The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Silent Breeze

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes about the “Winds of Change” that he sees growing throughout the Middle East. In a surprising hat tip to an administration he reviled, Friedman writes:
… for real politics to happen you need space. There are a million things to hate about President Bush’s costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades. “Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous,” said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. “It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were.”

So Bush—a man who was roundly criticized as a simpleton by the MSM and every Left-leaning writer around the world—stuck with a simple vision and now we see “winds of change.”

Of course, Friedman goes on to credit Barack Obama’s soft power approach. Undoubtedly, Bush was hated by Arab fascist dictators, and Obama is much more, well, much more non-confrontational. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, his morally equivalent approach to Arab-Western conflict is not so much soft power as it is soft lies. But, if it works, maybe there’s some small benefit – a whisper of a breeze that he can credit as his own.

It is troubling, however, that the President remains strangely silent about the election results in Iran. If you can believe the reporting, millions of Iranians feel dispossessed by a fraudulent election “won” by Obama’s erstwhile negotiating partner, Mahmoud Amadinejad, an anti-Semitic, holocaust denying, Islamofascist who is the face of the dictatorship in Iran.

If we are to believe his supporters in the media, President Obama is now deeply respected throughout the Moslem world. Wouldn’t some explicit support for the Iranian “moderates” who were, it appears, robbed of an election victory, be in order? Wouldn’t that support urge the Iranian opposition to continue its “resistance?" Isn’t that in the best interests of the United States and the Iranian people?

Why the long silence? Why won’t our president take a strong position on this important Iranian election?

Update (6/15/09, 4:45pm EDT):

Michael Totten reports on the Iranian situation and provides three important pieces of information:
A reader comments at niacINsight:
“I am in Tehran. Its 3:40 in the morning. I’ve connected with you [by hacking past the government filter]. It’s a big mess here. People are yelling from their houses – ‘death to the dictator.’ They are setting up a military government. No one dares to go out. No one has seen Mousavi today. Rumor has it that they have arrested him. I don’t have an email but I will contact you again. Help us.

This isn’t encouraging:

According to our private phone conversations with people in Tehran, hundreds of parents have gathered by a police station in Yousef Abad, now known as Seyyed Jamal Aldin Asad Abadi, with their hands raised to the sky saying “Obama, please help us, they are killing our young children.”

The United States will not help. Senator Joe Lieberman, though, at least thinks we should say something.
[T]hrough intimidation, violence, manipulation, and outright fraud, the Iranian regime has once again made a mockery of democracy, and confirmed its repressive and dictatorial character.

We as Americans have a responsibility to stand in solidarity with people when they are denied their rights by repressive regimes. When elections are stolen, our government should protest. When peaceful demonstrators are beaten and silenced, we have a duty to raise our voices on their behalf. We must tell the Iranian people that we are on their side.

For this reason, I would hope that President Obama and members of both parties in Congress will speak out, loudly and clearly, about what is happening in Iran right now, and unambiguously express their solidarity with the brave Iranians who went to the polls in the hope of change and who are now looking to the outside world for strength and support.

Indeed. As always, Joe Lieberman, appears to be the conscience of the senate. I have to wonder whether Barack Obama will heed his advice.