Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government welcomed former Iranian President Muhammad Khatami last week. The current Iranian government led by its anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has sent Khatami on a “charm offensive” to neutralize America’s resolve to seek sanctions against Iran. Teheran was offered generous incentives to end its quest for nuclear weapons and rejected those made by the UN Security Council as well as Great Britain, France, and Germany. Iran has arrogantly dismissed the idea of ending its nuclear weapon’s ambitions while offering to “negotiate.” It is apparent that the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking to buy time and then present the world with a fait acompli. This however is not clear to the decision-makers at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and their invitation makes a mockery of this venerable institution.
Nazi Germany used “charm offensives” to diffuse and obfuscate their aggressive intentions, much like the Islamic Republic of Iran is doing today. In a discussion Hitler had with Britain’s Prime minister Neville Chamberlain on September 29, 1938, in Munich, the Nazi dictator insisted that all he wanted from the Czechs was “justice,” and he was “entirely in favor of a peaceful solution to the Czechoslovakian crisis.”
Earlier, on September 12, 1938, in a speech at Nuremberg Hitler declared ”I am in no way willing that here in the heart of Germany through the dexterity of other statesman a second Palestine should be permitted to arise. The poor Arabs are defenseless and perhaps deserted. The Germans in Czechoslovakia are neither defenseless nor are they deserted.” Similar statements have been made about “poor and deserted Palestinians” by Ahmadinejad, in recent months. Like Hitler, Ahmadinejad claims to be seeking only “justice” for Iran and “a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue.” He must have taken a page or two from Hitler’s speeches.
Cognizant of the deceptive “charm offensive” by Iran’s theocrats, U.S. Representative Brad Sherman, D-CA, appealed to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to deny Khatami a visa to the U.S. In his letter to rice Sherman pointed out, “ A visit by the so-called reformist president would no doubt be utilized for maximum propaganda benefit by the Iranian government in the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.” Sherman added:
Khatami was president of a country labeled the number one state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department every year during his presidency…Khatami showed no interest in curtailing his country’s support for terrorism during his tenure as president, and certainly has not shown any now. He was and is a strong proponent of Iranian government material support for such terrorist organizations as Hezbollah, HAMAS, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Terrorist activity, including providing material support for terrorist organizations, is grounds for denying a visa.
Curiously, while Khatami was invited to Washington and Harvard, no voices have been raised by Harvard’s moral equivocators to insist that a former U.S. president be invited to the University of Teheran and to various public events in the capital. Why is it that former presidents like Bill Clinton and George H. Bush have not been sent to present to the Iranian people the danger of nuclear weapons, Iran’s support for worldwide terrorism, and fostering instability throughout the Middle East?
Unfortunately we see a growing cadre of “useful idiots” who unwittingly compromise the strength and security of the U.S. under the guise of academic freedom. In Iran, “useful idiots” who would like to speak out about their oppression, and suffering, or call for justice, are rotting in jails or being murdered by Ahmadinejad’s thugs. Mehrangiz Kar, an Iranian-native and refugee in the U.S. asked then President Khatami for safe passage to visit her ailing and imprisoned husband. Kar, a lawyer and human right activist, sent Khatami three pleading letters, which he ignored. During his term in office, Khatami authorized the suppression of student demonstrations in which hundreds were killed or jailed by the authorities. This same Khatami recently refused a request by a rabbi at an interfaith meeting, to deliver a prayer book to Israeli prisoners of the Iranian-controlled Hezbollah. Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government has bigger things on their minds than to consider Khatami’s record on human rights
Comparisons with pre-WWII Germany are being validated with Iran’s aggressive posture and the West’s weakness and appeasement. And like his Nazi hero Adolf Hitler, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is blaming the Jews and Israel for the world’s trouble. Like Hitler, he does not just talk tough – he means what he says. Like Hitler, he is preparing Iran for a war of aggression while anesthetizing the West with calming words.
The apparent helplessness of the West and its lack of public resolve in dealing with the nuclear proliferation by North Korea and especially Iran, are depressing. The contrast between Iran’s decisive leadership with a clear strategy, and the lack of clarity and resolve in the West is alarming. Iran’s aggressiveness today seems to have more momentum than the West ‘s empty warnings that do not seem to intimidate or deter Iran. The Iranians view America and the West as “paper tigers” and see their inability to impose a Security Council resolution on the nuclear issue as a confirmation.
The Harvard Kennedy School of Government that excels in downplaying threats to the West, and whose academic dean- Stephen Walt, argues for abandoning Israel, has assumed the historical role of an “appeaser.” Inviting Khatami simply confirms this diagnosis.