Free Markets, Free People


Riots In Iran: Obama Administration Gets A Second Chance

What do I mean by that?  Well, the first time this happened when the elections were disputed during the summer, the administration was anything but supportive of the dissenters.  In fact, while it engaged in a full-up diplomatic attack on Honduras for doing what its Constitution demands, the administration all but ignored the turmoil in Iran.

Of course the excuse given by apologists for the administration claim that the administration felt there was more to be gained by “engaging” the rogue regime vs. backing a movement that may actually see that regime toppled.  Obviously, given what has happened this week in Iran, those dissenting there haven’t been waiting on Obama’s blessing or support.  The movement has been simmering since the election and again violence against the regime has broken out in the streets of the country in a battle against the oppressive mullocracy.

At least eight anti-government protesters, including a nephew of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Iran’s opposition leader, were shot dead yesterday as the smouldering confrontation between the regime and the so-called Green Movement finally erupted.

Early reports put the number of dead at five, but as clashes continued late into the night, Iranian state television reported that the number of dead had risen. A report on the website of state television put the number of dead as high as 15 and quoted the Ministry of Intelligence that more than 10 were members of “anti-revolutionary terrorist” groups.

The other five who reportedly died during the bitter clashes in the Iranian capital were killed by “terrorist groups,” Iranian TV claimed.

Analysts heralded the start of what could be a bloody endgame as hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters poured on to the streets of Tehran and other cities and fought running battles with the security forces. Opposition websites claimed that some policemen had refused to fire on demonstrators.

This isn’t something which is happening in some isolated city in Iran, or just Tehran for that matter – this is a movement that has gone national and is gaining support.

Question: Wouldn’t it be in our best interest and the best interest of the region and world if the current regime fell? Obviously there’s some “what if” to be done here, like “what if the replacement regime is worse”? Hard to imagine given the supposed agenda of those now rioting in the street, but it is certainly remotely possible. But it would seem to me to be a risk well worth taking given the present regime.

So, of all people, that brings us to Hillary Clinton, a speech she recently gave in Georgetown and a “put your money where your mouth is” moment.

Ms. Clinton said that the administration, “like others before us, will promote, support and defend democracy.” She pledged that it would publicly denounce abuses by other governments and support dissidents and civil society groups.

Really? Well, here’s your chance, Ms. Clinton. Here’s a chance to positively effect the lives of an oppressed people. Here’s a chance to help bring down an oppressive regime and actually “promote, support and defend democracy”. Here’s a chance to “publicly denounce” the abuses of the Iranian regime.

Imagine if you will, the effect of that regime actually falling. It would immediately have an effect in both Iraq and Afghanistan where our soldiers battle insurgents backed by the country. It would also have an effect on the greater middle east, removing one of the mainstays of support for both Hamas and Hezbollah. And it would kick one of the supports out from under other dictators, such as Hugo Chavez, who continues to make noises about acquiring “nuclear capabilities”.

In fact, enabling and supporting the dissident movement in Iran would be one of the smartest things we could do right now. Any distraction that puts Iran off its gain is a good distraction in terms of the rest of the world and specifically the US. Shouldn’t that be the overriding reason for our foreign policy – what is good for us? Isn’t it the job of our government to pursue that aim?

So what are these words from Clinton and the Obama administration? Empty platitudes or policy?

Over the next few weeks we should be able to make that determination as they react (or don’t) to the situation in Iran.

~McQ

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20 Responses to Riots In Iran: Obama Administration Gets A Second Chance

  • We’re going to have regime change in Iran that could go easier if we helped and would be great for everyone involved since they are a major sponsor of strife in the entire Middle East.  But instead we’re going to get on the bad side of the new regime.

    Its that kind of stellar foreign policy that got the Iranian people angry with the US as we had a factor in the ascent of the Radicals in the first place.

    I could swear what there hiding about the birth certificate is that it lists “J. Carter” as the father.

  • Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
    This much we pledge — and more.

    To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
    To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom — and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
    To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required — not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

    President John F. Kennedy
    Jan. 20, 1961

    How times have changed.  I can only imagine the current occupant of the Oval Office making such a speech.  I HAVE to imagine it, because he hasn’t done it.  Now, if you want strong words directed at climate change “deniers”, Wall Street CEO’s or people who don’t support his the health care takeover, he’s the man to see.  But criticism of despots?  Promises to help people striving for freedom?  Not so much.

  • They are talking about sending John Kerry to Iran.
    After his excellent job with the North VietNamese in Paris, the opposition in Iran can expect to be hunted down and killed with impunity

  • On the other hand, the lack of vocal US support does not seem to have discouraged the protestors.

    “How times have changed. ”

    Not really. Just because JFK said something did not make it true. Ask the Cubans about how ‘pay any price, bear any burden’  worked out for them. Of course we did pay for the release of prisoners captured at the Bay of Pigs.  Nice rhetoric but that’s about all.  

    Furthermore, I for one am not willing to ‘pay any price…”.  Nor, if history is any indication, are most of the American people.

    • timactualJust because JFK said something did not make it true. Ask the Cubans about how ‘pay any price, bear any burden’  worked out for them. Of course we did pay for the release of prisoners captured at the Bay of Pigs.  Nice rhetoric but that’s about all.

