"The U.S. will not try to bring Iran's government down."
Those were the words Barack Obama used during the early days of talks between America and soon-to-be nuclear Iran.
This phrase shocked the world. Israelis, Saudis, Jordanians and the Emirates felt betrayed.
But they weren't the people most disappointed by the newly established policy of U.S. appeasement - it was the Iranian people themselves.
To people fighting against oppressive governments, the U.S. has stopped being the bastion of freedom to the world. Obama has made a mockery of the position he holds, ending his right to the famous title "leader of the free world."
Obama has let down oppressed people everywhere, who looked to the U.S. for inspiration in their battles for freedom against dictators.
This is particularly the case in Iran, where a government that has one of the worst human rights violations records has terrorized its citizens, and women are treated as cattle.
Canadian reporter Zahra Kazemi was tortured and killed by the Iranian government because she dared to take pictures of the grotesque treatment of Iranian political prisoners.
Our own minister of justice's wife, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a Canadian of Iranian descent, has been an advocate for women in Iran condemned to death by public stoning.
America has demonstrated it is willing to make a deal with the oppressors of Iranians to avoid a confrontation, just for the sake of short-term convenience. America has betrayed the people of Iran who put their lives at risk demonstrating for freedom in the streets of Tehran.
Obama's peace-at-any-cost ideology has driven his actions in various hotspots where barbaric acts and genocide are occurring.Â
It has made the Americans look weak, and dictators have taken advantage of this to further repress their people. In Syria, sarin gas was used to kill 1,400 people, including hundreds of children, who choked to death, their nervous systems shut down.
And the world watched it in unprecedented detail as images of the attack spread across the Internet.
Obama avoided ramifications for Syria's actions, thanks to Russia's Vladimir Putin.
By appeasing oppressors, Obama betrayed Syrians fighting for freedom and human rights. What a wasted opportunity.
Assad could have been brought down, which would have in turn liberated Lebanon from Syrian and Iranian intervention and, probably, led to a peace deal between Israel and Syria.
As the U.S., Canada and others did in Libya with Maommar Gadhafi and in Panama with Manuel Noriega, Assad could have been dealt with easily.
The peace-at-any-cost crowd fails to understand that peace isn't always the solution. If this were true, freedom fighters would never rise up against oppressive dictatorships.
If our government were to intrude in our lives more than our comfort level allows, we might rise, perhaps not with arms because we are a mature democracy, but with petitions, demonstrations or other legal means.
In oppressive societies, however, force is the only weapon of the people.
It is not a coincidence that peace-at-any-cost advocates live in free societies, where they fail to recognize the privileges they have, while people living under oppression are fighting for freedom at any cost.
Salomon Rayek is a Kelowna resident and former executive editor of the Jewish Tribune. Email: