In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 23, 2009 / 1 Tamuz 5769

The Obama Effect?

By Mona Charen

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's become almost a parlor game to watch Obamaphiles spin the president's response to events in Iran. Uninfatuated observers have noticed that the president displayed a tepid and unsatisfying neutrality to events in the streets of Iran following the sham election — just as he had done last summer when the Russians staged an invasion of Georgia. His first instinct was to preserve his bona fides for negotiating with the mullahs — bona fides that he has been at pains to demonstrate over the past several months. Starting last January, President Obama put doubts about the nature of the regime in Tehran to one side and offered blandishments to the leadership of what he was careful to call "the Islamic Republic." In his Cairo speech, the president begged forgiveness for the U.S. role in a 1953 coup. U.S. embassies worldwide were instructed to invite Iranian diplomats to July 4 parties. By so doing President Obama granted legitimacy to the mullahs and suggested that the U.S. — under new enlightened leadership — was now a worthy interlocutor. At just that moment, the people of Iran told the world how thoroughly detestable and illegitimate the Islamofascist regime is. This must surely have been one of the worst cases of presidential timing in living memory.

Yet Obama's ardent supporters stand ready to interpret any world event as evidence of Obama's messianic effect. Matthew Stannard, in the San Francisco Chronicle, noted that unnamed "Analysts suggested that President Obama's rhetoric of extending an open hand to old rivals, culminating in his widely watched speech to the Islamic world from Egypt on June 4, may have pushed reform-minded voters to the polls in Iran." The New York Times asked, "Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?"

Isn't this a kind of arrogance? Isn't it further the kind of arrogance — an overweening emphasis on the importance of the United States — that the left usually attributes to conservatives?

There is no more evidence that the revolt under way in Iran (if it succeeds, it will be called a revolution) is attributable to the "Obama effect" than there is that it is the result of a George W. Bush effect. How could Bush be involved? Well, you could make an argument that all of those purple fingers in neighboring Iraq aroused a certain longing for democracy among Iranians.

But it is far more likely that purely internal factors are at work. David Frum catalogues the economic misery Ahmadinejad has delivered. The unemployment rate, already at 10.5 percent four years ago, has shot up to 17 percent. The inflation rate is 25 percent, destroying savings and driving down living standards. Despite Iran's immense oil wealth and the rise in oil prices in recent years, the standard of living for the typical Iranian is no better now than it was in 1975. Because Iran has not built oil refineries, this oil-rich nation must import 40 percent of its gasoline. Moreover, the corruption of the clerical elite is widespread and universally detested.

Michael Ledeen points to the galvanizing effect the presence of Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, has had on women in Iran. Rahnavard is the half of the couple with all the charisma — and the spirit. While Mousavi is a soft-spoken, even dull former apparatchik, his wife is a noted artist and university professor known for her reformist views who directly called Ahmadinejad a liar and a disgrace during the presidential campaign. She is personally religious and wears a hijab, but she favors choice in these matters — a profoundly subversive idea in the Islamic Republic. Brave women have been out in force since before the election. They marched carrying pictures of Mousavi and displaying their green colors. When the regime declared Ahmadinejad the winner, young women poured into the streets along with men. CNN covered one young demonstrator explaining how the women collect rocks to give to the men to throw at the Basij militia, as the women cannot throw as far. But they are on the front lines, body and soul, defying the Basij militia and sometimes, as in the now iconic case of Neda Soltani, paying with their lives. Neda, a young woman clad in blue jeans and sneakers, has become an instant martyr to a very great cause — the cause of freedom.

President Obama needs to fall out of love with the image of himself as the ultimate mediator. Events have overtaken that strategy and revealed its hollowness.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.

Mona Charen Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate