Putting Paid to Appeasement
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
That was quick. The first positive consequence of the slaying of Iran’s terror master, General Soleimani, came with the announcement Sunday by Iran that it is withdrawing from the nuclear deal it struck with the Obama administration. It puts paid to a pact that was opposed “overwhelmingly,” as the New York Times put it, by our own Congress. President Obama used the United Nations to try to bind the U.S. even though he was aware that the Congress was against it.
Tehran’s announcement Sunday puts the lie to any illusion that it had peaceable intentions. Insofar as America is concerned, the articles of appeasement, as we tend to call the Iran deal, had been a dead letter since 2016. That’s when the 30 states that decided our election chose, in Donald Trump, the candidate who vowed to withdraw from the pact. Criticism of the deal focused on details — the transfer to Iran of vast sums, say, or the lack of a permanent prohibition on an Iranian A-bomb.
While we share such concerns, our own primary objection has been to America entering into any contract with the ayatollahs who run the Iranian regime. They are hostile to America, to Jews, and to Israel and committed by their own constitution to jihad. Yet from whom do the ayatollahs have a mandate? Better, we’ve felt, to hold out for a democratic government that has standing to bind the Persian people, who have no reason to — and don’t — share the hostility of the ruling camarilla.
Iran, incidentally, isn’t the only country where we have hewn to this principle. Over the lack of standing of the Polish communist government, we opposed President Reagan treating with President Jaruzelski. When in 1990, a freely elected president, Lech Walesa, finally gained office, the symbols of power were handed to him not by Jaruzelski but by the president of the free Polish government that, since World War II, had been operating in exile from a townhouse at London. What a moving moment.
Until such a moment obtains in Iran, we fail to see the logic of treating with the ayatollahs. The apologists for Mr. Obama’s appeasement of the Iranians like to speak of dealing with the world as it is. “The World As It Is” is even the title of the memoir of Mr. Obama’s famed foreign policy penman, Ben Rhodes, who sold the Iran deal by palming off on the public conclusions that even the Times, in a devastating profile, suggested were “misleading” and “false.”
Mr. Rhodes is out with a column that runs in the Atlantic under the headline “An Extraordinarily Dangerous Moment.” It suggests that Mr. Trump, in opposing the appeasement of Iran, “simply wanted to destroy anything that Obama built” and to “satiate right-wing supporters who had their own reasons” for opposing the deal. What, though, might account for, say, Israel’s opposition, which was completely bipartisan in the Jewish state that is so often the target of the Iranian threats?
Such threats are being heard again this week, when, according to the Agence France-Presse, a former head of the Revolutionary Guards is threatening that Iran would react to any attack from America by turning Haifa and Tel Aviv “to dust.” Follow that logic. The truth is that the Iranian regime is animated by the basest of hatreds against Israel and America. Yet when we finally have an administration prepared to act, the Democrats direct their ire at their own government.