Friday, June 19, 2009

Obama on Iran

I've been waiting for someone to sum up the arguments surrounding President Obama's (lack of a) stance on the post-election protests in Iran. James Taranto has published as good a digest as I could have hoped for. In classic blogographic style, I agree (why else would I have linked him?). I think Obama was right to avoid strident early support of the protest movement which could have undermined the protesters' confidence in the sovereignty of their own motivations. Nothing takes the wind out of authentic outrage faster than the suspicion you're playing into the hands of meddling superpowers. The regime's own propaganda machines are spinning this angle anyway, so it's a valid concern. But Obama's increasingly tepid responses over the past week are beginning to sound not measured and reasonable but absurd against the backdrop of the historic protests. As Taranto puts it:
The trouble with Obama's comments is not that they are insufficiently belligerent in tone but that they are craven in substance. If the president spoke with clarity and firmness, his doing so calmly would be a plus.

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