Tonight Bret Stephens, foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal, had some fascinating comments about Iran - its race toward nuclear capability, its connections with North Korea, and the bravery of Iranian people giving their lives for freedom tonight.“What began as a dispute about inherently corrupt elections … has become a frontal assault on the regime itself,” Stephens told the crowd of approximately 700 young American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) leaders in Manhattan. “We should be vocally supporting the [Iranian] protestors.”
Regarding the security of Israel, the United States, and the free world Stephens said, “Assurance does not lie in diplomacy … or a military strike. The only way we will have security is if the nature of the regime changes.”
He continued, “The threat of a nuclear war only ended with the end of the Soviet Union, and that’s the only reasonable way [the threat of a nuclear armed Iran] is going to end.”
In this, Stephens sounded a note reminiscent of our former President George Bush. For all the maligning of his policies and ideas, much we are seeing unfold is no surprise to those who perceived–despite the many mistakes and obstacles and surprises along the road–the underlying wisdom and truth of his vision at its best: people will not be peaceful if they have no stake in their own lives or, in other words, are not free. In this idea, President Bush echoed the vision of the great Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who explained in his book “The Case for Democracy: the Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror,” that fear societies require brutal measures to suppress their populations. They also require external scapegoats. Hence no world in which tyrants rule with a brutal fist can be safe for people who are democratically governed, because tyranical societies must be belligerent by nature. When people are allowed to communicate freely, to share ideas, to enjoy the fruits of their own labors and invest in the futures of their children, to have a role in ther own governance, to have the power that comes from being free, they will not obediently march off to kill an imaginary enemy at the whim of a dictator. What is unfolding today in Iran may be the beginning of the crumbling of a fear society.
President Obama has thus far not come out in support of the protestors; this is a mistake. He of all people should understand the vital need to support those willing to die for their hope, hope that their children will be free.
We should do all we can to support those in Iran who are risking their lives for freedom. One way is by doing our little part to keep lines of communication open. Since the mullahs are clamping down on communications, one of the only means of sending messages has been via Twitter.
Yesterday evening a tech-savvy friend shared with me this moving message an Iranian protestor sent via Twitter: “I realized I do not fear death. I fear my daughter will not be free when I die.”
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