It was only a few days ago that I took note of the sorry Politifact people for jumping on Marco Rubio for supposedly distorting the role Ronald Reagan played in the denouement of the Iranian hostage crisis back in January 1981, and now Vox has weighed in also with the purpose of disputing Rubio and denigrating Ronaldus Magnus.
Except that Vox makes a total botch of it. Here’s the lede of Vox’s bollix:
The story goes that on the day of his inauguration, in January 1981, President Reagan convinced the Iranian regime to free the American Embassy hostages more or less just by glaring harshly in the direction of Tehran, which quailed in the face of his unyielding toughness and released the Americans immediately.
Actually, nobody tells the story that way, but never mind.
According to this appealing version of recent history, Iran had kept the hostages during the Carter administration because they knew Carter was “weak,” but they so feared Reagan’s red-blooded American resolve that they acquiesced the second he was sworn into office. The moral of the story, therefore, is that negotiating with Iran or any of America’s enemies is a sign of harmful weakness, whereas refusal to negotiate shows Reagan-like strength that will protect Americans. . .
The hostages were released in exchange for sizable concessions from the United States — exactly the sort of process they deride as weak — and not because Ronald Reagan was a tough and scary gentleman whose mere presence in the Oval Office panicked Khomeini into capitulating.
But then later in the story, Vox admits this:
Indeed, if Reagan did have an effect on the hostages’ release, it was to make the Iranians more invested in Carter’s negotiations. On the campaign trail, Reagan insisted that he would never negotiate with Tehran. The Iranians thus believed, perhaps correctly, that making a deal with Carter would be the best way to ensure that they benefited from releasing the hostages.
According to [Mark] Bowden, Reagan ended up becoming “bad cop” to Carter’s “good cop” — a way to force the Iranians to negotiate in good faith by claiming that a deal had to be done before Carter left office.
So in other words . . .
Here’s a simple thought experiment for the vacuous Voxers: If Carter had been re-elected, anyone think the Iranians would have negotiated their release by January 20, 1981? You’d think a single viewing of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence would suggest some simple lessons to the Voxers, but they seem to suffer from the widespread pox called liberalism.
I repeat, once again, what the Washington Post editorial page (!!) had to say about the matter on January 21, 1981:
“Who doubts that among Iran’s reasons for coming to terms now was a desire to beat [Reagan] to town?”