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Obama / Bush?

Posted by on Jun 25, 2009 in Ahmadinejad, Democracy, Foreing Policy, Iran, President Bush, President Obama | 0 comments

Iranian President Ahmadinejad is now comparing President Obama to President Bush. Apparently, Ahmadinejad takes issue with our U.S. President recognizing incivility and tyranny when he sees it. For those who support President Obama, this should be an encouraging development.

Recall Hillary Clinton’s warnings during the 2008 campaign that the Presidency is no place to learn on the job? (With regard to foreign policy experience.) Well it seems that while President Obama undeniably required on-the-job training in foreign policy, he appears to be a quick study.
President Obama rightly considered the calculus with recognizing the turmoil in Iran. If he said nothing in response to the images of Iranian citizens being beaten and otherwise oppressed, he would have tacitly validated such actions. This would not only be morally wrong, but antithetical to everything the United States stands for, and was founded upon.
The theoretical “downside” to President Obama (rightly) condemning the Iranian electoral irregularities and suppression of all opposition, involves damage to U.S./Iranian relations. However, the question becomes: “What is the extent of those relations, and how, if at all, can they be any worse?” President Ahmadinejad cares little for the U.S., and cares even less what the world community has said about the Iranian Nuclear Program. Thus, the U.S. and the world community have more to gain if the protesters somehow obtain redress, than we would gain by avoiding the aspersions of the current Iranian government.
Although supporters of President Obama surely cringe at comparisons made between he and President Bush, they should take solace in the statement as a compliment. President Bush may have made foreign policy mistakes, but he always spoke out in favor of taking action to support and secure democracies in a very troubled area of the world. I was not sure if President Obama would follow the same course. He has proven me wrong in this instance, and I gladly accept my error.
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The “Green” Velvet Revolution?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2009 in Ahmadinejad, Iran, Mousavi, President Obama, U.S. | 0 comments

Where is the western response to the election results protesters in Iran? President Obama indicated that the policies of Mousavi, the opponent to current President Ahmadinejad, may not be much different from the status quo. Is the intended inference that America, as the beacon of hope and democracy for the world, should not support protesters seeking democracy, if their candidate has similar policies to the current leader?

The next purported rationale for a response of deafening silence is that we (the U.S.) should not volunteer to be the scapegoat for Pres. Ahmadinejad. Meaning that if the U.S. makes a bold statement calling for an election recount or other acknowledgement of the protesters, Pres. Ahmadinejad will draw nationalistic support from his constituency, and possibly from some of the protesters themselves.
The latter rationale does have some merit, while the first rationale is devoid of America’s true role in the world. Waiting a few days to avoid becoming a scapegoat for the unrest makes sense. But the time has come to proclaim that America supports democracy and freedom in all forms and by all peoples. If France had taken a similar stance to President Obama during the American Revolution, history may have been different. Of course, I do not suggest providing the protesters with arms, but I do support making it known that we in the U.S. stand with the protesters in Iran that seek to be heard.
If we remain silent now and the Iranian government decides to end the protests by force, we become not only a witness, but an accomplice to tyranny. If we shout to the world that we stand with those who seek and support democracy, we become a patron to that ideal.
The words and images of the tens of thousands of protesters in Iran from the past few days are nothing short of inspiring, dramatic and invigorating. I hope the world response is of equal effect.
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