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U.S. Iran policy under Barack Obama has been a predictable, costly failure in strategic terms - and indefensible in moral ones:  To see the President of the United States of America - the beacon of freedom and its defence in international affairs - stand at the podium during the initial post-election unrest and make equivocating noises in the face of Iran's modern-day blackshirts on motorbikes was very, very bitter.

If American values were not sufficiently compelling, if moral clarity had become obscured by sheer hope, perhaps the sight of the Iranian people literally shouting from the rooftops should have been enough to give rousing support to the ‘greens' taking to the streets in their thousands - fully aware that they face beatings, rape and murder.  President Obama has the world on the end of a microphone, yet his soaring rhetoric suddenly eluded him:  This was the red telephone ringing, not at 3am but in broad daylight.  And he failed to pick up.

Let it be clear then that there must be no more illusions about the Mullahs.  It is not good enough for Richard Haass to change his mind now, not good enough for the administration to sharpen its tongue so late. Regime change has always been the only solution to the crisis - a 30 year crisis brought on by all that the murderous, dictatorial Iranian theocratic elite stands for. 

To call for regime change is neither simplistic nor imperial.  For those of us blessed with freedom, it is a mere resignation to hard truth in the face of oppressive evil.  For those Iranians with their throats under the boot of the Basij - the mothers, fathers and children choking on Khomeini's self-serving fantasies - it is bravery beyond what we could know.

No deal must be struck with the Mullahs.  The Islamic regime's hegemonic desires will not be allayed by treaty, and the West must never betray the people of Iran by legitimising the very leaders they are - in too many cases literally - dying to shake off.

A question remains only over the means, not the necessity.   Regime change is the only option to deliver the change the Iranian people both desire and deserve.

Iran needs America's help to achieve change its sons and daughters can believe in. 

Davis Lewin is a Senior Resident Fellow at The Henry Jackson Society (
Guy Mandron
February 17th, 2010
5:02 PM
Mr. Lewin you are advocating something the USA cannot afford financially nor carry out militarily. The consequences of another "victory" like that of 2003 would surely leave Iran in a state of civil war, economic meltdown and rampant criminality akin to which befell Iraq. Your "regime change" would create a free trade zone for terrorists stretching between Baghdad and Karachi. The cost to US prestige, moral leadership and above all finance would be a far more serious blow than atomic ayatollahs. At a time when the global economy is set to slow once again, do you really think the US can afford such a war creating oil prices at around $200 a barrel? Do you really think that the US Army can occupy a country that vast when it failed in its task in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do you really think that the necessary draft to achieve the correct troop concentration, a mass-occupation of the style not seen since the Soviets marched on Prague, would be accepted by the US people? Whilst air-strikes are a "high risk, high return" option that could conceivably work, regime change of the kind you are advocating would destroy America's post-modern imperium - "sich totsiegen." The armed forces are already stretched thin. The latest projections show the US will never run a balanced budget again. Total private and public debt is exceeding that of Britain in 1945. Moody's has warned US AAA rating is not assured. The Chinese have drastically diminished their purchasing of T-bills. The world's largest debtor cannot remain the world's largest spender indefinitely. And in this situation you advocate a foreign adventure with consequences more costly than the APOLLO Program? My conclusion Mr. Lewin, so astounded am I by your modest proposal, is that you love the persecuted people of Iran more than the continued health of the American state and international system. A romantic, such as yourself, should stay well away from political analysis.

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