June 16, 2009
Obama to Iranian Protesters: You're On Your Own
It is apparent that the protesters in Iran are not going to get any help from the Obama Administration.
It's a shame, too, because Iran could well be at the tipping point. There are specific times in history where a small push could have taken events in another direction. There were Five Days in May, 1940, where Britain teetered between accepting a Hitler dominated Europe and fighting.
We could be at a similar point in Iran. The demonstrations in Tehran against the government are huge, as has been widely reported. One to two million people have participated, and there have been several fatalities as a result of shooting by the police. The regime is obviously worried, and on Monday Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered the Guardian Council to investigate charges of vote fraud. Today the council agreed to a limited recount. All this is simply an attempt to appease the protesters and is therefore for show, but the fact they're doing it shows that they fear they may lose control.
Let's be clear; the lead challenger, Mir-Hussein Mousavi, is no boy scout. It's not that I think he will lead the country to freedom. What I want is regime change. The way to do it is support a counterrevolution that will sweep the current government from power, and institute a new constitution. It's about establishing true liberty and democracy (not quite the same thing), and ridding the country of theocracy.
Stuck In Reactionary Mode
To the Obama Administration none of this matters. The only thing they seem to care about is setting up negotiations. As an AP story has it:
The United States urged Iran on Monday to agree to a meeting with the six key nations trying to ensure that its nuclear program is peaceful in which the U.S. will be "a full participant."
U.S. deputy ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo told the U.N. Security Council that Iran has not responded to the request from the five permanent council members -- the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France -- and Germany for new talks, which would be the first international discussion on Iran's nuclear program since President Barack Obama took office in January.
Of course Iran hasn't responded. They're busy trying to quel a counterrevolution.
So what is the Obama Administration doing?
At a press conference earlier today President Obama said that "It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling." Uh huh. So it would be ok to "meddle" if we had a different history? Or we just shouldn't "meddle" at all?
Either way, perhaps on his next apology tour he could stop by South Africa and apologize for "meddling" during their apartheid era.
In a response to a question during Monday's press briefing Obama sounded like like one of those computer programs that strings together pre-written phrases. Here's an excerpt
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....
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...blah blah blah.
What meaningless drivel. It's a series pre-written bureaucratic statements applicable to any situation. If there's trouble in Cuba next month we'll here the same thing but with different proper nouns and the sentences in a different order.
Allahpundit points out that
Whereas The One was "shocked and outraged" by the murder of George Tiller, the most he can muster here for mass beatings and cold-blooded killings across Iran is that he's "troubled." Make of it what you will.
On Sunday Secretary of State Clinton said that
We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide.
The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran. We obviously hope that the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.
Hope may have made a fine campaign slogan but it isn't a foreign policy for adults. More, it doesn't do squat to help the Iranian people.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly "declined to condemn the Iranian security forces for their crackdown on street protesters."
Further, unless additional information comes to light I think it clear that what's happening in Iran is the result of internal forces and not the result of anything any American president has done.
It is quite possible that Western intelligence forces are working behind the scenes, much as they did in Poland in the 1980s, to effect regime change. But until we have direct evidence of this we must assume it is not occurring, or at least not occurring to the point where it would have any effect on the outcome.
So if the protesters do succeed and force an accurate and true count of the votes, or better still bring down the government, President Obama cannot claim credit.
Melanie Phillips nails it
What is weakening the regime is not Obama's appeasement. It is resistance. It is the fact that the people did not take their stolen election lying down but turned out in their hundreds of thousands to demand justice - and are prepared to die for it - that has rocked the regime. With a reported twenty people dead yesterday and hundreds more injured at the hands of the regime's thugs, the people have now been galvanised still further. Staring at what might well be a true counter-revolutionary moment, the regime is wobbling, and has now announced there will be a recount of the vote.
And still Obama is getting it wrong. Not surprising -- having made nice with the tyrants and thus undermined the democrats he has been badly caught out and clearly doesn't know what to do. With whom does he now side? His reaction -- as promulgated by his fawning acolyte Miliband -- is to be even-handed and support neither. How appalling. The President of America should have immediately condemned in the strongest possible terms this brutal onslaught against people trying to claim their democratic rights, and supported them against injustice and oppression.
But he was silent for a full two days before finally coming up with a mealy-mouthed statement last night that he was 'deeply troubled' by events in Iran and that Iran's leaders should respect the 'universal values' of the democratic process. Clearly he was worried that if he supported the demonstrators, he might scupper his 'grand bargain' with the regime in which they get their nukes and he gets some meaningless agreement they won't use them. Thus appeasement betrays freedom many times over.
As the Confederate Yankee put it, "Obama got his 3:00 AM call, and refused to pick up the phone."
The Imperative of Regime Change
The objectives are one, to keep Iran from getting the bomb, or if they do make sure that the government is controlled by responsible people. I do not fear nuclear weapons in the hands of democratic France, I do fear them in the hands of the mullahs who rule Iran. Second, our objective is for Iran to stop promoting terror and terrorist organizations. Third, it is in our moral interest for human rights to be respected in as many places as possible.
The only way to achieve these objectives is through a change of government. Changing out the leaders won't work if the current constitution is left in place. A new constitution is needed.
The reason Obama needs to stop this mealymouthed nonsense is that may we have an opportunity to change the regime in Iran, and if we do not act the moment may be lost. The situation in Iran could go either way. The government may be able to regain control, even though it will be permanently damaged. But it could also lose control, with the whole theocracy swept away. What the United States says or does could make the difference.
At the very least, as Jim Geraghty and others have said that one way to influence events would be to hint that we won't talk with the Iranians if their crackdown continues. In March Iranian spokesmen told Obama to kiss off, they weren't interested in negotiations. As I said yesterday, the President of the United States confers legitimacy on whomever he meets. He should not meet with any Iranian leaders after they commit such election fraud.
Posted by Tom at June 16, 2009 10:30 PM
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President Obama is absolutely doing the correct thing by keeping us out of Iranian internal politics.
To offer help or support to the protesters would only strengthen the hand of Ahmadinajad and the ruling council by giving them a strong propaganda tool.
It's up to the Iranian people to institute regime change. Look what it got us in Iraq Tom. The Iraqi government is closer to the Iranians than us.
Just as the Philipine people threw out Marcos, so should the Iranian people throw out their current leaders. Then we can offer help.
What kind of help could we give anyway? Send guns? Cell phones?
Our best course is to let the iranians fed up with oppression and hate handle this. And one other thing. We all remember protesters in our own Country being cracked in the head and killed during the Vietnam War. Don't tell me you would have welcomed Iranian critizism, or offers of "help" to the protesters from Iran or the Soviets.
Posted by: Truth 101 at June 17, 2009 8:54 PM