”?

            I don’t remember Reagan ever singling out those in the Warsaw Pact countries protesting against the communist government, my recollection is that the process of collapse was so fast, generated from within the communist countries as a result of very widespread but unspoken dissatisfaction with communism, that Gorbachev was at the forefront in allowing the transition to democracy and that there wasn’t really any opportunity for Western leaders to influence the collapse.

          9. Against the advice of the usual suspects, Reagan called out the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire.” It gave hope and heart to those languishing in the prisons.

          10. Against the advice of the usual suspects, Reagan called out the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire.” It gave hope and heart to those languishing in the prisons.

            But he didn’t speak out in support of those trying to change the system thereby enabling the Soviet establishment to label those people as American puppets.

            Incidentally Reagan had left office months before the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and nearly 3 years before the Soviet Union disintegrated. H. W. Bush was less vocal than Reagan and his more subdued approach may well have enabled more questioning by those under communism to question the system without being labeled as US puppets by their pro-communist countrymen.

          11. “But he didn’t speak out in support of those trying to change the system thereby enabling the Soviet establishment to label those people as American puppets.”

            Nonsense. He did it practically every day.

            “Incidentally Reagan had left office months before the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and nearly 3 years before the Soviet Union disintegrated.”

            Causality means the cause must precede the effect. It does not demand that the effect be instantaneous, and it generally isn’t. When you turn on the stove, the soup doesn’t immediately start to boil. When you mash the accelerator, your car doesn’t jump to 100 kph.

            If a “subdued approach” were all that was needed, the Soviet Union would have fallen during the tenure of several other preceding “subdued” Presidents.

        3. softly approach Obama took to the Iranian domestic situation is why the protested – up until now – have been seen by many in the Iranian Government – including the President, as a genuine domestic issue rather than as foreign meddling

          Obama’s approach was to be silent as Iran killed and tortured protesters. Just as his approach was to help Hezbollah sell drugs and launder money in the USA. Just as his approach was to allow Iranian proxy militias to commit war crimes in Iraq. Just as… the list is endless. Obama appeased Iranian depravity at every turn. Many innocents in many different countries suffered.

          And that did not moderate Iran’s views toward the USA, the domestic dissidents, or actions on the world stage.

          I have no problem with Trump, Obama, or anyone else speaking out about how horrible Iran is. Its about time we had a leader that wasn’t afraid of calling out countries the deserve calling out. Obama was silent because he was a coward who led from behind and engaged in backstabbing and subterfuge. He couldn’t fight in the open while the most powerful human in the world because his goals were more inline with Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the global socialists than the USA.

          Obama’s silence didn’t change how the Iranian leadership acted, just as Trump’s condemnation wont either. The Iranians are going to act on their own motivations based on what they think they need to do to stay in power. Since their behavior will not change whether or not an American President is silent or issues condemnation, why be silent?

          Its the old leftist fallacy that any western action taken will be the real cause of events and that the other players have no agency or motives.

          1. Iranian views of the US did become less hostile under Obama’s policies, specially when sanctions were eased. https://journalistsresource.org/studies/politics/ads-public-opinion/polling-iran-iranians-public-opinion-data
            Iranian moderates were winning against the hardliners, if you didn’t know that you’ve not been following politics in that country.

            Obama had finesse, and is held in high regard outside of the US.
            http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/06/29/as-obama-years-draw-to-close-president-and-u-s-seen-favorably-in-europe-and-asia/

            Trump is seen far less positively. http://www.pewglobal.org/2017/06/26/u-s-image-suffers-as-publics-around-world-question-trumps-leadership/

          2. “Iranian views of the US did become less hostile under Obama’s policies, specially when sanctions were eased. ”

            Well OF COURSE…..the Irnian’s bought dog – Obama – was giving them everything they wanted.

            sheesh.

            “Iranian moderates were winning against the hardliners, if you didn’t know that you’ve not been following politics in that country.”

            HAHAHAHAHA dream on. Or is this “make up a fact day”? Either way if the moderates were winning why are the moderates/progressives/not-muslim-extremists out in the streets protesting?

            Obama let the Green revolution be ground under the feet of the non-moderates. He has severe blood on his hands.
            That statement is simply idiotic.

          3. Gregg, as usual you’re doing a great job of demonstrating that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Go and read up on who actually has the real power in Iran, unfortunately it’s not those that are elected. The goal of the protesters is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Rouhani (their elected President) was trying to endorse their calls for change, but he’s walking a tight line, the Moron’s ignorant comments undermines the protesters and Rouhani forcing Rouhani to distance himself from the protesters and speaking up for the change they want or risk appearing as a US stooge.

            I have given examples of how that situation if transfered to a Western country, a foreign leader openly meddling in US or British politics, would hurt those he’s speaking in support of, but I guess you don’t have the ability to see things from anything other than one narrow perspective.

          4. “Gregg, as usual you’re doing a great job of demonstrating that you don’t know what you’re talking about. ”

            Ad Homs such as the above can be safely ignored when they come from the mind of a teenager. Moving on…

            “Go and read up on who actually has the real power in Iran, unfortunately it’s not those that are elected.
            ……..
            “The goal of the protesters is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, ……”

            Not sure I can parse this phrase – it’s rather unclear – and I wouldn’t want your feelings to be hurt as they so easily can be:

            So when you say “the goal of the protesters is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei..” would “target” be a synonym for your use of the word “goal”?

            Are you saying that the protestors re protesting against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei?

            Also you have a coma after Khamenei and before “Rouhani (their elected President) “…seems like there ought to be a period there in order to really try to understand what you are trying to say. Care to clarify?

            I’ll leave the demolition of the rest of your rant once you can write an understandable sentence.

          5. Yes Gregg “target” would have been a better word for me to use. I apologize for using a coma when it should have been a period.

          6. “Yes Gregg “target” would have been a better word for me to use. I apologize for using a coma when it should have been a period.”

            Ah ok thanks. I appreciate the clarification.

            And I noticed we both misspelled “comma” 😉

            Anyways on to your postings.

            “Go and read up on who actually has the real power in Iran, unfortunately it’s not those that are elected. ”

            I know who has the real power in Iran – the 7th century-minded extremist, terrorism financiers who have constructed a thugo-cracy in Iran.

            “The goal of the protesters is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.”

            Show me where I said otherwise and how that prompted you to fell you have to snarkily “correct” me?

            I’ll tell you where – nowhere.

            You just felt like creating a straw man so that you could wax volumetrically in trying to obfuscate a fairly simple situation. As well as make yourself sound erudite – which you failed as only a 7th grader can so spectacularly fail.

            Next:

            “I have given examples of how that situation if transfered to a Western country, a foreign leader openly meddling in US or British politics, would hurt those he’s speaking in support of, ”

            As has been shown to you everyone meddles with everyone else. You live in a fantasy world if you think otherwise. Not only that, there are always positive and negative examples – Rand gave you a positive. You choose to believe it is always and everywhere negative.

            Who is being narrow?

            “…but I guess you don’t have the ability to see things from anything other than one narrow perspective.

            Yes the narrow perspective I see things is, of course, the right perspective. Narrow is good when you are right.

            I’ll make it very simple for you because you seem to be focused on snark rather than information:

            The people running Iran (RUNNING) are 7th century-minded extremist muslims who have created a thugocracy.

            The protesters want liberalization of their country – liberalization in the classic sense not the neo-marxist Obama/Democrat party sense.

            The protesters wanted this back during the Green Revolution, but Obama ignored them because he didn’t mind slaughter so long as he got his deal and built his legacy.

            But now the pressure is doubly on Iran because gas prices have fallen and the billions (that’s right billions – more than one) that Obama gave the 7th century mullah thug-ocrats was used to kill people all over the middle east instead of making people’s lives better.

            So with no more billions arriving on pallets in unmarked airplanes, and with oil prices dropping (thanks you Trump), the lives of yoru sea level standard Iranian are going down down down.

            The protesters are yelling “Iran first!” meaning enough foreign adventures.

            There, I hope you can learn something….though I wouldn’t bet money.

          7. Andrew_W @ January 2, 2018 at 2:47 AM

            “Obama had finesse, and is held in high regard outside of the US.”

            Among politically like-minded people. You are a captive to a clique that controls a wide array of opinion sources, and you accept their opinions without question or due diligence. Just because they claim to be the cool kids does not mean they really are.

    2. Everyone presumes to speak for the Iranian people, whom they know nothing about except what they read in their own slanted news coverage.

      1. This is true. Who knows what type of government the protesters want? And why would any support we lend be viewed as ideological kinship rather than just payback to Iran?

