Sunday this and that and open thread

Booman on how the President overruled the US Foreign policy establishment

Biden occasionally breaks the mold, as he did in his opposition to the escalation in Afghanistan, but the president still stands largely alone in his foreign policy team in siding against our sixty-five year history of screwing the underdog in favor of "stability" and "access to markets." The man has guts, but it's really nothing but a progressive view of U.S. foreign policy in the post-war era. We all espouse that view, but we never see it carried out in Washington DC. When I see things that never happen, happen, then I have to make a note of it.

Even Jimmy Carter shrugged while the Shah butchered the protesters in 1978 and 1979.

You want to know why I was so passionate that Obama, and not Clinton, be the Democratic nominee? It wasn't for health care reform. It was for decisions like this.

Newt Gingrich didn't like it though. Since Gingrich is almost always both morally and factually wrong, this seals the deal for me. A pretty generous account of Jimmy Carter's Iran experience is worth thinking about.
Fast forward to New Years Eve, 1977: President Carter toasted the Shah at a state dinner in Tehran, calling him "an island of stability" in the troubled Middle East. What the president also knew, but chose to ignore, was that the Shah was in serious trouble. As opposition to his government mounted, he had allowed his secret police, SAVAK, to crack down on dissenters, fueling still more resentment. Within weeks of Carter's visit, a series of protests broke out in the religious city of Qom, denouncing the Shah's regime as "anti-Islamic." The popular movement against the Shah grew until January 16, 1979, when he fled to Egypt. Two weeks later, thousands of Muslims cheered Khomeini's return to Iran after fourteen years in exile. Did the Carter administration "lose" Iran, as some have suggested? Gaddis Smith might have put it best: "President Carter inherited an impossible situation -- and he and his advisers made the worst of it." Carter seemed to have a hard time deciding whether to heed the advice of his aggressive national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wanted to encourage the Shah to brutally suppress the revolution, or that of his more cautious State Department, which suggested Carter reach out to opposition elements in order to smooth the transition to a new government. In the end he did neither, and suffered the consequences.
The Saudi Oil Thugs were unhappy.
Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak if the Obama administration tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt, The Times of London reported Thursday. In a testy personal telephone call on Jan. 29, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah reportedly told President Obama not to humiliate Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the U.S. withdrew its aid program, worth $1.5 billion annually. Read more: here
The Republican government of Israel didn't like it either.
(Reuters) - If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighborhood and President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday. Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness.

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