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A Quick Round-up

Jeffrey Lord [1] thinks historical memory and national differences are irrelevant. Of course, he does. Philip Klein [2] thinks that what is needed is a lot more cheap talk that will get people killed because some Iranian activist says it sounds like a good idea. The activist was unhappy with Obama’s statement, which sounded to him like, “This is none of our business.” That’s not really what Obama said, but as it happens it is none of our business. Indeed, if there were the slightest chance of Obama being able to do something directly in support of the protesters that might involve risking American lives and interests, at least half of the people belittling him as the anti-Reagan and worse would be shouting about how it is none of our business, and they would be right. Everyone seems very willing to be very bold and zealous for the protesters’ cause so long as it doesn’t cost them anything, and they are even more enthusiastic if it serves as a handy cudgel with which to beat their political opponents here at home.

While we’re at it, let’s remember Reagan had leverage against the Soviets and the Polish government in 1981 because of all that dastardly detente, arms negotiations and the existence of trade relations with Poland. Thanks to thirty years of bankrupt Iran policy, we have very little leverage with the Iranian government, and this is a situation that the President’s critics would like to perpetuate indefinitely. If Obama’s choices are limited to remaining largely silent or saying something reckless, it is the result of thirty years of truly isolationist policy that the President’s critics have supported. Vilification, sanctions and hostility for decades have not made the regime more flexible, open or relaxed, but instead it has become even more inflexible, closed and repressive. Now we’re supposed to listen to the people who backed every failed policy towards Iran?

Update: Klein responds [3]:

And this is about more than “cheap talk,” it’s about the American president using his microphone [bold mine-DL] to stand up for democracy and human rights.

How could I have missed it? This is about the President’s cheap talk, not just any cheap talk. If the President were to follow this advice and “stand up for democracy and human rights,” what would it accomplish? It might make his critics happy, and maybe it would make him feel better. At best, it would provide some momentary consolation to the protesters, while doing nothing else for them, and at worst it would inspire them to take a more confrontational line against the government in the vain hope of foreign assistance. In that case, Obama will have taken a stand, and the protesters will have been beaten down even more severely.

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5 Comments To "A Quick Round-up"

#1 Comment By Indya On June 19, 2009 @ 9:34 am

Clearly. Paul Wolfowitz chimes in today in WaPo that “‘No Comment’ is not an option.”

BS. Obama has done the right thing to limit his commentary to denouncing the violence and encouraging freedom of speech, and otherwise respecting the sovereignty of the Iranian government and the right of the people to determine their own leadership.

Respecting sovereignty is something these people don’t understand, except when it comes to us.

#2 Comment By salaciouscrumb On June 19, 2009 @ 11:26 am

I checked out the “Iranian activist” who Phil Klein is glorifying and shit, this guy is a budding neocon Amir Fakhravar. The guy lives in LA and on his Facebook page, he has linked John Bolton and Richard Perle in favorite links. Cant help but feel this “oppressed victim” is enrolled in the “how to become Ahmed Chalabi” class at Neocon school.

He has an official website as well, so thats how I know I have the right guy on Facebook

#3 Comment By E.D. Kain On June 19, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

Isolationism as interventionism. Irony at its best. And now we’re left with nothing, no room to maneuver at all.

#4 Comment By Rowan On June 19, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

Fakhravar? That guy was outed as a neocon tool a few years ago, initially by Bernhard at Moon of Alabama:


#5 Comment By Brett On June 20, 2009 @ 3:28 am

My God, Lord’s statement was a pile of nonsense, Americanocentrism, and arrogance. He seriously thinks that we’re some type of shining city on a hill, and that everyone else will judge us by this as opposed to their own perceptions on the US, based on personal opinion, mythology, and history.

I find it incomprehensible. Why do these people think the US’s voice on this matter would be of any importance? Are they just diehard believers in the idea that nice rhetoric actually has real power when coming from a state that is seen as the boogeyman?