Wanted: the audacity to do more than hope

Gabriel Schoenfeld notes that the debate over the U.S. response to events in Iran has focused exclusively on President Obama’s words regarding the protesters and the regime. In a better world, Schoenfeld argues, Obama would be focused on toppling the regime. And not just through words, but also through covert action of the type that Obama has been at pains to apologize for:

Today, as a breaking point in the Islamic Republic appears to recede from view as a result of brutal violence, the U.S. appears utterly powerless to influence the course of events. Yet how much better off both Iran and the world would be if the CIA, operating covertly through local friendly forces, could have helped, say, to spark a general strike to topple the ruthless regime of the ayatollahs.

Unfortunately, Obama could not employ the CIA in this fashion even if he wanted to. That agency’s capacity to subvert hostile regimes was dismantled by liberal moralists beginning in the 1970s.

Obama may believe that he is taking the high moral ground by merely “bearing witness” to the brutal repression by our arch-enemies of those who had the audacity to hope for change. But he would occupy higher moral ground if he began to rebuild our capacity to interfere in the affairs of our enemies when moral considerations and our national interest both clearly militate in favor of doing so.


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