Of fatuity and fatwas

President Obama’s has courted the Islamic Republic of Iran since the first days of his presidency. In Obama’s mind, a “path” exists, in Obama’s mind, for this nation to be “a very successful regional power.”

The charitable interpretation is that Obama does not understand the nature of the Iranian regime. He does not understand that Iran is a revolutionary power. He thinks it can can coddled and conciliated into normality and he has set about coddling and conciliating it.

Obama’s policy bears comparison with the policy pursued by Great Britain with respect to Germany, or at least one might be able to learn something from such a comparison. What began as a large-minded approach to conflict ended in willful self-delusion. What came to be perceived as a necessity was soon overtaken by wishful thinking. One can see the process at work in Neville Chamberlains’s 1936 letter to his sister:

By careful diplomacy I believe we can stave [war] off, perhaps indefinitely, but if we were now to follow Winston’s advice and sacrifice our commerce to the manufacture of arms, we should inflict a certain injury on our trade from which it would take generations to recover, we should destroy the confidence which now happily exists, and we should cripple the revenue.

Unfortunately, as Churchill clearly saw, the German regime did not conform to Chamberlain’s fantasies. We all know the rest of the story.

I’m not sure where President Obama is. As Kerry gads about to meet with his Iranian friends and disparage his critics at home, he approaches the tertiary stage of the appeasement mentality. Jeryl Bier takes note of Kerry’s recent tribute to the fatwas of Iran’s Supreme Leader. Kerry professed the “great respect — great respect for the religious importance of a fatwa.” Thus spake the American Secretary of State:

Now I want to be very clear. Nothing in our deliberations is decided until everything is decided. And the purpose of these negotiations is not just to get any deal; it is to get the right deal. President Obama means it when he says, again and again, that Iran will not be permitted to get a nuclear weapon. As you all know, Iran says it doesn’t want a nuclear weapon, and that is a very welcome statement that the Supreme Leader has, in fact, incorporated into a fatwa. And we have great respect – great respect – for the religious importance of a fatwa. And what we are effectively trying to do is translate that into legal language, into everyday language within the framework of a negotiated agreement that everybody can understand, which requires everybody to have certain obligations and ultimately be able to guarantee that Iran’s program, its nuclear program, will be peaceful now and peaceful forever.

Unlike Neville Chamberlain, who could at least wave around a piece of paper with the signature of “Herr Hitler” on it (video below), the fatwa to which Kerry paid his (our) “great respect” has never been seen. That’s because it doesn’t exist. As Andrew McCarthy explains, the fatwa is a patent hoax.

Like the tertiary stage of syphilis, the tertiary stage of appeasement may involve dementia.

Kerry’s dementia is not the only sign of the tertiary stage of the mentality of appeasement. We also have the self-censorship that abets it. The Times of Israel notes that this year’s annual threat assessment report prepared by the Director of National Intelligence removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, this after years in which they featured in similar reports. Jeryl Bier expands on the Times of Israel’s scoop in “Ahead of deal, top intel organization plays down Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism.”

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