In his latest column for the Weekly Standard, super-hawk Bill Kristol addresses President Obama’s recent Persian New Year message to the Iran’s leaders and its people, calling it a “message of weakness.” He is upset that Obama didn’t use the words “liberty,” “freedom,” “democracy,” or “human rights” and chastises Obama for referring to Iran as the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” claiming that doing so means that Obama is “kowtowing” to Iran’s leaders.
On Fox News Sunday this morning, Kristol picked up where he left off in his column and continued to whine about Obama’s move, calling it “a weak and embarrassing statement by the President of the United States.” Fox News’s Brit Hume piled on, complaining that it “appears” that the U.S. has now “joined the rest of the world and practicing the diplomacy of talk.” Watch it:
It is sad to see that Kristol hasn’t learned from any of the Bush administration’s foreign policy mistakes. He still appears to be happily wedded to neoconservatism, the results of which are on full display, most notably in Iraq, where after six years of war, Americans and Iraqis are still dying because of the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in American history.
But also, Kristol’s vision is what has contributed to where we are with Iran today — a bigger, more powerful player in the region that is closer to a nuclear weapons program. Yet as Triti Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, points out, rhetoric preferred by Kristol actually served to help Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that Obama’s “historic” approach “now may ‘un-help‘” him. Carnegie Endowment expert Karim Sadjadpour agrees:
“What this message does is, it puts the hard-liners in a difficult position, because where the Bush administration united disparate Iranian political leaders against a common threat, what Obama is doing is accentuating the cleavages in Iran,” Mr. Sadjadpour said. “It makes the hard-liners look increasingly like they are the impediment.”
Other experts have “applauded” Obama’s move, and called it “very significant.” The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana said it was “very constructive.” Thus, the only thing that is “embarrassing” in this instance is the fact that Bill Kristol keeps trying to play 2002 all over again.