      2. Now Bart, Andrew is following events in Iran very closely from his perch in New Zealand, just like he observes the US. So you can bet he’s an expert in providing BS.

  5. For some reason, former Obama officials want us to ignore the protests in Iran.

    Except that not one of the comments referred to suggests that the US should ignore the protests in Iran. They argue that, given that the Trump administration is not seen as a friend of Iran, by vocally supporting the protesters against the regime Trump is causing an “The friend of my enemy is my enemy” dilemma for Iranians sympathetic to the demands of the protesters and also opportunities by supporters of Ali Khamenei to smear the protesters.

    A comment along the lines of: “We encourage the Iranian government to listen to the Iranian people and to try to move the country forward to greater prosperity and greater freedom.” would have been better, supporting the demands of the protesters without painting targets on them.

    1. “They argue that, given that the Trump administration is not seen as a friend of Iran, by vocally supporting the protesters against the regime Trump is causing an “The friend of my enemy is my enemy” dilemma for Iranians sympathetic to the demands of the protesters and also opportunities by supporters of Ali Khamenei to smear the protesters.”

      An argument that is so full of horse droppings that it’s hardly worth reporting. They have always said that getting serious and opposing the thug-mullahs or do anything else that requires a spine and a pair would cause more to join the cause, and put people in tough spots.

      You know..just like castigating Nazi’s from 39 to 45 generated more Nazi’s.

      So what?

      “A comment along the lines of: “We encourage the Iranian government to listen to the Iranian people and to try to move the country forward to greater prosperity and greater freedom.” would have been better, supporting the demands of the protesters without painting targets on them.”

      And would have accomplished precisely nothing. This is the sort of ball-less, cocoa drinking pajama boy statement Obama and his henchmen would make.

      You think there wouldn’t be targets on the backs of protesters even if Trump said and did nothing?

      If so, you are delusional.

      1. The contention here has been that Trump praising the protesters and condemning the Iranian government would be helping the protesters. Sort of:

        1. Protests erupt
        2. Trump backs protesters
        3. A miracle happens
        4. End of the current Iranian government, wealth freedom and happiness in Iran.

        Perhaps you could fill in the details of step 4.

          1. Your link doesn’t mention anything about Reagan having backed protesters against the Soviet Union.
            The way I see the collapse of the Warsaw Pact was a softening of Soviet control over other states under the more liberal (as opposed to communist conservative) leadership of Gorbachev, so it was less an instance of a fight between factions within a country and more a case of countries, most of whose people were unhappy with Soviet domination of their countries, breaking free. So a US government criticizing Soviet control of Europe would have few critics in East Germany, Poland etc. The occupied countries of Eastern Europe were not emotionally attached to the USSR.

            That’s human beings instinctive tribalism, if a foreign government starts criticizing the US government for whatever reason, many (not all, but more than before) Americans will start to feel a whole lot more patriotic and insist Americans pull together behind their President.

            That patriotic bond pulls countries together and is often manipulated by tyrants to retain power, and Iranians, being Persians with all that history, are very much a tribe with the rest of us including Arabs as outsiders.

          2. Your link doesn’t mention anything about Reagan having backed protesters against the Soviet Union.

            One of those protesters, Lech Walesa, seems to think he did.

          3. This is just wishy washy equivocation, Andrew. You have bought into the old passive fantasy that the girl will come to you without your having to risk rejection and tell her how you feel. It doesn’t work that way in the real world.

            The events of 1953, manipulated and distorted as they have been by Tudeh propaganda, are a faint memory if even that. The students protesting in Iran today were not even born until nearly half a century after that event. They’re not worried about the US. They’re worried about the Mullahs and the basiji who are bashing their heads in today.

            You completely misunderstand the mindset because you are remote, and lulled into a particular narrative by the tendentious sources upon which you rely for information. Your sources are inveterate liars, and you are a fool for listening to them without qualification or consideration of their dismal track record.

          4. Lech Walesa, seems to think he did.

            Indeed

            When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can’t be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.Poles fought for their freedom for so many years that they hold in special esteem those who backed them in their struggle. Support was the test of friendship. President Reagan was such a friend. His policy of aiding democratic movements in Central and Eastern Europe in the dark days of the Cold War meant a lot to us.

            Note, at the link above is included a picture of Ronald Reagan at his ranch announcing trade sanctions against Poland for its treatment of the Solidarity movement. Should we tell Andrew about Trump announcing more sanctions against the government of Iran in October 2017?

            Nope, he seems to still think there is a step 3, which if so; it would be there even if step 2 was “Obama gives into the mullahs, dropping sanctions and allowing nuclear development, with only three prisoner set free in return”.

  6. t’s notable, for example, that protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me.”

    Hezbollah took a beating in Syria. How have the IRG and Iranian militias fared?

  7. I certainly hope the youth of Iran accomplish their goal. But, I think it is important to note that this eventuality could not have come to be had GW not deposed Saddam, and removed that ever-present threat that enforced solidarity among Iranians by fear of a credible common enemy, the madman next door.

  8. 1. Protests erupt
    2. Trump backs protesters
    3. A miracle happens
    4. End of the current Iranian government, wealth freedom and happiness in Iran.

    3. Mullahs have to decide if they may antagonize crazy Trump by their actions, so they pretend to make nice and not kill them. Giving the protesters time to be successful… as opposed to dead.

    This is why prisoners in foreign jails want the world to know who they are. The idea that enemies don’t know each other is ludicrous.
    ———–
    2. Obama is silent.
    3. Protester are quietly arrested and killed.
    ————
    But when Russia meddles, countries get strong man dictators. So obviously meddling never works. /sarc

    …Andrews last point… Anything that’s wrong is America’s fault. The rest of the world just wants to peacefully roast marshmallows.

  9. From the Wednesday morning update: “Obama Should Have Helped 2009 Iran Protesters,”

    People keep saying that, “help the protesters” but they never explain how US attempting to drive an even bigger wedge between the protesters and the Iranian government is supposed to “help the protesters”

    Two or three years ago a conservative (from memory at Behind The Black) explained to me the concept of Strategy Over Morality in laudatory terms, arguing that it was the duty of the US government to protect US interests first and foremost and to never place moral considerations ahead of those US interests.

    If the smart people advocating a more aggressive US stance over the protests were using the SOM philosophy this could be their logic:
    By siding so strongly and openly with the protesters the US gives the Iranian Supreme Council a justification for arguing that the protesters are acting as puppets for foreign agents (as HAS happened since Trumps comments on the protests) The Iranian Supreme Council then feels justified in a crackdown on the protesters, over ruling President Hassan Rouhani who has been doing what he can to protect the protesters. Lots of people die. The Trump administration, expressing horror at the deaths, demands a re-imposition of sanctions and other measures to punish the Iranian Government, achieving the result that most Republicans have sort since the lifting of sanctions.

    Interestingly in interviews several Iranians have said that the protests have been fueled by disappointment that lifting sanctions haven’t improved the quality of life for Iranians, in effect with the removal of sanctions the publics ire was shifted from the US and countries imposing sanctions to Iran’s rulers.

    So it’s in the interests of both many US Republicans and Iran’s rulers that sanctions be re-imposed. It’s just the common folk who need the sanctions to remain lifted.

    1. Supporting the protesters means acknowledging their grievances as legitimate, and calling upon the mullahs to treat them fairly, letting them know the eyes of the world are upon them, and they will pay a price for heavy-handedness. It also legitimizes those who would aid the people, providing critical pipelines for material support.

      1. Bart, my version of what you said is: “We encourage the Iranian government to listen to the Iranian people and to try to move the country forward to greater prosperity and greater freedom.”

        The statements needed are ones that positively encourage the Iranian government to listen to their people, not ones that encourage a greater rift within the country.

        1. You are making a mistake in thinking that the Iranian leadership cares what the protesters have to say. If the protesters are viewed as counterrevolutionaries, then they will be considered enemies of the state and be murdered and tortured as is the norm over there.

          1. Not if the opposition to the policies of the religious leadership grows to a large majority of the population. Which is what brought down the Shah, Iran’s religious leaders know this, they’ve seen people power. The goal must be to not undermine the proponents of change by giving getting them labeled as puppets of the Great Satin. Let the discontent follow its full course.

          2. I’ve pointed out again and again and again what it’s like if the situation is reversed, if a US political party or politician or movement is openly supported by outsiders like Putin, they get pillaged by their opponents for accepting such “help”! It’s the same in any country, NO ONE HERE has suggested that I’m wrong about that, but then they ignore the point and say that the US government openly meddling in Iran’s domestic affairs will somehow work in favor of the group, politicians or political party being “helped”!

          3. This whole post is not about “helping” the Iranian protesters at all, it’s about using their situation as a tool to attack Obama and the Democrats, it’s not about Iran, it’s a device to advance the politics in the US that Rand supports.

          4. And what “politics that I support” would that be, other than wanting to see an end to a regime that has been making war on us for almost four decades?

          5. I would elaborate, and started to, but then… what for? Andrew is off in his own fantasy world. I might as well try to convince the Red Pope about the futility of command economies.

          6. And what “politics that I support” would that be, other than wanting to see an end to a regime that has been making war on us for almost four decades?

            You refute my 4:03pm comment and I’ll tell you.

          7. The goal must be to not undermine the proponents of change by giving getting them labeled as puppets of the Great Satin.

            You do realize this can happen regardless of Trump speaking out in support of the protests right?

          8. I’ve pointed out again and again and again what it’s like if the situation is reversed, if a US political party or politician or movement is openly supported by outsiders like Putin, they get pillaged by their opponents for accepting such “help”! It’s the same in any country, NO ONE HERE has suggested that I’m wrong about that

            The Democrats have been tools of Russia for decades and there hasn’t been a lot of blow back over that. There are also a lot of people who cite other country’s meddling on their behalf as giving their cause greater validity. You even did that in this thread.

    2. That is a rather elaborate plot to get sanctions on Iran when Trump could call for them right now based on violations of UN resolutions.

      ves the Iranian Supreme Council a justification for arguing that the protesters are acting as puppets for foreign agents

      This would happen whether or not Trump said anything, as history shows. And the Iranians don’t need any justification to go after protesters, as history shows.

      Are the economic problems in Iran even caused by sanctions?

      You have an interesting point that sanctions could lead to a change in Iranian leadership. Isn’t that in the common folk’s interest?

      1. Certainly Ali Khamenei was always going to claim the protesters were puppets, what Trump did was provide what for many Iranians was proof.

        You have an interesting point that sanctions could lead to a change in Iranian leadership.

        I don’t know where you got that from, sanctions have the opposite effect, creating a foreign bogeyman for everyone in the country to blame for all their troubles, rather than their own governments incompetence and corruption.

        1. They don’t care, Andrew. You are stuck in a time warp. This is 2018, and Iranians have had their fill of the “Great Satan” nonsense.

          1. Don’t be stupid, while Iranians do differentiate between Americans and their government, Iranians do not trust Trump or any previous US administration to any great extent.

          2. You don’t know that. It was certainly the case in 1979, but that was nearly 40 years ago, and the scales tend to drop from one’s eyes after that interval under the boot.

            There was an interview several years ago with some of the men who, as students, took over the American embassy. They were all of the opinion it had been a monumental mistake, and wished they had it to do over again, or rather, not do over again.

            You are several decades behind the times, and are just projecting your own biases on a people you obviously know little about.

    1. Bilwick, my opinions are my own, I don’t give a damn what Democrats or Republicans are preaching. The encouragement to talking over encouragement to confrontation is a product of my more Libertarian thinking vs your Conservative thinking.

      1. You do tend to place a lot of emphasis on what is popular in Europe and defending Obama, which tends to not be very Libertarian =p

        1. On other issues, notably economic issues I’ll disagree with Obama (and with Trump on his anti-free trade policies). Supporting human freedom doesn’t mean going to war with oppressors rather than encouraging peaceful transition through dialog.

          1. “…peaceful transition through dialog.”

            When has this ever occurred anywhere in the history of the species?

          2. When has this ever occurred anywhere in the history of the species?

            What a mind numbingly stupid thing to say, it’s more a case of where hasn’t it occurred!
            Didn’t you guys have an election just over a year ago in which there was a peaceful transition through dialog? We had one a few months ago.

            If you want examples of change from tyranny or conflict to peace through dialog take any case of tyranny or conflict that was turned into peace without total warfare or genocide. FFS you can go down a list of countries of the world and find hundreds of examples in history in which the conflict only ended when people started talking.

          3. What a mind numbingly stupid thing to say, it’s more a case of where hasn’t it occurred!
            Didn’t you guys have an election just over a year ago in which there was a peaceful transition through dialog?

            Is it your fantasy that Iran currently has such system?

          4. Is it your fantasy that Iran currently has such system?
            No, do you actually fantasize that that’s how I see Iran, despite me pointing out the difference between the system it now has and the type of system everyone here would like to see there?

          5. You spoke of going to war with “oppressors”. I assumed that was the kind of system you were talking about. If it wasn’t, your formulation was, shall we say, rather curious.

          6. You spoke of going to war with “oppressors”. I assumed that was the kind of system you were talking about.

            Even then there are plenty of examples of peace through dialog rather than war: The IRA and Britain settle through talking, not through a military victory of one over the other, apartheid ended in South Africa not through a military victory of one faction over the other. The British empire was dissembled without there being need of a fight to the death in most places and there’re plenty of other examples.

          7. Supporting human freedom doesn’t mean going to war with oppressors rather than encouraging peaceful transition through dialog.

            People are freaking out because Trump issued a statement in support of the protesters. That’s dialog.

            The only talk of any military action in regard to Iran is over their nuclear weapons program but have you heard Trump talk this way?

            And just because some people who have an anti-American agenda call Trump anti-free trade, doesn’t make the claim true.

    1. Thanks for that Jon, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza did quite well throughout most of his reign, tragically towards the end he was suffering poor health and his government became more corrupt and repressive – he may simply have not been able to maintain control of those working in government or perhaps there was an element of his nature changing as a result of his health issues. Either way the Iranian revolution was a popular revolution that occurred after protests were violently crushed, reports are contradictory but likely hundreds were killed.

      We can probably agree that a positive change for Iran from here would be the elevation of the elected government above the Supreme Council, that’s what the protesters want. But realistically the West has little leverage over Iranian domestic policies. In my book a peaceful transition would be preferable over another violent revolution, and such a peaceful transition can only happen when the opposing forces within Iran are talking in in a cordial manner, so efforts to increase the animosity between those supporting the Supreme Council and the protesters are unlikely to move things in the desired direction. The attacks on the Iranian Government are especially troubling because the attackers have not been differentiating between the elected government of President Hassan Rouhani and the Supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

      Latest reports are that the protests are dieing down now, with there having been some very large counter protests in support of Ali Khamenei, I suspect this is a sign that the labeling of the protesters by Ali Khamenei as US puppets, helped by Trumps kiss of death, have shifted public opinion back in behind Ali Khamenei.

      1. How do you get the theocratic leaders of Iran to give up their religious mandate from Allah to rule the country?

        Latest reports are that the protests are dieing down now, with there having been some very large counter protests in support of Ali Khamenei

        The pro-regime protests happened before Trump said anything. If The protests have simmered down, the likely reason why is because people don’t want to be killed and have their friends and family kidnapped and tortured to death.

        When trying to figure out which actor’s actions are responsible weigh whether a statement that most Iranians probably didn’t read is greater than death and torture.

        1. How do you get the theocratic leaders of Iran to give up their religious mandate from Allah to rule the country?

          With difficulty and with time, we’re not talking about an hereditary system, the majority of Iranian’s are practicing Muslims, if religious leaders get too out of step with their congregations they lose influence over them. The religious leaders of all successful religions listen to their followers. Ali Khamenei was openly condemned by the protesters, being a religious leader does not make him, his followers and his successors invulnerable to the peoples anger.

          1. The religious leaders of all successful religions listen to their followers.

            So those charged by Allah to control Iran will give up their sacred duty and rights just because some heretics are unhappy about their theocratic rule?

            Ali Khamenei was openly condemned by the protesters, being a religious leader does not make him, his followers and his successors invulnerable to the peoples anger.

            And protesters are not immune from bullets and other forms of violence.

  10. This is what makes your arguments so slippery Andrew…

    Supporting human freedom doesn’t mean going to war with oppressors rather than encouraging peaceful transition through dialog.

    You build your argument on a nice sounding fantasy foundation (appeasement.) Supporting freedom often means exactly that, going to war. Freedom isn’t free. Of course you want to avoid war, but the leading cause of war is weakness. There’s always somebody in the wings looking to exploit weakness.

    if religious leaders get too out of step with their congregations they lose influence over them.

    You’re conflating followers with those that are not. The mullahs maintain control by killing those that are not their followers. Their flock have no problem with that at all. They only modify their behavior for expediant which doesn’t change who they are one whit.

    1. In this discussion we’re talking about a civil war, not a war between nations, civil wars are a shitty deal, the damage takes generations to heal. Your accusation of appeasement is nonsense, I’ve not suggested that the opposition in Iran give up, rather that they’re better off not using violence to achieve change, appeasement is abandoning the fight for the change you want.

      You’re conflating followers with those that are not.

