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“There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats” (Updated)

There have probably been moments where I’ve been more disgusted with my country’s leadership, but I’m having great difficulty bringing them to mind. Somehow, having repressive and murderous regimes over for lunch clouds my memory of indiscretions gone by:

The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

President Barack Obama’s administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

“There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats,” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

“We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran,” Kelly said. “We tried many years of isolation, and we’re pursuing a different path now.”

The only thing I can think to say is, how dare you?

How dare the representatives of a country founded on freedom from tyranny and the principles of inalienable rights not give any thought — no thought whatsoever — to reexamining its invitation to theocratic sponsors of terrorism who violently deny their own people access to any say in how their lives are governed?

How dare the supposed leader of the free world not ponder, even for a moment, that perhaps treating thuggish dictators as legitimate state actors, on our nation’s birthday no less, might be sending the wrong signal?

How dare the supreme ambassadors of everything we hold dear as a country extend anything more than a single, firmly-flexed digit in the direction of a bully state that clearly has no business pretending to represent the interests of its citizens?

President Obama, how dare you slap your own countrymen in the face with such a rude and thoughtless gesture?

How dare you forgo “thought” on the matter; aren’t you supposed to be the intellectual president … y’know, The One who thinks about things?

I can only hope that our government hasn’t become so comfortable with its own power-grabbing that it fails to recognize blatant state repression when it’s invited over for hot dogs and fireworks.

It’s one thing to hold one’s tongue, or to speak in moderate tones when addressing momentous historical events as they unfold. It’s entirely another thing altogether to look tyranny in the face and smile as you invite it into your home. Even more significantly, our duly elected representative to the world is doing all this on the day to commemorate the culmination of the blood, sweat and tears our forefathers spent in casting off the yolk of dictatorial control so that we might have a nation of laws, and freedom to pursue our own individual happiness — freedoms that our “guests” routinely spit upon. President Obama should be ashamed.

[HT: Hot Air]

UPDATE: Bruce helpfully makes the point I was trying to get at above, but somehow failed to include in my rant:

And, for those who find “hot dogs on the 4th” still acceptable for members of a regime presently engaged in viciously and murderously silencing their own people, on has to assume you believe in rewarding bad behavior by pretending it hasn’t happened. That’s not “diplomacy”, that’s simply an abysmally poor choice that signals weakness.

Obviously we’ve coddled repressive regimes before, to our and their people’s detriment, but I’m not trying to suggest that we simply disengage from any discussions whatsoever. There are times and places for diplomatic discussion, even with tyrannical governments such as Iran’s. While that regime is busy slaughtering peaceful protesters and on a national holiday celebrating our hard-won freedoms is not such a time.

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31 Responses to “There’s no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats” (Updated)

  • Post #5928495 where you say what Obama should not do in terms of foreign policy vis a vis Iran/NK.  I’m still waiting post #1 where you say what he should do.  You continually criticize weak rhetoric, but is strong rhetoric any different?  Are you willing to put boots on the ground in Iran?  What do you propose the US should do to Iran/NK?

    • Well if you’re still waiting then you didn’t read my reply or you’re unable, given the example I gave, to figure out what I would propose.

  • It sure would be a small turnout if all the diplomats from mean & nasty countries were disinvited.

  • So, Captain, unless you are unwilling to do boots you should not condemn?

    There are millions of protestors looking for outside recognition.  We haven’t done that.  Giving them moral assurance that they are doing the right thing goes a long way to encouraging others to join the situation.  We don’t have to put “boots on the ground” to say “we approve”, “this is right”.  They might still lose, but we will have been on the right side, saying to do the right thing.

    And even if we do just give verbal approval to the protestors and the  Mullahs stay in power, so what?  Why can’t we condemn and be on the side of ethics, and still “lose”.   What will the Iranians in power do, try to develop atomic weapons?

  • a little too late to be getting upset at us making nice with butchers, ain’t it? last time i checked, one of our key responses to the massacre at tiananmen square was to….grant china MFN trading status and destroy our manufacturing capability so we could leave the field to them. they killed a bunch of their own people – and we gave them lots and lots of money. but hey! have you seen how cheap flatscreens are lately?!?
    near as i can tell, the default foreign policy position of the united states of america – under both democrat and republican executives – is “grub before ethics”, and has been since at least 1955 or so. somehow the state department managed to equate “diplomacy” with ‘dishonor and cowardice’ a long time ago, and we’ve let them get away with it for decades. this business with iran is just more of the same, with maybe *just a tad* more craven-ness this time.
    but only just a tad. after all, we did not one damn thing when saddam – a guy who was effectively under our guns at the time – when saddam decided to make mincemeat of the kurds in ’92(?). why should iran be any different?

  • There are actually a few episodes in my country’s recent past that make me ashamed. We (and the Brits) shipped back to the Soviet Union, and certain death, hundreds of Russian and Cossack anti-communists after the Second World War. We sat idly by as Eastern Europe fell behind the Iron Curtain, and breathed a sigh of relief at the defeat of Japan only to see Mao Tse Tung fill the void in China. We did nothing to support the Hungarian uprising in 1956. We did nothing as the Soviets crushed the Prague Spring in 1968. We sat idly by — after more than a decade of spilling our young men’s blood and sweat — as South Vietnam fell to communism in 1975, when air strikes would have broken the back of the communist offensive. We gave in to public outcry over the so-called “Highway of Death” (I suppose civilians finally decided that war was bad when they saw it live on CNN for the first time), halted our advance to Baghdad, withdrew, and watched as the revolting Kurds and Shi’ites were massacred by Saddam Hussein’s gunships. And now, the dunce in the White House can’t muster even the most tepid censure for an oppressive regime as it crushes its own people. We normalized relations with, and then four decades later, participated in Olympic games in Communist China, which props up the DPRK and brutalizes its own citizens, especially Christians, Tibetans, and Uighurs.

    To that dunce, though, American strength is what is shameful. Promotion of democracy is cause for apology. Having the temerity to suggest that all human beings have rights and deserve to exercise them; to suggest that, no, human beings are not disinclined to those rights just because of their culture or nationality — that is ignominious. Taking a position against totalitarianism and against the use of or assent to terrorism, without regard to whether other countries were willing to join us — that go-it-alone-ism is shameful.

    We didn’t always follow the correct course of action, but we at least were on the side of right and acted in accordance with our principles. Now, we consort with tyrrants and thugs, as they snicker behind our back and contemplate how far they can push us.

  • Look on the bright side: if things go well with the Iranians on Independence Day, maybe he can invite bin Laden and mullah Omar over for 9-11 this year.

    <b>nom de guerre</b> and <b>J</b> make a depressing but good point: our foreign policy has often been governed much more by pragmatism than ideals.  Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a damned thing to do with the Red Chinese, the Saudis, or any other of the thugs we make nice with because they’ve got something we want.

  • If you look at the signs protesters have in Iran, some of them are in English. They want to get their message out, specifically to us. They are looking for some sign of support. There is a risk to speaking out too strongly in support of the protesters since there is a strong anti-American sentiment in Iran, but this presented Obama with his first opportunity to make a “diplomatic” statement – if he cancelled this invitation it would have been seen as a support to the protesters but is also subtle enough that it would be hard to mobilize the anti-American crowd in Iran behind a cancelled dinner party. Maybe its that – not having any diplomatic experience – he failed to see his opportunity, maybe its that he doesn’t really care to show any support for the protesters.

  • Michael, you apparently missed the parts in US foreign policy, continuing to this day, when we give aid and support to regimes far more authoritarian than Iran.  You obviously have not studied American foreign policy, or looked at how we deal with other countries (or how Bush the Elder dealt with China, whose crack down at Tiananmen is much worse than anything Iran has done now).  In fact, Iran’s elections and government response is far less brutal than those of our friends in Egypt and elsewhere in dealing with opposition.  You simply do not know what you are talking about.  I tire of the ignorance of would be pundits who react from the gut to a story without really taking the time to learn about the entire context and understand the implications of the actions they criticize or condone.

