William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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AND IN THE REAL WORLD:  We remind readers again that foreign policy has, disgracefully, been left out of the current campaign.  But the realities are there – the continuing revolt in Iran, the hot war in Ukraine, a possible explosion over China's claim to Taiwan. 

There's an old saying in politics, that you can take four years of a bad domestic policy, but that four years of a bad foreign policy can kill you.

One new development:  Our inept Iran policy has apparently drawn its first casualty, and it's long overdue.  From the Washington Free Beacon:

Biden administration Iran envoy Robert Malley is under increasing pressure to resign his post, as members of Congress and Iranian-American advocacy groups lose faith in his ability to support a growing protest movement in the Islamic Republic that threatens to topple the hardline regime.

The protests, which first erupted after the regime's morality police murdered a young woman who didn't properly wear her head covering, have quickly evolved into a referendum on the Iranian regime itself. But Malley, who has been the administration's public face of diplomacy with Tehran, claimed the protesters are merely demonstrating "for their government to respect their dignity and human rights"—even in the face of mounting evidence they are protesting to end the oppressive regime.

The Biden administration is still waiving economic sanctions on the Iranian regime as it seeks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, though the prospects of reaching an agreement grow increasingly slender. These efforts have also forced the administration to walk a diplomatic tightrope as it offers tepid support to protesters to avoid isolating the hardline government from negotiations. Following Malley's online gaffe, the State Department declined to answer Washington Free Beacon questions about whether it assesses that Iranian protesters are seeking regime change, even as those protesters chant "Death to the Dictator" and make clear they want the theocratic government dismantled.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a leading congressional critic of a new Iran deal, told the Free Beacon that the "Biden administration is literally invested in the survival of the Iranian regime because the administration wants Iranian oil to make up for the catastrophe they've created by attacking American energy producers. That's why they can't bring themselves to support the calls by the people of Iran for regime change."

"Robert Malley will go down in the history books as the most ineffective and feckless State Department official of the last 50 years. It's time for him to go," Bryan Leib, executive director of Iranian Americans for Liberty, a grassroots group that supports democracy, told the Free Beacon. "His most recent gaffe on Twitter is just another example of how he has aligned the United States government with the Islamic Republic and not with liberty-seeking Iranian people. His fake apology is not accepted and he should be terminated immediately."

Leib's comments were echoed by many on Twitter, who accused Malley of obfuscating the issue.

"It's a revolution," Alireza Nader, an Iran expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, replied to Malley's tweet.

"Respect?" asked popular Iran commentator Saman Arabi. "Iranian [people] are literally asking for regime change!"

Though Malley later apologized for his tweet, saying it was "poorly worded," congressional sources and other foreign policy insiders say that the damage has been done and that Malley's credibility with Iranian reformers is shattered.

COMMENT:  It was shattered long ago.  Malley is an Obama guy.  He held the same post, Iran negotiator, under the Obama administration, and was largely responsible for the ridiculous Iran nuclear deal, which gave most of the cards to the Iranians.  Malley is a leftist, and has no business being in the position he's in.  His presence, in my view, reflects the influence the Obama crowd still has in the Biden administration. 

I don't know if Biden is in a position to fire Malley.  I mean, what will Barack say?

October 26, 2022