July 10/09. Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had reason to feel good about himself this
week. Less than a month after he secured his hold on power for another four
years by rigging the presidential elections, Ahmadinejad felt comfortable
addressing his subjugated nation as its rightful dictator. So in a chilling
televised performance on Tuesday, he triumphantly declared the stolen June
12 poll the "freest" and the "healthiest" elections in the world and
promised they would act as a harbinger for Islamic revolution worldwide.
accomplishments these past few weeks have been vast and unmistakable. By
securing the unconditional support of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for his power
grab, Ahmadinejad killed three birds with one stone. He ensured that the
clerical hierarchy in Qom — which is dependent on Khamenei for its financial
stability — acquiesced to his authority. He expanded the Revolutionary
Guards Corps' control over the country by making them the indispensible
guardians of the revolution. And he effectively transformed Khamenei from
the "supreme leader" into a creature of Ahmadinejad's will. The moment that
Khamenei gave Ahmadinejad his full support and gave a green light to the
Revolutionary Guards to repress the protesters, Khamenei tied his own fate
to that of his president.
This means that today
Ahmadinejad is completely free to maintain and escalate his policy of
international brinksmanship on all levels. From Iran's race towards nuclear
capabilities, to its efforts to destabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, to its
support for Hizbullah and Hamas, to its support for anti-American regimes in
Latin America and its cultivation of terror networks in the Western
Hemisphere, to its strategic proliferation alliance with North Korea,
Ahmadinejad's continued reign means that the world can expect expanded
Iranian activity on all these fronts.
In the meantime, the
rest of the world's response to events in Iran has been discouraging. The
G8's decision Wednesday to wait until late September to even consider
stronger sanctions against Iran means that at a minimum Ahmadinejad has
another three months to enrich uranium without worry. And given that US
President Barack Obama is on record supporting pursuing negotiations with
Iran until at least January 2010, it is hard to imagine that the
international community will take any concerted action against Iran in the
As he moves forward,
no doubt Ahmadinejad takes heart from the supine (laid-back, unwilling)
US response to North Korea's July 4 latest missile launches.
In the face of all of
this, the Obama administration has been disturbingly timid. The White
House's most consistent response to North Korea's belligerent moves has been
to ignore them and hope North Korea decides to behave itself.
meekness towards Iran, the G8 leaders responded to Pyongyang's most recent
provocations with an announcement that they would like to become friends
with Kim Jung Il. As Obama put it, "It's very important for the world
community to speak to countries like Iran and North Korea and encourage them
to take a path that does not result in a nuclear arms race in places like
the Middle East."
In the rest of the
article Caroline talks about overthrowing these two dictatorships.
As for Iran, as Gabriel Schoenfeld
wrote last month in the Wall Street Journal, due to the gutting of the CIA's
capacity to conduct covert political warfare during the 1970s, today the US
lacks the capability to assist Iranian regime opponents in their efforts to
overthrow the mullocracy. As Schoenfeld put it, "the US appears utterly
powerless to influence the course of events."
Schoenfeld urged the US to move
swiftly to rebuild its covert political operations capacity. While this
certainly makes sense, in truth, the US doesn't need to build up much of a
capacity to topple either the regime in Pyongyang or the regime in Teheran.