    Jon Stewart had the son of an imprisoned Iranian protester on.  He noted correctly that government pressure from the US would be the wrong approach and would aid the hardliners.  You don’t seem to understand that you are arguing for things that would play into the hands of the Iranian government.  I’m sure you’re well intentioned, but good intentions plus a dose of ignorance can lead to very bad places.  He said citizen support of the Iranians is what is called for, not governmental efforts to interfer with the regime.   Perhaps rather than pulling these things out your arse, you should educate yourself and actually look at what the Iranian moderate leaders are saying.

    • So Jon Stewart looks long and hard, finds one Iranian who unquestioningly supports the administration Stewart cravenly worhsips, and this becomes an authoritative statement from all “Iranian moderate leaders”?
      Not very persuasive. It may be that Iran’s moderate leaders agree with you, but to convince anybody with any sense, you’ll have to come up with some actual statements from actual Iranian moderate leaders.
      You’re also a bit confused about recent Egyptian history. We got friendly with Anwar Sadat in return for real concessions. Concessions that got him assassinated, in fact. Egypt’s leadership are not very nice people, but you can deal with them like rational adults. They aren’t killing Americans, either. And the opposition in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood, who are not moderate reformists. You should read up on the Muslim Brotherhood; I’m guessing you’ve never heard of them. They’re radical Islamic fruitcakes. They kill people. In power, they would be worse than the regime in Iran and worse than the regime in Egypt, and I mean worse for everybody, including the Egyptian people. We already support the moderates in Egypt. Even Jimmy Carter had brains enough to figure that one out. Some of us think we ought to support the moderates in Iran as well.
      You’ve got a problem that a lot of people seem to have, that they watch Jon Stewart or Bill Maher, and they vaguely remember from college when their poli sci professor told them Noam Chomsky proved by logic that the Great and Little Satans were responsible for the extinction of the Neanderthals and everything since. So, based on all that profound scholarship, they figure they know everything there is to be known about history and current events.

    • “I tire of the ignorance of would be pundits”.

      We are amused.

      • I tire of complete idiots with worthless degrees and a long record of outrageously bad predictions giving the rest of us condescending lectures on how ignorant we are.

  • “Jon Stewart had the son of an imprisoned Iranian protester on.”
    I heard an actual protestor say the opposite, so i call your anecdote and raise you a first hand account.

  • Scott, how would cancelling this event play into the hands of the Iranian government? That is a huge stretch to me.

  • Scott probably gave his lunch money to bullies at school with a smile.

    • Scott not only gave his lunch money to bullies, he volunteered to do so! He didn’t even wait to be “pantsed” or “noogied” but sought out the bullies and surrendered his money before any action had been taken against him.

  • I bet Erb goes to gay meetings and tells them to put up with gay bashing and being called “f*ggot,” and then heads to the NAACP and tells them they better allow “whitey” to lynch them and use the “n” word, because we all must deal with “authoritarian regimes” at times in our lives.

    But if you look closely, I bet that The Clown™ wants to use his own power to crack down on dissent here, like those pesky folks at Fox News who “never have a positive thing to say about” him.

    No wonder The Clown™ is so thrilled to want to meet with Mahmoudy “The Goatf*cker” Ahmadinejad. They both have the same ideas when it comes to internal dissent, only The Clown™ can’t use guns because here the guns would be trained back at his goons doing the enforcing.

  • Jon Stewart?  That biased hack is your source? Again, using comedy to push the agenda to places that normal commentary would find in court.
    Good work.

  • Every day, Erb pushes further the bounds of farce.

  • So Jon Stewart looks long and hard, finds one Iranian who unquestioningly supports the administration Stewart cravenly worhsips, and this becomes an authoritative statement from all “Iranian moderate leaders”?

