Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obama Resists McCain's Counterproductive Stance On Iranian Election

A contrast between the responses of John McCain and Barack Obama to election turmoil in Iran reminds us that, at least in the U.S., the better candidate won. McCain wants America to forget about dialogue and opt for sanctions and condemnation:

McCain: I hope that we will act and, by the way, Senator Lieberman has a proposal that we put sanctions on countries that sell gasoline to Iran. We ought to think about passing that legislation... Well, initial reports by, quote, administration officials, are that they say that they’re not going to change their policy of dialogue, et cetera, et cetera. I think they should be condemned, and it’s obvious that this was a rigged election and depriving the people of their democratic rights. We are for human rights all over the world.

Demonstrating more knowledge of history and international relations, President Obama is wary of displays of disapproval that are ultimately counterproductive:

Obama: It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections. … I do believe that something has happened in Iran where there is, there is a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past, and that there are people that want to see greater openness and greater debate and want to see greater democracy. (h/t Think Progress)

Backing Obama's position, Senator Richard Lugar (R) of Indiana stated, "...our position is to allow the Iranians to work out their situation... For us to become heavily involved in the election at this point is to give the clergy an opportunity to have an enemy...and to use us, really, to retain their power." Former Bush Ambassador to Iran Nicholas Burns said, “President Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to see a very aggressive series of statements by the United States that would try to put the U.S. in the center of this.”

Also supporting Obama's stance is Trita Parsi, founder of the National Iranian American Council: “The framing that Ahmadinejad is presenting is one in which essentially the whole [opposition] is a Western media conspiracy...the administration is doing exactly the right thing. They’re not rushing in and they’re not playing favorites. They might prefer the democratic process to be respected, but that’s different than [supporting a] specific faction."


mjmand said...

McCain's criticism surprises me. Here is the perfect opportunity to invoke the memory of Republican hero Ronald Reagan in, what is possibly, the only complement I will ever bestow upon him. During the implosion of the Soviet Union, Reagan, in the words of Hendrick Hertzberg in his New Yorker obituary, "was smart of enough to get out of Gorbachev's way and let it happen." (Probably not an exact quote, but since it was not my idea, I opted for the sitation.) No intervention, no invective, no prodding was needed. Nor is it here. Once again, Obama has it right.

neil fabricant said...

You can see why McCain finished at the bottom of his class at Annapolis and Obama at the top at Harvard. Aside from his belligerent frat boy world view,
McCain has been getting an ethical pass for years. During the Keating 5 scandal, the Great Apologizer had the deepest financial involvement and personal
relationship with the convicted S&L swindler--McCain and wife vacationed with him in the Bahamas, and his wife and father-in-law were investors. But the senate ethics committee (now there's an oxymoron)gave him the mildest rebuke; it was made to appear as though he was just doing his senate colleagues a favor. "Mistakes in Judgment."
> He repeated the money and politics scam more recently during the presidential campaign in which his top campaign finance people were also top Airbus lobbyists. They were the conduit for major Airbus money that flowed into his campaign. McCain reciprocated by pressuring the Pentagon to award a multibillion contract to Airbus in its competition with Boeing. One Pentagon official said he had never experienced that much pressure in a long career.It's all easily available on the
internet. The contract had to be rebid because of irregularities. I haven't followed the story since.

Neil Fabricant


Jeff Tone said...

mjmand: Actually, I'm not surprised by McCain's criticism. His foreign policy pronouncements during the presidential campaign came right out of the Bush playbook. His belligerency was also apparent during the Russian-Georgian war.

neil: "Belligerent frat boy world view" is exactly right. I'm glad that we don't have a president who embraces the cowboy diplomacy that we had for eight years.