Iran’s “Smiley Campaign” and Why It Matters

“I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles.’

So says Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s responding to the ‘smiley campaign’ of Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani. Last week at the United Nations, Rouhani delivered a conciliatory speech in which he repeated Iran’s official position that it has no intention of building a nuclear weapon and declared his readiness for new negotiations with the West.

After decades of the Iranian regime threatening the United States with death and destruction, along with Israel, and demonstrating that threat in practice through being the # 1 state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, we’re now supposed to believe all is suddenly well. Obama believes the new Iranian dictator, and Obama can’t be wrong, can he?

The real question here is: Why would the Iranian government wish to change? Perhaps the Iranian people are pressuring the government, but the people have no say in the Iranian government. It’s a religious dictatorship, and a totalitarian one at that. So this isn’t coming from the people.

It’s not coming from economic sanctions, either. Economic sanctions don’t work. Politicians in democratic nations like them, because it makes them look like they’re tough; but they matter little to dictators. Sanctions are designed to put the heat on the government in charge. But that’s projecting American experiences onto those of a totalitarian country.

If the dictators don’t care about the rights of their own people to start with, why will they suddenly yield to the people when economic pressures mount? It’s naïve to assume that ayatollahs, fascists and other types of dictators care about such things as the well-being of the people. If they did, they wouldn’t be dictators in the first place.

So what other reasons does the Iranian regime have to change? Diplomatic pressure from the United States, with the threat of force? You’ve got to be kidding. The last two American presidents, particularly the current one, have done more to appease Iran than anything else.

George W. Bush called Islam a ‘religion of peace’ only days after 9/11, the worst and most explicit Islamic attack on western civilization in human history. Bush proceeded to declare war on his father’s personal enemy, Iraq, while leaving Iraq’s worst and most dangerous enemy, Iran, the top sponsor of Islamic-based terrorism, intact and stronger than ever.

Barack Obama’s sympathy towards Islamic religion is well-known. In his recent attempt to involve the United States militarily against the Syrian dictatorship, we would have been helping the same al Qaeda groups who masterminded 9/11. With such a man in command of the United States military, the Iranian dictators surely know they have little to fear from the United States, not now or in the foreseeable future.

The reason Netanyahu’s skepticism rings so true is that the Iranian regime has no reason to change its stance. This lends credibility to Netanyahu’s theory that this ‘smiley campaign’ is all a bunch of cynical public relations which the United States government can be counted on to buy. While it’s always possible that Iran is not as close to nuclear weapons as we may fear, there’s absolutely no question they will do everything in their power to acquire them.

We live in an era of wishful thinking, an era for which a ludicrous ‘smiley campaign’ is fitting. It’s true domestically, as well. Medical care without cost; economic growth without a private economy; a federal budget with trillions in debt growing by the minute. Our leaders reflect this widespread, brain-dead approach to human relations and potentially life-or-death issues. Ultimately, I blame the mainstream of the people for their refusal to think and assert themselves. How I long for a leader like Netanyahu, but first you’d need a people who would elect him.

Iran matters because the Middle East matters. This is not global altruism; it’s self-preservation. If you don’t want massive gas shortages, or gas prices triple what they are now, then you had better hope the United States government takes on a foreign policy more like that of Benjamin Netanyahu’s.


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