IRAN PROTESTS A WARNING TO BEIJING?

Fox News on December 31, 2017, published a commentary on the Iran protests against the Islamist tyranny by Christian Whiton. Excerpts below:

Protesters took the streets in more than a half-dozen cities in Iran for a second day [at the end of 2017] risking their lives to challenge the Islamist tyranny that has prevailed in the country since 1979, when it held American diplomats hostage.

The protests began as demonstrations against austere economic conditions but have now grown to express general opposition to the Islamist government.

…we…see spontaneous protesters crying “death to the dictator” and “death to Rouhani,” referring to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Protests have even spread to Qom, the intellectual heartland of the 1979 Islamist revolution and the onetime base of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he successfully worked to destroy Iran’s secular government before 1979.

The last widespread and sustained protests in Iran occurred in 2009, after fraudulent elections. At the time, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shamefully sat on their hands, saying and doing nothing to support the protesters.

…Lech Walesa, the leader of the Solidarity movement that challenged and eventually brought down communism in Poland in the 1980s, credited President Ronald Reagan’s unabashed support for the movement’s success.

Elsewhere in the Soviet bloc, a dissident named Natan Sharansky was rotting in a Russian prison when he and his fellow prisoners heard that President Reagan had referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire destined for the ash heap of history.

Sharansky later remarked: “For us, that was the moment that really marked the end for them, and the beginning for us. The lie had been exposed and could never, ever be untold now.”
Clearly, the moral support of the American president can make a big difference in influencing political outcomes abroad.

If President Trump acts now he will not just be engaging in an act of idealism, but working in a pragmatic way against our Iranian adversaries.

Christian Whiton is a senior fellow for strategy and public diplomacy at the Center for the National Interest and the author of “Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War.”

Comment: Iran is one of the challengers to the West on what Sir Halford Mackinder termed World Island (Europe, Asia, Africa). Any weakening of the regime in Teheran is welcome news. One can only hope that the protests in Iran are the beginning of the end of oppression in a country that openly threatens to destroy Israel.

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