Ron Rosenbaum, Writer

June 24, 2009

Don't Tell Anyone, You Might Ruin It, But….

Filed under: Uncategorized — ronrosenbaumwriter @ 11:12 am

…it’s interesting to see the way both Left and Right and all those in between have, with the exception of a few crackots on either side, come toegther, in spirit at leas,t to support the courageous opposition to fascist theocracy in Iran.

Yes, there are differences, some say Obama should have been spredier to condemn. I tend to think that he was being cautious, in not allowing the Iranian opposiition to be discredited internally and in the Muslim world as pawns of the U.S.

Maybe this caution was a misjudgement, I’m not sure anyone can say so with confidence. But right now the entire spectrum of usually warring ideologues–except for those who feel the need to be partisan over any other emotion–are on the same page.

It doesn’t mean that will accomplish anything, and it shouldn’t be a surprize that the jackbooted thugs of theocracy aren’t drawing a lot of support. But maybe we should savor small moments of unity, communion even.

Of course I’m sure i’ll get more deranged hatemail for suggesting this than for anything else, most of it I’ll wager from the ususal anonymous cowards hiding behind their screennames. But maybe not. Maybe they’ll take courage from the students of Terhan and boldly, oh so boldly, use their own names. I know you can do it guys! Taste the freedom that people fight and die for.


  1. “I tend to think that he was being cautious, in not allowing the Iranian opposiition to be discredited internally”

    This defense of Obama is not going to wash. He did not have to initially take sides. Obama merely had to remind the mullahs that they promised their citizens a fair election. Were they not telling the truth? Obama could have added that countries that ostensibly have fair elections—also allow peaceful dissent. Obama blew the opportunity of being very diplomatic and forceful at the same time. He could have virtually had his cake and ate it too.

    Comment by David Thomson — June 24, 2009 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  2. “I tend to think that he was being cautious, in not allowing the Iranian opposition to be discredited internally”

    You’re a nice guy, Ron. Jimmy Carter was cautious about criticizing the Russians before the invasion of Afghanistan. The Vatican was cautious about criticizing Hitler.

    Caution in the face of glaring injustice and brutality is cowardly and immoral, Ron. Silent witness to crime is complicity.

    Obama and the State Department were hoping to demonstrate their new approach to Mid-East diplomacy to the mullahs. To grovel before obscene old fanatic they acknowledge for Supreme Leader demonstrate their respect and beg forgiveness for past American sins.

    Alas, the dissidents are upsetting the Administration’s carefully laid plans. Now the administration and State are left to play catchup and balance their statements between support for the annoyingly popular dissidents while cautiously avoiding offense to the mullahs who they hope and expect will be crush the dissidents. Otherwise how will Obama and State implement their new screw-our-friends-and-suck-up-to-our-enemies policy in the Mid East?

    Sound hidebound and inflexible? Study the administration’s policy on closing Gitmo against all logic and despite all evidence that the closing is costly, inconvenient and serves no earthly purpose beyond demonstrating stubbornly arrogant consistency.

    Obama is head of the Democratic Party. But he’s no democrat in the generic sense. The State Department is a stumbling, decrepit arm of government rotten with foreign influences and alleigances. It is a disgrace to the flag and to the American People.

    Simple patriotism demands that both the current administration and the state department be firmly opposed.

    Amazing intelligent criticism from two non anonymous sources. Not that I agree, but thanks. I refuse to engage in any serious way with the anonymous cowards, but you two sound like you’ve at least had an education.

    Did you ever consider that Obama’s goal might be the same as yours and mine–getting rid of a “fascist theocracy” as I called it in my CNN post below–but that his tactics might be different because he believed they’d be more effective? Would the regime have fallen if he’d followed your advice (which was what? different words? an invasion?) Have you read the letters from reformers and opposition leaders urging the U.S. to low-profile it at least in the beginning? Better to listen to you? Even they can’t agree what effect earlier U.S. intervention (again, of what sort?) might have had. But you know to a certainty. Have you read enough history to realize that not all historical situations are the same, nor do they all yield the same answers, same best tactics? I’m sure you’re a brilliant historical analyst of Iranian politics, but you might not have all the answers. Why is everyone such a know-it-alll?

    Comment by David Levavi — June 24, 2009 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  3. Ha ha, you coward, you deleted my comment.

    You’re so scared of dissent. Poor you.

    Enjoy your irrelevancy.

    Comment by Evil Pundit — June 25, 2009 @ 2:53 am | Reply

  4. There’s something, I’m not sure of the right term, bracing, maybe, for those of us who have never had to do much for our freedoms to see people willing to and actually dying to gain their own version of freedom.

