Iran -- The BUSH Doctrine Is Still Working

George Bush insisted over and over that establishing a functioning, full scale democracy in Iraq in the middle of the Muslim world would have far reaching, highly beneficial effects.  He made advocacy of democracy in the Middle East a central cause of his administration.  For this he was attacked, lambasted, and ridiculed by both Left and Right.

But this Bush doctrine is still working to transform the Islamic world.  Recent elections in Lebanon resulted in a slight increase in the majority for the pro-Western coalition there that first won in 2005, and quickly chased the Syrian army out of the country.  Iran had heavily financed the Hezbollah coalition to retake the country for   Muslim extremism, but the effort failed.  In recent elections in Kuwait, theocratic Islamist extremists fared even more poorly, with the people choosing secular parties and even voting women into the governing legislature.

In the last election in Pakistan, voters again rejected the theocrat extremists and chose secular rulers instead.  Voters in Iraq have increasingly done the same as well.

Absent democratic elections, the roughly 10% of the public in Middle Eastern, Islamic countries willing to shoot their way into power in the name of Allah seems dominant.  Actual elections reveal them for the small extremist factions they are.  Bush was right after all.

So where do you think the Iranian people got the idea they were entitled to an honest election?  Maybe from watching their Shia brothers enjoying real democracy in neighboring Iraq?  The elections going on in previously backward Afghanistan to their east probably had an effect too..

President Obama has been slow to get ahead of developments in Iran because he has been focused on maintaining good relations with the dictators currently in power, so he can negotiate a deal with them over nuclear weapons.  That is foreign policy based on fantasy, as there is no reliable deal on that issue remotely in prospect.  Obama finally issued an adequate statement on Saturday, but it was not nearly as strong as what French President Nicholas Sarkozy and others in Europe have been saying. (What a reversal).

This episode has revealed a fundamental problem in the Obama Administration’s foreign policy – it is weak on human rights, once the central focus of liberal foreign policy.  It is more like Nixonian realpolitick in its willingness to negotiate deals with ruling dictatorships from Iran to Russia to China to Venezuela, even apparently North Korea, which has openly scorned and humiliated Obama in response.

The Supreme Ruler in Iran, Ayatollah Khamanei, has also already scorned Obama, saying in recent days that the extremist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad most closely reflects his own views.  Yet the Obama/Clinton State Department is still saying that it is ready to proceed with negotiations with the now discredited mullah regime, which only lends it legitimacy in the midst of the current crisis.  Negotiations with these committed mass murderers can only sell out Israeli security in return for a worthless piece of paper that will only mean political talking points for the Obama regime.

Obama and his spokesmen in the Democrat party controlled media have even tried to take credit for the resurgence of Western liberalism and democracy in the Middle East, based on his June 4 speech in Cairo.  But the democratic tsunami now remaking the Middle East started years before that speech, which actually said nothing new of significance.

The recent developments in Iran reveal that the right American foreign policy focus for that country is now regime change, not negotiations with the dictators whose death the Iranian people are now openly calling for from the rooftops.  The regime has now been exposed as hopelessly weak, and its fall would produce an extremely beneficial sea change in the now intractably dangerous Middle East, as the Iranian mullahs have been the main force promoting continued Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

No one is calling for America to barge into the delicate Iranian situation, militarily or otherwise.  But a gas embargo would greatly weaken the regime’s military capabilities, and there are other opportunities for us to aid revolutionary forces, including withholding negotiations from the now discredited Iranian regime.

Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush.