POLITICAL observations & opinions

* the crisis in Iran: after 8 years of unproductive Bush/Cheney bluster and wars of choice, Republicans still don’t get it; President Obama does

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 22, 2009

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the crisis in Iran: after 8 years of unproductive

Bush/Cheney bluster and wars of choice,

Republicans still don’t get it;

President Obama does


Anne Gearan writes for AP (6-21-09) …

  • Republicans intensified their criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of his first major test of
    Iran protester

    Iran protester

    international leadership, saying Sunday that he has been too cautious in response to Iran’s postelection upheaval.

    • Both the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly last week to condemn an official crackdown on the mostly peaceful demonstrations, a stronger action than the White House has yet taken.
    • Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC … “The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham. “He’s been timid and passive more than I would like.”
    • Sen. John McCain, R-AR, and others noted that Western leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have demanded a recount or more forcefully condemned the government crackdown. “I’d like to see the president be stronger than he has been, although I appreciate the comments that he made yesterday,” McCain said. “I think we ought to have America lead.”
    • Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IO, said a slow or muted U.S. response risks undermining the aspirations of Iranian voters to change or question their government. “If America stands for democracy and all of these demonstrations are going on in Tehran and other cities over there, and people don’t think that we really care, then obviously they’re going to question, ‘do we really believe in our principles?'” Grassley said.
  • But in an interview released Sunday, President Obama argued: “The last thing that I want to do is to have the United States be a foil for those forces inside Iran who would love nothing better than to make this an argument about the United States. We shouldn’t be playing into that.”
    • Obama has tried to hold a middle ground as the crisis unfolds, and found the ground shifting by the day. His advisers say any thunderous denunciation of Iran’s rulers would invite them to cry interference and might worsen the violence instead of end it.
    • Obama on Saturday challenged Iran’s government to halt a “violent and unjust” crackdown on dissenters, and he quoted Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
    • “Right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian people’s belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear
      Sen. Lugar

      Sen. Lugar

      witness,” Obama said.

  • Sen. Richard Lugar R-IN, a moderate Republican who holds the party’s top position on the Senate ForeignRelations Committee, seemed to echo Obama’s caution. “The challenge continues, which is going to come to a conclusion one way or another,” Lugar said. “Either the protesters bring about change or they’re suppressed, and it’s a potentially very brutal outcome at the end of the day.”

read the entire article at … http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090622/ap_on_go_pr_wh/us_us_iran_11


True leadership is far more than the bullying bluster of the Bush/Cheney years which set America’s position in the world to its lowest depths in memory.

President Obama, in his intelligent thoughtful approach and his willingness to listen, epitomized in his Cairo speech, has set a far different tone which has the possibility of a far different and better result. Does anyone think what’s going on in Iran is unrelated to the call for democracy and freedom in Cairo, and the implicit understanding that efforts in that direction would be welcome.

But to follow that caring outreach with blustering threats would, as President Obama has said, change the debate and permit the dictators in Iraq to demonize America instead of forcing them to respond to the calls for freedom from their own people.

How fortunate we are to have the president we do. And kudos to Dick Lugar for understanding and having the courage to say so.


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