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Foreign Policy Bewilderment: Messages to Iran and From Poland

In air defense terminology, the gear apparently out of whack right now is the Identification Friend or Foe radar system used to differentiate hostile from friendly aircraft in the prosecution of an air campaign. We are developing a poor habit of giving hostiles a pass while taking shots at friendlies in an utterly bewildering execution of foreign policy under the new administration.

Over at Faster, Please!, Michael Ledeen says exactly what has been on my mind since seeing Barack Obama's misguided 'message to the Iranian people,' which was most importantly a message of legitimacy to the Iranian mullah regime, the kingpins of international terrorism.

To the country's leaders, Obama offered still more hope for change: "We seek...engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect." I don't know exactly what that means, except that the "conflict management" crowd insists that Iranian leaders want to be respected. My own view is that they want to be feared, but let's move on.

"The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right...and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."

The mullahs no doubt loved the first sentence, not because of the happy thought about the "community of nations," in which Iran's leaders most assuredly do not believe (they want Islamic domination of the whole thing), but because you can read the phrase as a coded message that means "we're not going to try to change the nature of the regime." If so, it was a foolish concession, both because it condemns the Iranian people to continued oppression and misery, and because the very existence of America threatens the Islamic Republic. The Iranians would rather live like Americans, and despite thirty years of pathetic fecklessness from one president after the next, they still hope that the day will come when we rescue them-or at least help them rescue themselves-from the hated mullahcracy.

That's surely exactly what the regime - and I - extracted from the video message, which was more through the Iranian people and to the mullah regime.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, true allies like Poland question the wisdom of close alliance with America, as Poland's Prime Minister Radoslaw Sikorski stated aloud, "We hope we don't regret our trust in the United States."

The Poles are not alone, joined by the Czech Republic, Georgia and Ukraine; each and all seemingly expendable in the pursuit of the new administration's bewildering foreign policy moves.

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