15 June 2009

Obama speaks about the Iranian election

Carefully nuanced, expertly expressed (and without a teleprompter...) Well done.

Via The Daily Dish.


  1. What a joy to have a president who can speak so cogently and diplomatically with no notes. It's always a pleasure to hear him speak, but the troubles in Iran required just the right words delivered in such a way that no harm would be done. Thank God this didn't happen on Bush's watch!

  2. I could not disagree more. He spoke very cogently and well indeed but it is essentially ambivalent. US involvement could be a convenient political ball for the ayatollah's to throw around but a strong show of support by the US could also be a big beacon of hope.

    Somehow I don't think this speech was what these students were looking for...

    I think the allusion to Solidarity in Poland is apt. Poland is a huge supporter of the US and even more so under George Bush (despite his reported ignorance at international relations) and it is in no small part to the strong support by the US government for a free Poland. I would have really loved to see Obama come out much more strongly in favor of the democratic forces here.

    He tells us he is deeply troubled by "the violence" as if it is some amorphous entity with no cause and not the result of the actions of the council of mullahs suppressing reaction to a rigged election. Why wouldn't he explicitly condemn the Iranian leadership for beating and killing protesters?

  3. sorry... forgot the link to the Poland reference http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/15/isfahan-tabriz-tehran-iranian-election-opinions-contributors-mousavi-ahmadinejad.html

  4. @A. Fischer - I assume you are aware that the ?first time the U.S. became actively involved in Iranian internal politics, our government was instrumental in overthrowing the democratically elected head of government there. If the United States hadn't overthrown the Mossadeq government in 1953, there might have been democracy in Iran for the past 55 years.

    Then we backed Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s!!

    Many Americans aren't aware of this, but I'll guarantee you that the Iranian people are.

    If we are seen as overthrowing this government and setting up a new one chosen by the intellectuals and urban youth, we risk that government being identified by the conservative rural population as yet another pawn of the U.S.

    Far better in my view for them to sort this out on their own. (Although I have no doubt that the CIA and Mossad are actively at work behind the scene these days.)

  5. Uh...wasn't Mohammad Mossadegh a nationalist who managed to throw Iran into economic ruin by nationalizing their oil production which resulted in both British and French oil companies pulling out? And wasn't he official deposed by the shah, but he refused to step down? And I might be wrong, but wasn't he elected after the former Iranian Prime Minister was assassinated?

    I'm not saying that we were justified in overt interference in Iranian internal politics, but blaming America for Iran's current political outlook seems a bit ostentatious.

    "Of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest of these, 'it might have been'" John Greenleaf Whittier


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