      With the exception of a few non-Shiite Muslims Iranians are all followers of the mullahs. People tearing up pictures of Ali Khamenei during the protests were still devout Shiite Muslims. They just recognize the teachings of Muhammad as their true guide not Ali Khamenei.

      1. “With the exception of a few non-Shiite Muslims Iranians are all followers of the mullahs.”

        Really should have been: “With the exception of a few non-Shiite Muslims Iranians are all followers of Shia Islam.” Muslims recognize that mullahs can get it wrong, they have to to reconcile different mullahs having different interpretations of Islam.

        1. Do you make this stuff up extemporaneously, or do you just do a hop skip and jump through the bird cage liners?

          You make the people into cardboard cutouts. Automatons who react according to rigidly defined programs. It is not so simple, and I have to tell you, your jejune mind-reading of a foreign culture smacks of rote regurgitation of a talking points memo.

          1. Ha Ha, it’s you and the likes of Trump who’s think people are simple cardboard cutouts. You divide the world into goodies and baddies. People are far more subtle and complex than the simple labels you wish to stick on them, hence “mullahs bad”, “protesters good” is idiocy. You are right to some extent though in that people are people, the instincts are the same, it’s just the personalities, situations and culture that differ.

          2. There you go again, assuming you know everything about people you’ve never even met. I gotta’ tell you, the impression you make is not the one you think you are making. It comes off smug, arrogant, and callow.

      2. they’re better off not using violence to achieve change

        Do you really believe that they will achieve change against such a brutal, totalitarian regime, without violence? Really?

        1. The first thing that has to be taken into account about Iran’s current form of government is that it has two major components: the elected politicians and the clergy, both President Rouhani and him predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had strife with Ali Khamenei, and I’ve no doubt that the elected leaders would like to see a rearrangement of the government structure to give elected politicians (themselves) more power. If they have more power, assuming a fair electoral system (the current system is only poor in that the Supreme leader has power over who’s eligible to stand) and greater press freedom the electoral system in Iran would be remarkably democratic.

          So I don’t think there’s a huge gulf between what there is now and a respectable democratic process, the machinery is in place, it just needs rearranging.

          For now most Iranians aren’t pushing for that change, but if the economy continues to struggle and the Supreme Leader gets blamed (Iranians know damn well he’s the one with power) there could easily be a popular coup along the lines that led to the signing of the Magna Carta. King John was supposedly divinely chosen and head of the Anglican Church but he was still forced to relinquish power.

          1. Damn, let my enthusiasm get a head of me, of course Britain was still Catholic at that time and the King, in religious terms, subservient to the Pope.

          2. “So I don’t think there’s a huge gulf between what there is now and a respectable democratic process, the machinery is in place, it just needs rearranging. ”

            I’m sorry but that’s just total garbage. You have no idea whatsoever about violent hardliners.

            That statement is astonishingly ignorant and utterly devoid of a connection to reality.

          3. There are many aspects of the Iranian government that have changed since the revolution, that’s no surprise, there are numerous examples of dictatorships evolving into democracy with little violence, I’ve already given some, the change in Chile from a military dictatorship is another example, Latin America provides many other examples. Iran, as I’ve pointed out, already is half way there with a structurally sound democratic system under the control of the Supreme Leader, when Ali Khamenei dies (he’s 78) who his successor is will be pivotal to Iran’s future, there is a lot of diversity amongst the contenders.

          4. “Iran, as I’ve pointed out, already is half way there with a structurally sound democratic system under the control of the Supreme Leader, when Ali Khamenei dies (he’s 78) who his successor is will be pivotal to Iran’s future, there is a lot of diversity amongst the contenders.”

            What you do not seem to understand Andrew is that just because you say it doesn’t oblige us to believe it. Especially when it’s so much codswallop and we know better.

          5. Iran does have elections but the people who are allowed to run must be approved by the religious leader. The religious leader’s base of support also gets to vote, so it isn’t clear that anything would change.

  11. For $400 million (the amount that Obama sent in illegal, laundered cash) to Iran, we could airdrop 700,000 Glock 19 Gen 5’s, each with three 15 round magazines, to the Iranian people. 31,500,000 rounds. No one’s military wins against that. Not even the U.S. military.

  12. What does it matter to Andrew if Iranians suffer for generations? The answer is a really good argument! Who doesn’t like a good public stoning of infidels?

    I volunteer Andy ambassador for the protesters. We’ll all chip in for your plane ticket.

    1. I thought about commenting last night about the violence of the Iranian Revolution, when Andrew mentioned they’d be better off not using violence. It’s a strange notion that non-violence is better, simply because it isn’t violent. But then I did some research and found the new progressive line is that the Islamic Revolution in 1979 was non-violent. It’s amazing how they get to that revelation. Basically they claim all the street battles, the cinema theater, and other violent acts that killed hundreds were either unrelated or instigated by the government.

      So it seems that the strategy is to play a form of “that’s not what I meant” when it comes to violence. If you point out that the current Iranian regime hangs gays if not just throwing them off high buildings; then they’ll say they don’t support it and they never claimed to support it. If you say Obama gave the Iranian government $400 million; they’ll say it is soft diplomacy that gave hope to the oppressed, even though the money went to the tyrants. They’ll even argue that it is ok that Iran continues to use centrifuges in it nuclear industry, because they are peaceful. And when they are done with all those arguments; they’ll claim the other alternative is all out war between Iran and the US.

      It is all ignorant BS on their part.

      The things is when it was Reagan and the USSR; we were constantly told Reagan would lead us to a shooting war with USSR. They even made a movie that motivated Al Gore to make other movies, but then it was just “The Day After”. But all out war never occurred. However acts of violence did. In the end, all were much better off, especially the Russians; who now can feed all of its people. Life is better for billions of people across the globe than it was living under the USSR and Warsaw Pact.

      1. Non-violence is better where it works. That in a nutshell is the problem with Andrews argument. All his arguments.

        If you simply ignore suffering, everything works out, eventually.

        Tyranny is fine as long as it has no impact on the ‘virtuous’ that don’t have to live in reality.

        When the universe goes through heat death, Andrew’s point will have been proved. (Do I really need a sarc tag.)

        BTW, great comment Leland. I remember the 70s.

        I am struck by how profound Trump was in saying ALL countries should put their own interests first. The globalists would rather you let them run your countries for ya.

        1. If you want to tell people what I’m saying try being honest and quote me rather than paraphrasing to make your point. This especially is offensive:
          If you simply ignore suffering, everything works out, eventually.

          Only an idiot would suggest that the only alternative to violence is to “ignore” a problem. There are numerous examples of negotiations and positive communications leading to solution, even with violent parties like the IRA. It beggars belief that you don’t know and understand that simple fact.

          You’ve stooped to such a level of intellectual dishonesty it’ll be hard to redeem yourself, but here you go, in an earlier comment I said:
          I’ve pointed out again and again and again what it’s like if the situation is reversed, if a US political party or politician or movement is openly supported by outsiders like Putin, they get pillaged (maybe “pilloried” would have been the right word there) by their opponents for accepting such “help”! It’s the same in any country, NO ONE HERE has suggested that I’m wrong about that, but then they ignore the point and say that the US government openly meddling in Iran’s domestic affairs will somehow work in favor of the group, politicians or political party being “helped”!

          Unlike you I apply the word “ignored” correctly.

          That comment directly addresses the topic of this thread.
          Refute my point there, everyone else here has run away, only Leland attempted to address it – by arguing that Iranians don’t distrust the American government and Trump all that much (!!).

          1. There are numerous examples of negotiations and positive communications leading to solution

            Sometimes this means calling out bad actors, like Trump did.

            When communications are all positive and acquiescent, that is appeasement an unlikely to lead to changing the behavior you find distasteful. You need to do is say you don’t like a behavior if you want someone to change it.

        2. I am struck by how profound Trump was in saying ALL countries should put their own interests first. The globalists would rather you let them run your countries for ya.

          I agree with you there, a countries immigration, economic and trade policies are their own business, but my opinion is that:

          1. Countries should not discriminate against any person or group of people legally within their boarders.

          2. Free market economies are better for a country and its people.

          3. Free trade (internationally) is better for a country and its people.

      2. I don’t accept that Reagan deserves much credit for ending the cold war.

        I think it’s more down to a change in the mindset of the Soviet leadership illustrated by the elevation of Gorbachev to the leadership. I’m sure to will recognize that even though the same totalitarian government was in power in the Soviet Union from Stalin to Gorbachev important characteristics of that leadership changed over that half century, in short the use of military force to control Eastern Europe became steadily less acceptable to the Soviet leadership. While brutally crushing opposition was easy at the end of WW2 and ethically acceptable to them in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia 1968, it became unacceptable as an option for them in 1989. Personally I think we saw that same phenomenon at work in the Soviet Union as occurred in the US in the 1960’s that led to the withdrawal from Vietnam. Afghanistan was – as is often said – the Soviets Vietnam, their losses there really hurt the USSR the war was deeply unpopular with the Soviet public which effected bottom up change, their leadership lost the stomach for what could have become a similar mess if they tried to hold onto Eastern Europe.