      The thing is, we don’t even get the rhetoric out of Imeme.  Indeed, libs in general seem to have developed a positive aversion to spreading liberty; they not only don’t like talking about it, they openly disparage the idea.

      I agree that most of the American people are not into paying much cost at all to spread liberty.  I admit that there are costs that I’m not willing to pay.  However, I agree with the ideal: we SHOULD be lifting the torch.  It may not mean that we’ll send cash, weapons, or the Marines to assure that every tinpot despot gets overthrown, but at the very least I think we ought to be quite clear that we side with liberty and not with despotism, whether it be of the Batista / Shah / Saudi type or the Red Chinese / Taliban / Iranian type.  Instead, we make business deals with the Red Chinese, Rummie shook hands with Saddam back in the day, and we’re busy kowtowing to the thugs who run Iran.

      Wonderful.

  • “They are talking about sending John Kerry to Iran.”

    Great! The only drawback is if they are also talking about bringing him back. It is time to revive the ancient tradition of giving hostages.

    • I say that Kerry should go to the old US embassy and demand in the strongest terms that it be returned.  In fact, he should stage a sit-in at the old embassy.

  • Like any good progressive, I’ve gone from admiration to hope to disappointment to anger when it comes to this president. Now I’m fast getting to rage.

    How much rage? I find myself thinking that the thing I want most from the 2010 elections is for his party to get absolutely clobbered, even if that means a repeat of 1994. And that what I most want from 2012 is for him to be utterly humiliated, even if that means President Palin at the helm. That much rage.

    • Wow.  Never thought I’d agree with a liberal on much of anything, but I’m absolutely in accord with this guy:

      I, too, feel rage about this president, and I deeply hope that his party gets clobbered in the midterms and that he is utterly humiliated in 2012.

  • I knew I shouldn’t have looked back here, I can’t believe the stuff you write.  Do you think the “support” of the President for the dissidents would help them?  How?   What impact?  Give examples.   Obviously a military strike on Iran would help the regime and generate a huge backlash against the US.   In fact, any punative measures would certainly backfire.  Moreover even the dissidents say that US involvement would hurt.
    The naive belief that somehow the President can magically “support” a group and “help” it shows a real lack of understanding about how this works.   The US is impotent to shape events in Iran — we couldn’t even shape the outcomes in Iraq and Afghanistan with an invasion.  The weird belief that somehow the US is a magical power and the President only need “support” something to “topple a regime” is the stuff of pure fantasy.
    OK, I’m leaving again.  I just am amazed sometimes by how on issues involving Obama the visceral dislike you have for him causes you to engage in some of the most bizarre efforts to attack him, putting reality aside for some kind of pseudo-narrative.    I’m not sure if you’re trying to “spin memes” or really believe the stuff you post.

    • Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out…again.

    • hahaha  he’s back

    • You don’t feel that the administration should support the protests and criticize the government of Iran for its brutal oppression of political dissent?  Not even from an ideological standpoint?  Obama has tried to recognize Iran’s leadership and engage it diplomatically, and it has laughed and spit in his face.  What do we lose by taking the principled stand?  Or are you really saying that it’s okay to turn a blind eye because we can’t do anything anyway???

    • “I can’t believe the stuff you write.”

      The feeling is mutual, I assure you.

      By the bye, why did you delete the comments on your site by Shark, myself, and you? (Nov. 29, in case you forget). Did you find that your own comment, which you also published here, didn’t meet your exacting standards? I note that your closing line, that we were scum, didn’t appear on your site. I pointed that out on your site and asked why. I wonder how many other comments you have deleted that do not meet your criteria of suitably worshipful sycophancy.

      “OK, I’m leaving again.”

      Of course you are. You truly are a cowardly, dishonest, hypocritical excuse for a human being. Not to mention your glaring intellectual deficits.

    • Obviously a military strike on Iran would help the regime and generate a huge backlash against the US.
      By whom ? .. please cite.   I can imagine a whole bunch of Sunni counties who would (at lease privately) cheer.

    • Okay, who had ‘before the end of the year’ in the ‘you know he’ll be back’ pool?

    • “The weird belief that somehow the US is a magical power and the President only need “support” something to “topple a regime” is the stuff of pure fantasy.”
      It’s also not mentioned anywhere in the post or the comments other than yours.  But U.S. aid can help. Examples
      Poland: Solidarity had the overt support of Reagan and the covert support of the CIA. I realize that only 99% of the planet feels that the first step in the fall of the USSR was good thing, but even you would have to acknowledge that there was a pretty big overall impct
      Nicaragua: Both the rise and the fall of the Sandinistas supported with Presidential speeches and funding.

      “The US is impotent to shape events in Iran — we couldn’t even shape the outcomes in Iraq”
      Except that the outcome in Iraq is now vastly different than it was in 2002.  In fact, in terms of your stated main concern about Iraq, saving the lives of innocent civilians, Iraq has been better off in every year since 2002 than the average year in the decade prior to the invasion.
      I just am amazed sometimes by how on issues involving Obama Bush the visceral dislike you have for him causes you to engage in some of the most bizarre efforts to attack him, putting reality aside for some kind of pseudo-narrative.  I’m not sure if you’re trying to “spin memes” or really believe the stuff you post.

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