Hope on Hold

June 17, 2009

From a friend;

A timeline of the Iranian election and White House response to date:

June 12 – Iranians cast 39.2 million handwritten ballots. Election
results are tallied BY HAND, certified, and announced in less than 12

June 13 – White House Press Statement:
“Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate
and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young
Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely,
including reports of irregularities.”

June 14 – Vice President Biden:
“It sure looks like the way they’re suppressing speech, the way
they’re suppressing crowds, the way in which people are being treated,
that there’s some real doubt…The decision has been made to talk. Our
interests are the same before the election as after the election”

(In case anyone is not convinced that the regime is suppressing
speech: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/irans_disputed_election.html)

June 15 – Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:
“Obviously we continue to have concerns about what we’ve seen.”

June 16 – President Obama:
It is “not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to
be seen as meddling.”

June 17 – President Obama:
“The Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election.”

So much for the soaring rhetoric of hope! The Obama administration
seems to be crafting a new form of realpolitik – guided by
congeniality and empathy for all. How long can the United States fail
to express any solidarity for the Iranian people who are risking their
lives in the name of democracy? How long can we hold out our hand to
regimes who continue to cling to power through the clenched fist of
corruption and suppression? Does anyone honestly believe that this is
going to soften Ahmajinadad at the negotiation table? I’m encouraged,
however slightly, that certain elements of the press are finally
calling the administration out:


Obama’s policy now requires getting past the election controversies
quickly so that he can soon begin negotiations with the reelected
Ahmadinejad government. This will be difficult as long as opposition
protests continue and the government appears to be either unsettled or
too brutal to do business with. What Obama needs is a rapid return to
peace and quiet in Iran, not continued ferment. His goal must be to
deflate the opposition, not to encourage it. And that, by and large,
is what he has been doing.
If you find all this disturbing, you should. The worst thing is that
this approach will probably not prevent the Iranians from getting a
nuclear weapon. But this is what “realism” is all about. It is what
sent Brent Scowcroft to raise a champagne toast to China’s leaders in
the wake of Tiananmen Square. It is what convinced Gerald Ford not to
meet with Alexander Solzhenitsyn at the height of detente. Republicans
have traditionally been better at it than Democrats — though they
have rarely been rewarded by the American people at the ballot box, as
Ford and George H.W. Bush can attest. We’ll see whether President
Obama can be just as cold-blooded in pursuit of better relations with
an ugly regime, without suffering the same political fate.


[The U.S. has] a clear obligation: aiding and strengthening, with all
our might, the Iranian civil society in revolt. We have done it in the
past with the USSR. We eventually understood, after decades of
cowardice, that totalitarianism, in its eventual state of
putrefaction, was only strong from our weakness. And we discovered how
to organize links of solidarity with the dissidents who ended up
defeating the system. There is the equivalent of these dissidents in
Iran. We are discovering that they are even infinitely more numerous
and powerful than they were during Soviet communism. We must support
them. We must encourage them.


Someday a future president may have to apologize to Iranians for Mr.
Obama’s nonfeasance, just as Mr. Obama apologized for the Eisenhower
administration’s meddling. But the better Eisenhower parallel is with
Hungary in 1956. Then as now a popular uprising coalesced around a
figure (Imre Nagy in Hungary; Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran), who had
once been a creature of the system. Then as now it was buoyed by
inspiring American rhetoric about freedom and democracy coming over
Voice of America airwaves.

And then as now the administration effectively turned its back on the
uprising when U.S. support could have made a difference. Hungary would
spend the next 33 years in the Soviet embrace. One senses a similar
fate for Iran, where Mr. Ahmadinejad’s “victory” signals the ultimate
ascendancy of the ultra-militants in the Revolutionary Guards Corps
and the paramilitary Basij, intent on getting what they want and doing
as they please even in defiance of their old clerical masters. Which
means: Get ready for a second installment of the Iranian cultural

)))))))))))))))))))))) My reply:

I agree. I believe our President to be lacking. He’s just covering his bases, and he appears indifferent as to whom runs Iran.


“A State Department spokesman said Washington was withholding judgment about the election and was not interfering in Iran’s internal affairs. President Barack Obama has offered to open talks with Iranian leaders to end a nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze.’

Our President is a moral relativist. I can understand how that may frustrate you, but it’s not that complicated to understand why he’s behaving the way he is.



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