        1. So, you think that Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope were just lucky, just happened to come along at just the right time to take credit for something that they all stated as one of their political goals? Hokay…

          1. The rapid collapse of the Warsaw Pact was a surprise to everyone, if you can point out the mechanism by which Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope masterminded its happening do so. My opinion is that the factors I mention above combined with the economic failings of socialism were what tipped the balance.

            If the US government wants to see socialism in Cuba collapse be nice to the country. Socialisms failings and the switch in the focus of Cuban’s discontent from foreign powers to their own government and economic system will do the rest.

            As for your line about “political goals”, are you serious? Politicians make countless promises, anyone who makes enough guesses about the future is certain to get lucky a few times.

          2. It was not a surprise to “everyone.” Books have been written about this, Andrew.

            I’ll just point out four: Reagan’s strategy: “We win, they lose;” SDI, and the Soviets’ realization that they wouldn’t be able to match it economically; the (Polish) Pope’s encouragement of Poland and Eastern Europe in general; and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Oh, and number five: Reagan calling it “The Evil Empire,” which got everyone at Foggy Bottom’s panties in a twist, but gave encouragement to the dissidents (as Trump is doing in Iran).

            Before Reagan, Thatcher and the Polish Pope, everyone (including Kissinger) took it as a given that the USSR was there to stay, and we had to accommodate it. They jointly decided to stop doing so. And then it fell. Without a shot.

          3. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

            Interesting point, but consider, if it had been:
            “Mr. Stalin, tear down this wall.”
            or
            “Mr. Khrushchev, tear down this wall.”
            or
            “Mr. Brezhnev, tear down this wall.”
            or
            “Mr. Andropov, tear down this wall.”
            or
            “Mr. Chernenko, tear down this wall.”

            Would the wall have been torn down?

            I followed the discussion over the SDI initiative at the time, from when it was first mentioned to when it died. I thought it was hokum, a load of fanciful nonsense, the launch costs, the difficulty around energy storage, the poor laser efficiency of the time, based on the available technology it all sounded like crap. 30 years later and we’re actually getting to the level of technology at which an SDI system might just be feasible.

            I find it really hard to believe that the Soviets were silly enough to buy into the nonsense.

            I agree that the Soviets were coming to the realization that they were getting further behind economically, but that was a decades long process staring them in the face which they could no longer avoid to recognize.

          4. I’ve been focused on the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, you’re talking about the disintegration of the USSR which happened nearly 3 years later, the former contributed to the latter. Importantly when they lost the Warsaw Pack the West did not suddenly move up to destroy the USSR despite Soviet fears that that would happen.
            If it had happened the Soviets would have pulled together and the USSR would have hung on for a lot longer.

            The USSR disintegrated because (a) socialism doesn’t work and (b) its people no longer felt under a mortal threat.

          5. The rapid collapse of the Warsaw Pact was a surprise to everyone, if you can point out the mechanism by which Reagan, Thatcher and the Pope masterminded its happening do so.

            Scroll up and find Rand’s comment on Lech Walesa. It is still there, waiting for you to read it and perhaps do some study.

        2. I don’t accept that Reagan deserves much credit for ending the cold war.

          Well certainly Robert Onstead deserves a great deal of credit for simply opening a grocery store in Clear Lake and being gracious enough to allow Yeltsin to visit.

  13. [Thursday-morning update]

    Sanctions relief provided by the Obama Administration and its so-called nuclear weapons deal didn’t jump start the Iranian economy as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani promised they would.

    That’s correct, comments from protesters expressed anger that the removal of sanctions hadn’t gotten the economy going as they had been assured they would.

    That is why the protests happened!

    Much Iranian public anger had been redirected from the US and other countries for imposing the sanctions and towards the Clergy for the continued economic slump.

    It’s a fact that Iranian protesters have stated that in the media. So it’s a fact that Obama should be getting credit for the redirection of that anger.

    The author of your link is just falling all over himself to spin reality 180 degrees.

    From the link: 2018’s Iranian public outrage rates as double dismal. In the last nine years the Iranian regime has not moderated, as the Obama Administration contended it would. Rather, the mullah regime has fossilized, dishing out the same violent, repressive, rip-off poison it dished nine years ago.

    In part that is correct, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been in power since 1989, he is a fossil, but there is a big difference between the 2009 and the 2018 protests – the Revolutionary Guard was not pulled out to deal to the protesters – even though the general in charge of the guard expressed enthusiasm to do just that.

    I call that a change.

    From media reports it is obvious that (elected) President Rouhani’s calls for restraint were likely the reason for that restraint.

    1. Something else you’re not considering Andrew… timing. What happened 9 years ago? A new president was elected. Last year, a new president was elected. What happened for 444 of Carter? Reagan didn’t have to do anything and the hostages were released.

      You think the Iranians all see America as the great Satan? They don’t. Many see America as hope. They want the president to notice, say and do. We should not let them down, like Bush did to Georgia.

      1. Is that an attempt to refute the point I keep making that most are choosing to ignore? That not all Iranians distrust America? It’s important to make the distinction between how Iranians see Americans and how they see the US Government, generally while they’re not so anti the American people, the majority distrust the US Government.

        You mention that there’s a new US President every few years, and indeed that should be recognized as significant. If you look very, very, closely at my comments you may just notice that you’re repeating the point that I’ve been making regarding periodic changes in the leadership of the USSR and Iran, and that the nature of those governments also change with changes in leadership. Perhaps that’s where you stumbled across the idea.

        Rest assured that Iranian, like most of the rest of the world (refer to the Pew surveys I’ve referenced) believe Obama more trustworthy than Trump.

        Reagan didn’t have to do anything and the hostages were released.
        If you’re saying that the Iranian Government of the time released the hostages in an attempt to build a better relationship with the new US administeration than they had with the old administration (a lot like Putin trying to develop a better relationship with Trump than the one he had with Obama), I agree.

        1. If you’re saying…

          No, I’m saying they soiled their pants. Reagan, like Trump, was considered a loose cannon. They had no thought of better relations. They were thinking what that cowboy would do with the USMC.

          1. No, I’m saying they soiled their pants.
            You i***t. That’s all I can say, that was not the mood of the time, Reagan was not generally considered a “loose cannon” either at the time of his election or any time afterwards (potentially an aggressive US leader but not a “loose cannon”, Trump holds the crown on that one). I don’t recall him making any significant threats towards the Iranian regime, he chose instead to focus his attacks on Carter, in so doing he avoided further imperiling the hostages and focused the blame on Carter.

          2. Ok. Cowboy then. The point was they turned over the hostages on day 445. Why? Because they knew Reagan was not Carter. This you can not deny.

            Why? Because bad things would happen to them if they didn’t.

            Those same mullahs know Trump is not Obama. They will test him like a substitute teacher, which is to say with attention to the actions they provoke.

            I don’t know what Trump will do. They don’t either. But they do know they want to avoid what might happen. They had no such worries with Obama.

          3. What good was continuing to hold the hostages going to do them?

            4) The hostages were released only after President Reagan was sworn in.
            Ted Koppel described this as the Iranians’ last act of cruelty toward President Carter. Even though the United States and Iran had come to an agreement to free the hostages in December, the Iranians waited literally until the hour President Reagan was sworn in before allowing the plane with the hostages to take off. The Iranians had a deep hatred of Carter and wanted to deny him this last moment of victory as President.

            http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/27/world/ac-six-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-iran-hostage-crisis/index.html

            I think most of the world has worked out that Trump’s bark is worse than his bite – but there’s still the fear that, though his mouth is big and active – he just might do something else even more stupid.

          4. BTW, idiot is not a dirty word. You can say it plainly.

            The mood of the time was that you don’t mess with Reagan. Carter was not as stupid as “they better not call my bluff” Obama, but almost as feckless… although nowhere near as treasonous as Obama. Clinton came in second with missile tech to China.

            They shit their pants. Go ahead and call me stupid again.

          5. Trump’s bark is worse than his bite

            Right up to when he does bite. He is a yapper. It’s something he’s learned works for him because it distracts his adversaries. It’s not my style, although very effective in poker.

            Before Trump is out of office I expect quite a few to get bitten. Unlike his accusers expectation, I expect it to happen with great effect preceded by caution.

