Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama Must Choose Sides in Iran

Quick aside: I'm still amazed at the lagging news cycle. This New York Times piece, "In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests," is for tomorrow's paper (via Memeorandum).

Some newspaper coverage has been good, but the transimission of information via the dinosaur hard-copy press has been dreadful.

In any case, Bruce Thornton's essay goes well with the Ramirez cartoon above, "
Standing with Freedom: Obama Must Choose Sides":
Remember when the liberal punditariat sneered at George Bush for putting Iran in the “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address? Whole legions of sophisticated, nuanced thinkers rushed to explain the crudity of Bush’s thinking, not to mention his indulgence of dangerous religious ideas like “good” and “evil.” Iran is not a Hitlerian totalitarian state, they sniffed, and elections are held there, offering some level of democracy.

Typical of such thinking is a column not long ago by the New York Times’ Roger Cohen, in which this nuanced thinker wrote: “Totalitarian regimes require the complete subservience of the individual to the state and tolerate only one party to which all institutions are subordinated. Iran is an un-free society with a keen, intermittently brutal apparatus of repression, but it's far from meeting these criteria. Significant margins of liberty, even democracy, exist. Anything but mad, the mullahs have proved malleable. Most of Iran's population is under 30; it's an Internet-connected generation. Access to satellite television is widespread. The BBC's new Farsi service is all the rage. . . . The June presidential election pitting the incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, against Mohammad Khatami (a former president who once spoke in a synagogue) will be a genuine contest as compared to the charades that pass for elections in many Arab states. No fire has burned down the Majlis, or parliament.”

I wonder what the people in the streets of Tehran would think about this “genuine contest,” or whether they appreciate Cohen’s sophistries like “un-free” and “intermittently brutal” and “margins of liberty” and “complete subservience to the state.” What percentage of a citizen’s freedom has to be eliminated before a regime will meet Cohen’s criteria for “complete subservience”? Let’s see, all candidates for office have to be approved in advance by the mullahs, and even then the election is blatantly stolen, after which protesters are killed and beaten, opposition leaders and their families arrested, the media silenced and internet interdicted, the “Supreme Leader” (sic!) Ayatollah Khamenei publicly threatens violence against his own citizens, gangs of paramilitary thugs rampage through Tehran like storm troopers ––looks pretty totalitarian to me, though time will tell whether it ultimately lasts or not.
More here.

Interesting how Thornton singles out Roger Cohen as a key example (he's really a "water carrier" for Obama's policy of engaging Iran). Recall that all of a sudden, Cohen's a superstar for the leftists,
Andrew Sullivan, for example, who says he "saw it coming." And that a hoot!

As as
Jeffrey Goldberg indicates:
Roger Cohen in no way "saw this coming." In fact, he made a name for himself internationally as one of the leading Western apologists for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, arguing that the regime was substantially benign and that engagement with these murderers was practically a moral necessity. He saw nothing coming, nothing at all.
Sullivan keeps digging here.

Thank you Jeffrey Goldberg!

Cartoon Credit:
Michael Ramirez.


Mark Harvey said...

Obama already has chosen sides. The extended invitation to known terrorists and promoters of terrorism have been reinforced to come visit and celebrate of July 4th Holiday with the Obama Marxist and "out of the closet" Muzzie Clan.

Nick Stone said...

Choosing sides would be a political disaster the likes of which we haven't seen since Reagan. Period.

Dennis said...

That has to be the dumbest statement I have read anywhere.

Rich Casebolt said...

Drawlines ... "disaster" like what Mr. Reagan wrought ... in Eastern Europe?

Mr. Reagans approach to Iran, OTOH ... same "realism" as Mr. Obama's.

That was the problem.

Without freedom ... and the respect for it ... peace is not "realist" ... but just an illusion.

Rich Casebolt said...

And ... Mr. Reagan was dealing with a more pressing problem than Iran at the time.

Today, Iran is the most pressing problem. A move to rights-respecting governance would remove or diminish MANY threats to peace worldwide.

If the world had Mr. Reagan's wisdom, they would deal with the most pressing problem of our day ... as he did in his day.

Eskimohorn said...

Tough talk would only rally anti-American sentiment in Iran and undermine the message of the Iranian protest movement. Obama's pragmatic approach is conservative, yet sound. America is not the World Police, and we are not in any position to exercise or threaten anyone since we're still engaged in Iraq & Afghanistan.

I'm not sure what actual solutions you have in mind, and I haven't heard any conservative pundits go on record on how exactly they would assist the Iranian protestors outside of tough talk, which is what the Iranian government wants to aid their propaganda efforts.

Anonymous said...

The wannabe conservative fear-mongering method of problem solving seems to take the approach that one should whip out the weiner (or the lack of it), and hoping someone feels threatened.

George Bush did it for 8 years and apparently some of these people still think it works.

You know when you get beaten up 20 times and still keep getting up, yah would think they'd consider a different approach.

Dave said...

Obama has already chosen sides, as he has been trying to arrange a threesome between himself, Akhmedinadinnerjacket, and that Nork gargoyle, since even before he became POTUS.


Dave said...

Anon the nadless,

American presidents should always speak up in support of those yearning for freedom.

Obama has, to my knowledge, yet to utter the word freedom publicly, yet Ronald Reagan (whose newspaper Obama would be unfit to fetch) could barely complete a sentence without using that word.

BTW, tell us again how many times the 7th Century camel-washers attacked this country, or its interests, while GWB was CIC, vs. how many times we were hit while Billy Jeff was busy playing hide-the-cigar with a fat-ass intern.