Press Conference, "Time to Talk with Iran"
West side Terrace of the House Canon Office Building
10:30 am Edt
This is a unique opportunity for Bob Barr to truly shine as the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. Barr, who graduated from high school in, of all places, Tehran, can claim a familiarity with the Iranian people and culture that no other candidate of any party comes close to ... and he can bring that familiarity and a libertarian policy perspective effectively to bear on US foreign policy vis a vis Iran.
Quoth Barr, as late as last year:
Should Washington simply sit back and leave Iran alone — free to support terrorist groups and regimes in other countries, including Iraq, and to develop a nuclear capability? Of course not. Even considering that our lengthy and continuing occupation of Iraq has greatly strengthened Ahmadinejad, the United States has a clear and legitimate stake in what happens in Iran and with regard to matters in which that regime is involved elsewhere. ... Positive steps could include strengthening economic and political pressure on Iran, and increased efforts to quietly but actively build on the deep base of political understanding that already exists among a large segment of the Iranian population (and including the more than one million Iranian-Americans).
Hopefully his perspective has changed since then. Hopefully he has realized -- as the American experience versus, among others, the Cuban Communist regime and the Iraqi Ba'athist regime prove -- that not only do sanctions not work, they have precisely the opposite effect of that allegedly intended. They entrench tyrants and allow those tyrants to continue in power.
The quickest way to remove the mullahs from power in Iran is also the approach dictated by libertarian foreign policy prescriptions: Lift all sanctions, bring down all trade barriers, and announce that the US will henceforth treat Iran (or, to put a finer point on it, Iranians) as ... friends!
It was American support for the Shah's regime that allowed him to rule autocratically -- and that produced the Islamist backlash which led to the revolution and the ascent of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iranian people are not, by inclination, backward. It is only American sanctions and sabre-rattling which have allowed the mullahs to continue in power by brandishing a powerful foreign enemy at their subjects.
Lift the sanctions, declare friendship ... and the theocratic regime in Iran would be lucky to last a year. Hopefully Barr will unveil exactly such a program next week.