            Not because of Trump so much as because people misjudge him as you just have.

        2. the majority distrust the US Government

          I distrust the US Government. That’s got nothing to do with anything.

          Trumps support of the protest does three things. It forces the Mullahs to consider their actions in public. It encourages the protesters. To your point, it tells the people of Iran that we agree with freedom.

          Will the people believe the protesters are American puppets? Some might. So what? They are still going to support their own self interests. In some cases that support will go to the mullahs, in others to the protesters. Mostly they will just keep their heads down.

          Obama by being silent told everybody where he stood and now Trump has done the same. People are not going to change their positions much one way or the other.

          The main effect of taking sides is to encourage that side. It should be followed by actions. Iranians should be bumping into spies with every step. You can be absolutely sure they are with respect to other countries in the region.

        3. “…Reagan was not generally considered a “loose cannon” either at the time of his election or any time afterwards…”

          OMG. Obviously, you weren’t there.

          You just make it up as you go along.

          1. “OMG. Obviously, you weren’t there.”
            I was 18 – 26 during Reagan’s tenure, I’ll stick with “not a loose cannon”, Reagan was nothing like Trump, though he had his moments “bombing starts in 5 minutes”.

            Frankly I think you insult who he was if you’re likening him to Trump.

          2. Then, you either weren’t paying attention, or have a poor memory. The vitriol hurled at Reagan was legion. The only difference is that Reagan didn’t defend himself as forcefully.

          3. He may have lived during the time, but he was probably in New Zealand, and just as clueless of life in the United States then as he is now.

            From none other than the HuffPo:
            Reagan was also regarded as grossly incompetent — by media and GOP establishment hard-losers and spoilers, not Republican voters —and especially dangerous in foreign policy, which, presumably, only elites can understand foreign. Reagan was depicted as some sort of cowboy B-rated-film-star yahoo and loose cannon by the “chattering class” of 1980, one who might be tolerable as a governor, but who was definitely not sophisticated enough to comprehend let alone conduct foreign policy.

          4. So? I agree with Peggy Noonan.

            You may have bought into the leftist propaganda claims that derided Reagan (and have been made of every US president to some degree since then) but I didn’t, Reagan adopted and aggressive militaristic position, which I think had a lot to do with the “loose cannon” claims, but having an aggressive militaristic position is not the definition of a loose cannon. As you no doubt know, it refers to the danger posed by a ton of iron rolling around on the deck of a ship in rolling seas – a loose cannon is unpredictable and prone to causing huge damage to its own team. The damage Trump causes to his own team is plain to see, he has a quick staff turn-over with lots of angry people leaving, that’s nothing like Reagan whose people loved him.

            Trump is no Reagan, no matter how much his flaky fans want to draw some comparison.

          5. Peggy Noonan is a NeverTrumper, so yeah, you agree with her.

            The rest our your comment is simply ridiculous projection.

          6. “The damage Trump causes to his own team is plain to see, he has a quick staff turn-over with lots of angry people leaving, that’s nothing like Reagan whose people loved him.”

            Couldn’t be more wrong. Reagan’s team was marked by constant turnover, as various actors were vilified by the press (James Watt, Don Regan, etc…) or subjected to lawfare by the Democrats – one that jumps to mind is Labor secretary Raymond Donovan, who was indicted and exonerated by a jury, the members of which in interviews stated they could not believe such a flimsy case was ever brought to trial. Donovan was famously quoted, saying: “Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

            It was a constant stream. I remember it so well because I was constantly bombarded by liberal friends to defend “the most lawless administration in history.”

          7. Reagan’s turn over was comparable to other Presidents, it was only the Iran-Contra scandel that caused high turn-over of Reagan’s staff in 1987.
            Compare that to Trump where people are leaving because of Trump.

        4. So an American President speaking out in support of the protesters will cause them to turn against their own interests just because they hate American Presidents so much?

          Are the protesters really all that concerned with a single Trump statement or people in their family being killed, abducted and tortured?

          1. No Wodun, A hated American President will cause protesters to shut up and abandon their cause because being having him on their side makes them look bad to their countrymen.

  14. This especially is offensive: If you simply ignore suffering…

    That means there’s hope for you. It’s suppose to offend and get you thinking. The problem is you’re so good at thinking… right on passed the point without a bit of distraction.

    What point? It doesn’t matter if you’re unwilling to consider it. I suggest you read what everyone else has written and see if you can tell me.

    You might give a lot of attention to Rand’s point about Reagan, Thatcher & the Pope being so lucky, but there’s more.

    Your point that offering support will turn off moderate support is understood here because it totally lacks perspective. Everything has pluses and minuses. The question is which is more to which you only offer a delusional assertion. People here are offering an opposite assertion. This really can’t be resolved by any statement of fact because it’s a future prediction.

    This is where wisdom and experience has to take over. Instead, while people are dying, you offer wishes. “Can’t we all just get along?” Sure, right after we beat the hell out of you and forget what part of the dungeon we through you in.

    DID YOU GET THE PART ABOUT PEOPLE DISAPPEARING AND SOME GETTING KILLED? It’s not about the moderates.

  15. Would the wall have been torn down?

    Again you make an argument where assertion rather than facts prevail. So consider the Cuban missile crisis. Why did the USSR remove the missiles. Something you can’t refute is because we pushed back. Otherwise they still have those missiles or used them.

    So you can’t say the wall would not have come down if we had pushed back earlier. Russia has been fragile since WW2. Even today their economy is still tied to the price of oil.

    1. You need to understand the difference between mild encouragement/politicking (Reagan’s comment about the wall), arm waving and verbal attacks (Trump on the Iranian regime), and very serious brinkmanship (Kennedy over the missiles).

      Each draws a different response because each approach generates different emotions. Reagan was being quite respectful, so Gorbachev wasn’t offended, Trump was attacking verbally without saying anything threatening or of substance, so was just being annoying to the Iranian regime, Kennedy was seriously making a stand and was making it clear that he would back his position up to and including warfare – a scary prospect that forced the Soviets to blink.
      The only blinking Trump causes is a “what the f**k is the moron on about now” type of blink. I use that blink quite a bit these days when watching the news.

      1. People continue to underestimate Trump but many will come around. Trump is a typical NY showman and you really do need to discount much of what he says. The mistake is to discount all of it.

        This year, many people have no idea what he’s accomplished. That’s inline with the way he distracts others to get things quietly done while he’s loudly tweeting something said in an outrageous way.

        You’re suggesting that Trump is making things worse by saying stuff everybody ignores? Which is it? It has an effect or doesn’t?

      2. Andrew – You need to understand that for the most part, we don’t care what you think. We have seen your biases and discount your comments accordingly.

        Don’t lecture us.

  16. Bart and Ken think that Reagan had a reputation as a “loose cannon”, that doesn’t really square with my recollections of Reagan but it has been 30 years since Reagan left office and in that time our memories of that time aren’t going to be perfect, so I thought I should go and watch some Reagan.

    Below is a link to the 1980 Presidential debate between President Carter and then Governor Reagan.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8YxFc_1b_0

    My impression? Reagan came across as a very reasonable, intelligent and thoughtful supply side advocating politician.
    The contrast between Reagan and Trump in their respective debates with their respective styles is stark, Trump looks like a bullying meat-head compared to Reagan.

    At about the 39 minute mark Barbara Walters asks Reagan about the hostage crisis. Did Reagan act to intimidate the Iranian Government, saying things to cause the Iranians to “soil their pants” as Ken suggests Reagan was able to do to intimidate them into releasing the hostages? Nope, Reagan took the sensible course, placing the welfare of the hostages ahead of any bravado.

    If Ken or Bart want to provide video evidence that Reagan was a “loose cannon” I’ll look at it, but for now I’m satisfied that my recollections of Reagan and his style are more accurate than Bart’s and Ken’s.

    1. You can’t just look at some old clippings and get an idea of the undercurrents of the time. The world has been regressing to the mean as mass commerce, wars, and communications technology have bridged the gap between the nobility and the commoners.

      I recall a quote from our history books in high school, though I do not recall the author, who said (paraphrasing from memory of long ago) that after WWI, “you cannot imagine how the world has become coarsened and barbarized as a result of the horrors of the war.”

      Some years ago, Hollywood made a movie called “The Patriot”, starring Mel Gibson as the protagonist, and Jason Isaacs portrayed the baddest of the bad British cavalrymen, modeled upon Sir Banastre Tarleton, one of the Brit’s most effective field commanders during the American Revolution. His character in the movie engaged in atrocities such as locking a congregation in a church, and burning it to the ground.