    I don’t know about “all Iranian moderate leaders,” but you sure don’t have to “look long and hard to find one” Iranian who is supporting Obama’s approach.
    Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said she has no complaints about Obama’s rhetoric. “What happens in Iran regards the people themselves, and it is up to them to make their voices heard,” she said in a telephone interview from Geneva. “I respect his comments on all the events in Iran, but I think it is sufficient.”
    President Obama is taking the long view, and he is dead right. This is Iran’s struggle, not America’s.
    Just to name a couple.
    I would like to read an Iranian who is denouncing Obama’s current approach.  Forgive me if I missed it… I’ve been busy with work to look long and hard.
    Maybe the Iranians want us to butt-the-f*ck-out.  Maybe.

  • Here ya go, Pogue. This is from CNN:

    An Iranian student protester in Tehran made a passionate plea for help from the world community this morning in a phone call to CNN’s “American Morning.”


    Roberts: Mohammad, we have been talking this morning about what the students are fighting for and whether the students are fighting for something different than the older more established political candidates like Moussavi. Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran? Or are you looking for – as has been suggested – more civil rights, more freedoms within the context of the existing regime?

    Mohammad: Yes. Let me tell you something. For about three decades our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime. Now Iranians are united again one more time after 1979 Revolution. We are a peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of the international community. We don’t want to be isolated. Is this much of a demand for a country with more than 2,500 years of civilization? We don’t deny the Holocaust. We do accept Israel’s rights. And actually, we want — we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.

    Roberts: Interesting perspective this morning from Mohammad, a student demonstrator there in Tehran.

    Mohammad: Excuse me, sir. I have a message for the international community. Would you please let me tell it?

    Roberts: Yes, go ahead.

    Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely — is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it’s illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My message…to the international community, especially I’m addressing President Obama directly – how can a government that doesn’t recognize its people’s rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.

  • At least I hope that any hotdogs served are……..Hebrew National!

  • Isn’t the main ingredient in hot dogs pork?

  • did i *really* just see a guy buttress his argument with “something jon stewart said”?? and in a serious, non-ironic kind of way? well, shoot, if THAT’S all it takes to win the day, then we should definitely do as i say, because i saw it on an episode of ‘i love lucy’. (“mahmoud, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!”)
    every day, they’re just a little more bizarre than the day before – but it adds up to serious crazy after awhile.

  • Thanks Michael.
    Oh, and Nom
    I don’t think anyone in this thread buttressed their argument with “something Jon Stewart said.”  He was talking about Stewart’s guest, Ebrahim Yazdi’s son.
    The Daily Show is what it is.  But Stewart does conduct serious interviews with serious players on the world scene.  Even if you don’t like his commentary, interesting things are sometimes said in his interviews.
    It’s no I Love Lucy.

  • uh hu, pogue. well, i’ll tell you what: i’ll take jon stewart – or anything his guests have to say – seriously *right after* i see a leftist approvingly quote limbaugh, say, or hannity or their interviewees.  since the left pooh-poohs, mocks, and constantly belittles conservative pundits/tv & radio stars, i have no problem at all doing the same to *their* special little friends. it IS odd, ain’t it, that the ‘serious iranian dissident’ stewart dug up and interviewed recommended a course of action that most paralleled what obama’s been doing until just recently.
    “it’s our job to see that this presidency succeeds” – a guy who does what jon stewart does.

  • uh hu, pogue. well, i’ll tell you what: i’ll take jon stewart – or anything his guests have to say – seriously *right after* i see a leftist approvingly quote limbaugh, say, or hannity or their interviewees.
    Well that’s just a silly condition to put on oneself.
    But hey, who am I to question you and your little games?

  • i know the feeling, pogue. who am i to question you and your precious little witticisms?

  • “White House rescinds July 4 invites to Iranians”

    Where is Erb to explain to us dunderheads the delicate intricacies of international diplomacy?