Updated: Barack Gets Brownie Point On Iran

Barack Obama,Democracy,Foreign Policy,Iran,Neoconservatism

Barack Obama’s message is infuriating the left and right neoconnery, and that’s good for America. “The basic message is: We support the Iranian people and their democracy. Any change in how Iran is governed is their decision, not America’s. … What we’re seeing in Tehran is a reminder that millions of Muslims hunger for change — but they want to make it themselves.”

Now, let us hope the president sticks to this tack.

Update:Foreign Policy as Social Work: The Obama foreign policy must now come down to Earth,” Mona Charin screeched. It’s satisfying to witness the neocons wander in the political wilderness. However, I worry that Obama’s own people are natural-born meddlers. I fear he’s on his own in leaving Iran to its own devices.

Mark Steyn writes equally predictably: “This election was stolen for reasons of internal survival and long-term regional strategy by a regime confident enough to snub not just a U.S. government promoting impotence as moral virtue but those allies in Europe who regularly jet in to offer cooing paeans to the vibracy [sic] of Iranian democracy.”

Don’t they sound ridiculous? The Megaphones of a crumbling empire…

McMussolini chimed in: “‘[Obama] should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election,’ Mr. McCain said in an interview Tuesday on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. ‘The Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.'” I have news for the senator from Arizona (whom another Arizonian, Barry Goldwater, disdained): Look in your own political plate! The rights of Americans are also imperiled.

Good for Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana. “[T]he ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee said he agreed with the approach that Mr. Obama and his advisers had taken since the Iranian elections on Friday, which Iranian leaders have said Mr. Ahmadinejad won in a landslide against three challengers, including his nearest rival, Mir Hussein Moussavi.”

“For us to become heavily involved in the election at this point is to give the clergy an opportunity to have an enemy and to use us, really, to retain their power,” Mr. Lugar said in an interview Tuesday on the CBS News program ‘The Early Show.'”

In case you missed it, here’s PRESIDENT OBAMA statement in full: “Obviously all of us have been watching the news from Iran. And I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran’s leaders will be; that we respect Iranian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States being the issue inside of Iran, which sometimes the United States can be a handy political football — or discussions with the United States.

Having said all that, I am deeply troubled by the violence that I’ve been seeing on television. I think that the democratic process — free speech, the ability of people to peacefully dissent — all those are universal values and need to be respected. And whenever I see violence perpetrated on people who are peacefully dissenting, and whenever the American people see that, I think they’re, rightfully, troubled.

My understanding is, is that the Iranian government says that they are going to look into irregularities that have taken place. We weren’t on the ground, we did not have observers there, we did not have international observers on hand, so I can’t state definitively one way or another what happened with respect to the election. But what I can say is that there appears to be a sense on the part of people who were so hopeful and so engaged and so committed to democracy who now feel betrayed. And I think it’s important that, moving forward, whatever investigations take place are done in a way that is not resulting in bloodshed and is not resulting in people being stifled in expressing their views.

Now, with respect to the United States and our interactions with Iran, I’ve always believed that as odious as I consider some of President Ahmadinejad’s statements, as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on a range of core issues, that the use of tough, hard-headed diplomacy — diplomacy with no illusions about Iran and the nature of the differences between our two countries — is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of our national security interests, specifically, making sure that we are not seeing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon; making sure that Iran is not exporting terrorist activity. Those are core interests not just to the United States but I think to a peaceful world in general.”

We will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we’ll see where it takes us. But even as we do so, I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days. And what I would say to those people who put so much hope and energy and optimism into the political process, I would say to them that the world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was. And they should know that the world is watching.

And particularly to the youth of Iran, I want them to know that we in the United States do not want to make any decisions for the Iranians, but we do believe that the Iranian people and their voices should be heard and respected.”

The Heritage Foundation’s laments are THE ULTIMATE endorsement for the Obama stance: “President Obama has shown little interest in continuing President George Bush’s push for democracy in the Middle East.”