      The city of Liverpool sent a strong letter of protest to the studio for besmirching the character of one of its leading citizens and a Member of Parliament, noting that Tarleton was never accused of such horrific acts. The studio replied that modern day audiences would shrug off the acts in which Tarleton did engage, and they needed to protray a crime that would shock them as much as his actual behavior shocked the people of the time.

      That dynamic has only accelerated in the developed world since. Which is to say, you cannot just look at a clip from 40 years ago, and grok the undercurrents and attitudes of the time. It was a more genteel era. Trump would absolutely have shocked and alienated that audience to the core. But, the level of animosity towards Reagan was extreme for the time, and the enmity he received was no less than Trump receives today.

      1. There was plenty of crap fired at Reagan as with all recent Presidents, and sure, the accusation of “loose cannon” was there, but my recollection of how he came through it all is well represented by a cartoon (possible in Time Magazine) from the time of him sitting on a stool with the wall behind him plastered with the garbage that had been thrown at him, he though was untouched.

        1. I’m not seeing anything stick to Trump, either. It’s his wild-eyed detractors who seem to have formed circular firing squads, without first even checking to see if he was inside the ring.

      2. You can’t just look at some old clippings and get an idea of the undercurrents of the time.

        But have you seen any evidence that Andrew does anything than what you so eloquently just described?

        1. Liberals are very good at this. They seem to bank articles that support their POV, and inundate you with them in a Gish Gallop that nobody has time to refute in detail. It works, because people unfamiliar with the topic have only the material they present to go by.

          And, that is how the sausage we commonly view as history gets made. Those of us who were actually there, and saw the outrageous opposition and ridicule to which Reagan, Thatcher, et al. were subjected, and who know that they were sine qua non to the defeat of Communism, cannot explain it to the people who were not.

          We have other cares and worries, and do not have the time to refute in detail the juggernaut of misinformation from those who promulgate their own fantasized versions of history.

  17. [Thursday morning update]
    Yup. As with the Soviet Union in 1981, there’s a new sheriff in town.

    Sheriff? Reagan built a terrific working relationship with Gorbachev, with much trust and mutual respect, as he did with so many people across both politics and the world. Reagan fought for trade agreements like NAFTA, Trump just wants to rip them up.

    Reagan was a gentleman, Trump is all about division and demeaning people.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1988-06-02/news/mn-5847_1_president-reagan

    1. Reagan fought for trade agreements like NAFTA, Trump just wants to rip them up.

      Reagan fought countries that were dumping (Japan, China, others) on the US to get market share to destroy our industries. That’s substance identical to Trump.

  18. Ronald Reagan was widely eulogized for having won the cold war, liberated Eastern Europe and pulled the plug on the Soviet Union. Margaret Thatcher, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Charles Krauthammer and other notables offered variations of The Economist‘s cover headline: “The Man Who Beat Communism.”

    Actually, Jack F. Matlock Jr. writes in Reagan and Gorbachev, it was “not so simple.” He should know. A veteran foreign service officer and respected expert on the Soviet Union, he reached the pinnacle of his career under Reagan, serving first as the White House’s senior coordinator of policy toward the Soviet Union, then as ambassador to Moscow. In both the title of his memoir and the story it tells, he gives co-star billing to Mikhail Gorbachev.

    Reagan himself went even farther. Asked at a press conference in Moscow in 1988, his last year in office, about the role he played in the great drama of the late 20th century, he described himself essentially as a supporting actor. “Mr. Gorbachev,” he said, “deserves most of the credit, as the leader of this country.”

    This quotation was much cited at the time as an example of Reagan’s graciousness, tact and self-deprecation. But Matlock’s book bears out his former boss’s judgment. The 40th president of the United States emerges here not as a geopolitical visionary who jettisoned the supposedly accommodationist policies of containment and detente, but as an archpragmatist and operational optimist who adjusted his own attitudes and conduct in order to encourage a new kind of Kremlin leader.

    https://www.brookings.edu/articles/reagan-and-gorbachev-shutting-the-cold-war-down/

    Read the whole thing.

          1. Try this for size:
            https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-saltounebin/reagan-gorbachev-letters_b_2750591.html

            the private and mostly top-secret correspondence between Reagan and Gorbachev forced the two leaders to continue to talk, debate, argue, disagree, but also offer proposals even when they thought no agreement would be possible. Both Reagan and Gorbachev recognized that change was coming, and both wanted to be on the right side of history. But they needed to find a way to overcome forty years of Cold War ideology. They needed to find a way to trust each other. It was this trust, established through twelve detailed and frank letters that provided the basis for their first meeting in Geneva, in November 1985, just eight months after Gorbachev came to power.

          2. The private and mostly top-secret correspondence between Obama and the Ayatollah forced the two leaders to continue to talk, debate, argue, disagree, but also offer proposals even when they thought no agreement would be possible. They both recognized that change was coming, and both wanted to be on the right side of history. But they needed to find a way to overcome forty years of Cold War ideology. They needed to find a way to trust each other. It was this trust, established through frankness, that provided the basis for the general acceptability that Iran would obtain nuclear weapons, and that it’s long-established commitment to the destruction of Israel would also realize general acceptance as part of being on the right side of history.

          3. Great. Now you’re quoting the Huffington Post.

            You need to learn that words are infinitely malleable, and that reading accounts after the fact puts you at the mercy of the ideology of the writer.

          4. Great. Now you’re quoting the Huffington Post.

            You need to learn that words are infinitely malleable, and that reading accounts after the fact puts you at the mercy of the ideology of the writer.

            Great Line, mind if I fire it at Leland?

          5. You can try, Andrew; but it would be as dishonest as your other comments and full of fallacy. Nothing Bart said was incorrect. You were quoting HuffPo. And you are subject to the ideology of the writer.

            I linked to HuffPo, because you have a choice Andrew; either you accept some form of citation or you have to admit (whether in words or deeds) that providing you citation is useless. So far, you have shown it to useless. You simply dismiss whatever doesn’t agree with your foolish notions of the world outside New Zealand. It’s pointless debating you, because you are incapable of learning or being honest in the discussion.

            Bart doesn’t need to provide evidence to support his argument. Most everyone here, except you, supports Bart’s argument that Reagan was derided as a loose cannon. In terms of persuasion, Bart is successful, and you, Andrew, are not.

          6. The Huffpost article you referred to was simply one opinion against another.
            I haven’t denied that Reagan was derided as a loose cannon, my contention is that he wasn’t generally recognized as such and that those labeling him that way were doing so more due to his support of a substantial increase in military spending than as an accurate portrayal of his true nature. In 8 years Reagan never sunk as low as Trump has in public approval just him first year and what Reagan was struggling in the polls it had everything to do with an at times struggling economy due to oil prices in his first term and the Iran-Contra scandal in his second term.
            Compare that to Trump whose remarkably high disapproval ratings are happening despite a booming economy. Reagan was a world of sense and stability compared to the erratic, unpredictable and narcissistic Trump.

          7. All those here trying to talk up claims of Reagan as a loose cannon are just trying to talk down the charge that Trump is exceptionally the loose cannon, talk down Reagan’s reputation so that a comparison can be drawn with Trump in an attempt to suggest Trump is on a similar level to the Great man. The people not commenting and supporting your contention are those not so keen on Trump and that see him without your rose tinted glasses.

          8. I haven’t denied that Reagan was derided as a loose cannon,

            You did, but I’m tired of playing the game with you. There is a scroll on everyone’s computer where they can see you make exactly that claim.

            my contention is that he wasn’t generally recognized as such and that those labeling him that way were doing so more due to his support of a substantial increase in military spending than as an accurate portrayal of his true nature.

            And that’s the entire point in relation to Trump. Trump is neither a loose cannon or senile (something others also claimed of Reagan or rather Alzheimer while in office). People that use such labels, like yourself, are doing so to paint a picture that is not (let me quote you here): “as an accurate portrayal of his true nature.”

            Anyway. You succeeded and discussing Trump rather than Obama, who gave billions to the mullahs of Iran, kept the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq going for nearly his entire 8 years, likely can’t step foot in Egypt after supporting the failed coup of the Muslim Brotherhood, left a power gap in Libya that has a created a nation with real slavery, and did nothing while ISIS spread. But hey, we talked about Trump, who in just 1 year destroyed ISIS.

          9. You did, .

            Nope, I drew the line at “generally recognized.

            Reagan was smeared with the term, but it didn’t stick, Trump owns the term, he can’t help himself, every time he lets loose with a tirade against friend or enemy with his very un-presidential style he owns it more.

            who in just 1 year destroyed ISIS.

            ISIS had been losing territory since October 2014. Attributing their defeat to the “Stable Genius” insults the huge range of forces and nations who contributed.

