by Jeff Fecke | June 17, 2009
As events in Iran continue to unfold, the usual suspects are griping that Barack Obama is not spending enough time going on the teevee and proclaiming loudly that we’re on the side of the Iranian protesters, and that we want the Iranian government to topple.
|Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.|
That would be, of course, absolute insanity. Mousavi is not a liberal reformist who wants warm ties with America. And for obvious historical reasons, Iranians are deeply distrustful of American interference in their internal political affairs. If Obama came out strongly on Mousavi’s side, it would give the forces supporting Ahmadinejad a great card to play — the ability to paint Mousavi and his supporters as American puppets. It could sap support for the budding movement, stop it in its tracks. It would be the single worst thing Obama could do to the protesters.
And I think the right knows it.
Hilzoy is more charitable here than I would be in laying out the situation:
[C]omparisons to Reagan and Eastern Europe are ludicrous. We can debate how important Reagan’s various pronouncements about Eastern Europe were, but I do not recall anyone suggesting that they would not be welcomed by Eastern European dissidents, or would harm their cause. In this case, they could do real harm, which is why no Iranian human rights activists and opposition leaders that I’m aware of have called on Obama to speak out.
Question: do the people who make these arguments not know this? If they don’t — if they really believe that the question how Obama should respond is in any way like the question how Reagan should have responded to Eastern Europe — then they are completely ignorant of Iran’s history, and have no business commenting at all.
If they do know this, then either they genuinely believe that Obama ought to come out in favor of the protesters or they don’t. In the first case, I think they are deeply unwise. (Matt Yglesias on McCain: “a dangerous madman whose ideas would risk incredibly suffering and destruction around the world.”) In the second, they are advocating a policy that they know would harm the demonstrators they claim to support, demonstrators who are risking their lives. That would be deeply cynical, and vile beyond belief.
Deeply cynical? Vile beyond belief? That pretty much describes the right these days.
You see, the right is hammering Obama here because they assume that he cares enough about American interests in the region not to take the bait. They figure they can hammer Obama for not showing overt support because they know damn well that he can’t, not without harming the very movement that Obama’s words are supposed to back. Moreover, they get to paint Obama as “soft” on Ahmadinejad, and they get to play their favorite game, which involves our nation being Team America: World Police, but for real.
Of course, they know in their hearts that Obama is doing the right thing here, that jumping too hard right now could destroy a fragile movement for justice in Iran. But they don’t care. They don’t care about the people fighting for their freedom, and they don’t care about the people of Iran, and really, they don’t even care about the people of America.
They care about regaining power, and maybe starting a war. That’s it. And the only thing decent human beings should do is shun them utterly.
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