Yippee! Let’s hope Obama’s “disinterest” in democratic evangelism persists.


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5 thoughts on “Updated: Barack Gets Brownie Point On Iran

  1. Steve Hogan

    If only he applied that same thinking to the rest of the world, he’d be well on his way to doing something truly meaningful.

  2. Virgil

    Pat Buchanan has offered his useful insight on Obama’s response to the protests in Iran:

    Before Saturday, the regime could credibly posture as defender of the nation, defiant in the face of the threats from Israel, faithful to the cause of the Palestinians, standing firm for Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful nuclear power.

    Today, the regime, including the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is under a cloud of suspicion that they are but another gang of corrupt politicians who brazenly stole a presidential election to keep themselves and their clerical cronies in power.

    What should we do now? Wait for the dust to settle.

    No U.S. denunciation of what took place in Iran is as credible as the reports and pictures coming out of Iran. Those reports, those pictures are stripping the mullahs of the only asset they seemed to possess — that, even if fanatics, they were principled, honest men.

    People should read it all.

  3. Myron Pauli

    I hold to the Jefferson/Locke concept of a “liberal” government whose function is to protect our rights to life, liberty, own property, pursue happiness … – and when government does more, it generally abuses (rather than protects) these rights. Theoretically, a nation can function with a few military officers to lead a militia if invaded, a few police protecting us from sociopaths, and some judges resolving disputes and punishing sociopaths. Whether a Congress, a President, or an Emperor heads that liberal government is a secondary consideration. Democracy is NOT important and the decision of the people in selecting the leadership is merely a possibly better mechanism for ensuring responsibility and competence. When democracy means choosing between Fascist A vs. Socialist B or Messiah C vs. Messiah D, the choice may matter (e.g. Mussolini is preferable to Stalin) but the voting is only to limit the damage. Anyway, any Iranian endorsed by America would be tainted by our approval (e.g. “kiss of death”). I applaud you, Ilana, for having the brains and integrity to point out when our Messiah gets it right and not be some automaton “knee-jerk conservative” like Hannity who must defend everything of Bush and attack everything of Obama.

  4. Roger Chaillet

    “Why can’t we just leave people alone?”

    So said an Iranian American acquaintance of mine to me a few years ago over drinks.

    Why can’t we just leave people alone?

    Sounds simple enough.

    Of course it will come to this.

    The country is bankrupt and can no longer afford wars to install “freedom” and “democracy” in Third World countries.

    PS: My acquaintance and his fellow Iranian American restaurateur are fans of Pat Buchanan. [We hope you introduced them to Mercer.] Both are secular, so it’s not like they are “Islamofascists.”

  5. Virgil

    Lew Rockwell on the lessons that we Americans can learn from the Iranians:

    The last US-installed regime in Iran, the Shah’s, crumbled when the Persian people withdrew their consent. It didn’t matter that he had US weaponry and a vast US-trained military and secret police. It all blew away like leaves in the wind, without violence, when the people stopped obeying him. Is this happening again in Iran? We can only hope, and that the result will be a less oppressive regime that is still independent, and not another province in the US empire, let alone part of its occupied territories. And by the way, Americans could copy the Iranians. The gang of thieves called the US government exists only because we obey it and salaam it. It too can blow away like leaves in the wind, non-violently, if we withdraw our consent: read Rothbard.

    I do truly wish the Iranian people the best and do hope that they are able to rid themselves of the tyrannical mullahs. However, that is a choice for the Iranian people to make, and not self-serving American politicians in Washington DC.

    John McCain should shut up,as he has neither America’s interests at heart, nor that of the Iranian people. It is political prostitutes like McCain that collaborated in the destruction of Iraq, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, turning another 3 million into refugees, and getting over 4,000 Americans killed in an immoral conflict that was never in our interest. I hope that the Iranians can take a look at their Iraqi neighbors and see the cost of having the “support” of people like John McCain and to let him and the other DC parasites know that their “support” is not wanted.

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