          10. ISIS was still growing into 2015. But more to the point; it didn’t exist prior to 2008. Other countries may have done quite a bit in fighting ISIS, but Obama didn’t. Obama (with direction from Hillary) did #REKT Libya, and I doubt Obama will be welcome in Egypt anytime soon. Fact is, Obama meddled in the Middle East and left it worst off. Bush did too. Unless you were an Iranian Mullah; Obama made your life worse if you lived in the Middle East.

  19. Reagan was not generally considered a “loose cannon” either at the time of his election or any time afterwards (potentially an aggressive US leader but not a “loose cannon”,

    Andrew, that simply is not true. Many, many, many news outlets considered Reagan a loose cannon. Stern and Der Spiegel were horrified of Reagan.

    On this you are absolutely wrong.

    1. Jon, I’m talking about the opinions of the people, not of news outlets keen on creating stories and controversy.
      Also consider, A large part of why Trump is seen as a loose cannon is his unsavory attacks and impromptu counter attacks on his critics, Reagan was not like that, he was much more into building bridges both within government and around the world including with the Soviets.

      I have to admit that there is a difference between then and now; Reagan’s image internationally may have been better than it was in America because the more issues based international media would have covered substance over gossipy slurs, in the US you got the crap as well, today things are different, we get all the US domestic crap dumped on us!

      1. Its illustrative that despite all the people pointing out how wrong Andrew is about Reagan’s depiction of being a loose cannon, and all the links and citations; he still won’t simply admit being wrong.

        Yet how many times does Andrew demand you read his citations and simply give a Yes/No or True/False answer?

        Andrew’s a dishonest hypocrite.

        1. “Yet how many times does Andrew demand you read his citations and simply give a Yes/No or True/False answer?”

          Never, I’ve never demanded a “Yes/No or True/False” answer.

          1. Andrew today: Never, I’ve never demanded a “Yes/No or True/False” answer.

            Andrew yesterday: Weak reply. Is it true of not? Matlock was there with Reagan, it’s his book.

            Now, I can tack on liar to the hypocrite charge.

        2. In fact I invite people to provide counter evidence:
          If Ken or Bart want to provide video evidence that Reagan was a “loose cannon” I’ll look at it, but for now I’m satisfied that my recollections of Reagan and his style are more accurate than Bart’s and Ken’s.

          1. It’s not my job to do your legwork for you. There are copious sources. You simply don’t look at them, because you have your own preferred sources. Under those circumstances, it is a waste of my time to go hunting for them, and distill them into an opposing argument. I don’t have that time to waste.

          2. Your comment to Ken and Bart is dishonest. Neither of them claimed Reagan was a loose cannon. They claimed others derided Reagan as a loose cannon, and I, Rand, Ken, Bart, and most recently Jon have all said made similar comments. Again, you may have lived during the Reagan Presidency, but you didn’t observe it from here in the US.

            It is too late to claim ignorance, because you have been corrected so many times with citation. Andrew, you are simply a dishonest hack liar.

          3. It’s not my argument. It’s reality. It is your job to ensure that you are informed. You prefer to reinforce your biases, and eschew sources that would tend to contradict them.

  20. It is rather amazing that Obama swooped in to save Cuba just as they were about to fall and also swept in just in time to prop up the Iranian theocracy.

    Rather unfortunate if he really was concerned with America and our values but impeccable timing if he believes in critical theory.

    1. People have been saying Cuba is about to fall for over 40 years, even with the death of Castro I haven’t seen the chances of the fall increase, but there have been positive reforms, in February 2013, Raúl Castro, current Cuban President, announced his resignation for 2018, that will end his current 5-year term, and hopes to implement permanent term limits for future Cuban Presidents, The private sector in Cuba has been encouraged to grow because the government is starting to understand that socialism doesn’t work. They probably could have worked that out 20 or 30 years ago except that they thought their economic problems were due to the US embargo. Just as in Iran where the lifting of sanctions has led to the people there understanding that their economic problems are due to their own government, not foreign powers.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Cuba#Post-Fidel_reforms

      1. I see you reading minds again Andrew. So the Iranian’s were too stupid to understand their economic problems were due to their own govt? Now you are asserting the same thing about the Cubans?

        In both cases totally ignoring that many of those people remember the life they had before their revolutions.

        I, along with many supporters, wish Trump would deal with his critics the way Reagan did, but he doesn’t. Reagan could tell a joke. Trump thinks he can tell a joke. But substantively they are very much alike. I can definitely see Trump firing all air traffic controller, for instance.

        We have a population so dumbed down by public education, that cracking down on open sedition and treason could bring down this country. War was the solution for Lincoln. We should only have had to do it once, but may have to do it again to reinforce the lesson.

        This is what happens when the can is continually kicked down the road. Then the media goes nuts when a new sheriff actually does the job a leader has to. Reagan was such a leader. Neither Bush, father or son, was.Trump could be as only time will tell.

        I was in college during Reagan and don’t need the phrases I use explained to me. It’s a form of ad hominem and doesn’t persuade.

        1. But substantively they are very much alike.

          Obviously I strongly disagree with that.

          I’d go so far as to say in terms of personality they couldn’t be more different.

          Trump is a narcissist, his favorite word is “I”, Trump is extremely divisive whereas Reagan was much more a team player, well regarded by the people close to him because he was so generous in his genuine praise of his colleagues (rather than praising himself, which he never did), Reagan was also good at getting along on a personal basis with those across the political divide. Reagan had the support and admiration of other world leaders, Thatcher, Kohl and others, Trumps only fan amongst world leaders is Benjamin Netanyahu.

          1. I’d go so far as to say in terms of personality they couldn’t be more different.

            Duh. That’s style. What part of substance do you not understand?

            Trump is extremely divisive

            Yep, separating the good guys from the bad guys and exposing many of the bad guys that were pretending to be good guys.

            Trumps only fan amongst world leaders is Benjamin Netanyahu

            Many world ‘leaders’ are part of Hillary’s criminal conspiracy. What part of globalist do you not understand? Leaders that care about the survival of their own country (Nigel Farage) are fans of Trump.

            Bad guys that hate Trump (Merkel) are an endorsement.

          2. Thatcher and Kohl were ideological soulmates. Of course he had their support and admiration, which was returned in kind.

            Having detractors among one’s ideological opponents is not evidence of divisiveness.

          3. So who are Trump’s ideological soul mates, or are you going to run with the theory that he and Netanyahu are the last best hope for the right amongst the heads of states?

          4. But he and Netanhayu are best guidance for what’s currently happening in the Middle East.
            I disagree, if I want a Judge or adviser for any dispute I’m not going to select someone who’s made it clear that they’ve got an interest in seeing that the judgment goes in favors their interests – unless I’m also seeking a biased judgment..

          5. Andrew, I can see why you wouldn’t want a judge with actual experience of the history. That so gets in the way of a good argument.

            Israel became a nation because nobody else lived there. It was a dump. It was made livable by the Jews. So naturally those in the area that hated Jews couldn’t have that.

            If Israelis moved enmasse to some other unlivable desert it would immediately be followed by Jew haters claiming it to be their ancestral home. As said in Fiddler on the roof, “I know we are your chosen people, but couldn’t you choose someone else every once in awhile?”

            There’s no such thing as unbiased judgement. The Jew haters only claim Jerusalem because they hate Jews. It’s envy. Mexicans are claiming Sacramento for the same reason and just as much credence.

          6. I said unlivable, not uninhabited. If you don’t understand I will explain. When the first crew lands on mars; Mars will no longer be uninhabited. But only after much work will it be livable.

            In America, there was a time when most Americans lived on the east coast with pockets of tribes in the interior. It was inhabited, but otherwise unlivable. The settlers went west, but not all that far. Through hard work they made the land livable. Then the lawyers that never left the east coast stole it from them and they had to move farther west and do the same thing over again.

            Land is owned when it is claimed and the claim is successfully defended. Before that it doesn’t belong to the inhabitants. It is defense that defines ownership. If you don’t defend it, you don’t own it.

            That is now true again in America where the govt. now owns everything and people with title only own part of their property and can even lose that on a govt. whim (occasionally winning in court, but often not.)

            A few goatherds did not own Israel before the UK pushed their decision to reestablish Israel. Israel then confirmed their ownership by defending their claim.

          7. Technically I did say nobody lived there, but meant it was mostly uninhabited. There was no Palestine state. When Israel claimed the land Jordanian refugees moved in for the purpose of disputing Israels claim. Israel, like America is filled with soft hearted people that will lose their home if they don’t recognize that there is no possible compromise.

            Defend it or lose it. Those are the only choices.

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