Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Conversation with Natan Sharansky

Today, I had the pleasure of joining a group of fellow bloggers in a tele-conference with former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, the inspiration behind the Bush Doctrine and the author of The Case for Democracy, thanks to the work of Tim Chapman, Director, Center for Media and Public Policy for The Heritage Foundation.

He opened the conversation speaking about the power of the internet and the opportunities for bloggers to support those dissidents in totalitarian regimes. He said:
"Dissidents must be your partners. The Free World must support the dissidents. The world is much different today than back when there was a Soviet Union. How different things would have been if there had been an internet back then. Today, dissidents can get their message out much more easily via the internet."

"The US is being blackmailed by nuclear weapons development by the Iranian regime. There are trade unions and student unions that are very powerful in Iran. We must support them."

"As an example: Poland- The union Solidarity was praised and watched by the whole world. We need to support with strong statements and not come in agreement with the Ayatollahs like the current administration is doing."

The Bush Administration is using the policy of the Clinton administration.

"It did not work with North Korea. It will not work with Iran. You must never make deals with brutal regimes."
I have long admired Natan and jumped at the chance to find out his thoughts. I asked the first question: Regarding the US backtracking on Iran: how do we help the US to refocus on democracy in Iran?
"What is the reason that there is kind of backtracking?... I think that President Bush is alone...He has few allies over the seas..and that's unfortunate. What's more unfortunate is he has so few allies in Washington...You have to mobilize people from different camps...When it is not a personal crusade by George Bush [there will be more success]."

"When the people of Iran are ready to do this job...those dissidents will not be alone and, in the eyes of people in Iran, it will be clear that the dissidents have the support of the West...If you want politicians to support one cause, you have to show them the people behind this cause."

This is exactly what I have been attempting to do for the past few years. But there is a great opportunity for our fellow bloggers to ramp up its support for the Iranian people in their struggle for real freedom and democracy. Natan gets it. Without question Natan believes Iran is ripe for a regime change. We need to convince more of our policy makers of the importance of lending its support to those seeking real democratic change.

Mary Katarine Ham, Hugh Hewitt Blog has produced a transcript of the rest of the teleconference.

Pamela, Atlas Shrugs has an audio clip.

A few of our other fellow bloggers that joined us in the teleconference include:

Boker Tov (Anne Lieberman)
Gateway Pundit
Powerline (Scott Johnson)
Publius Pundit (Robert Mayer)
Red State
Right Wing News (John Hawkins)
Club for Growth (Andy Ross)
I hope we can arrange more such opportunities in the future. Thanks Tim.