    Obviously, whether one is on the right or left, Iran flipping to an Iraq-style democracy would be a huge moment in world history. And one of the nice things about it is that the right could take credit and say it’s proof that Bush was right, and the left could take credit by claiming it was Obama’s doing.

    I think he’s handled this fairly well, so far.

    Comment by Rob — June 25, 2009 @ 7:56 pm | Reply

  5. of course, anonymity is essential when posting from Iran…the only thing worse than posting anonymously on this blog, would be actually knowing who these people are (vis the Michigan cop last summer), so be careful what you wish for, RON!!

    Comment by charlie finch — June 26, 2009 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  6. Ron:

    “Did you ever consider that Obama’s goal might be the same as yours and mine–getting rid of a “fascist theocracy” as I called it in my CNN post below–but that his tactics might be different because he believed they’d be more effective?”

    With all due respect, Ron you’re confusing tactics with strategy. Obama has a very clearly enunciated new policy (strategy) toward the Middle East and to the world in general. He wants to improve relations by admitting and apologizing for past American misdeeds and demonstrating a new openness and humility in dealing with former adversaries. The suggestion made is that such a friendly approach hasn’t been tried before

    You don’t have to be a “know it all” to know this is a false view of recent history. Obama may be new but humbling ourselves before our enemies–and Iran is a vicious and murderous enemy of America and Americans– is old hat.

    Jimmy Carter, pious hypocrite that he was and is, played the fraudulent humility card throughout his blessedly brief time in office. Jimmy ate humble pie like it was peaches and cream. Played the long-suffering saint, stubbornly resolute peacemaker, in the face of true suffering and death visited on Americans by Iranians on American property.

    It did Carter no good. Won him and the nation he represented nothing but humiliation and contempt from the Mullahs.

    Then came Reagan, Carter’s polar opposite. Reagan’s people were in touch with the Ayatollahs’s people before Carter was out of office. This ugly bit of collusion with a hostile foreign power, shabby treatment of a sitting president, even one so worthless as Carter, profited the Gipper not at all.

    Buoyed by the cooperation of the Iranians in the ouster of Carter, Reagan thought he could improve relations with the Mullahs. Remember the jerks from White House and the State Department arriving in Teheran with a cake in the shape of a Bible as a gift for the Ayatollah, Ron? No? I guess you have to be a “know it all” to remember such little details.

    The mullahs didn’t like Reagan any better than they liked Carter. Respected and perhaps feared him more but despised him equally. Killed Americans wholesale and drove us out of Lebanon with car and truck bombs.

    Three Administrations between Reagan and Obama each took their turn at improving relations with the mullahs. Each was frustrated and ended openly hostile to the regime.

    Nine-eleven forced George w, Bush into a policy of rare moral clarity: Nations easily defined as friends were friends. Nations plainly hostile to us were enemies. Pugnacious pauper regimes like Syria were told to take their beggar’s cup and their hate elsewhere and not come knocking at our door again until they were ready to change their ways.

    At Foggy Bottom such lack of subtlety didn’t go over very well. In the intelligence services–a misnomer if ever there was one–as in Academia, there was consternation as well. Bush, like Reagan (shudder) was a cowboy absent any semblance of intelligence, tact or diplomacy. High-minded unelected bureaucrats at State and CIA subverted Administration policy and undermined the President.

    So much for strategy or policy. Suffice it that sucking up to the mullahs, obnoxious though they are, is not a policy invented by Obama.

    The immediate response of an American president to dissidents in the streets of Iranian cities is a matter of tactics. Obama was slow on the uptake, uncertain of his position and guided purely by politics. He could have taken the high-road, been righteous and forceful. Instead, he weasled around, unwilling to offend the mullahs to the detriment of his announced policy of friendly engagement with Muslim royals, dictators and holies.

    And this isn’t the first instance. Candidate Obama’s response to Russian tanks rolling into Georgia was equally slow, uncertain and amoral. On Iran as on Georgia, Obama toughened up his rhetoric only after it became clear that healthy American public opinion demanded it. Obama takes the rhetorical highroad and regularly strikes a high moral tone in his speeches. But under duress, morality doesn’t enter into his decision making. He’s a seasoned Chicago pol who knows how to land on his feet but distinguishing between good and evil is a challenge. And, the evidence suggests, always has been.

    The real difference between Obama’s friendly approach to the mullahs and that of previous administrations save Carter’s is that former administrations viewed Iranian-American relations in historical terms. They knew that, diplomatically, were treading well worn ground. Thet recognized that they were playing the latest version of a the long-evolving Great Game against a seasoned and cynical Persian opponent with a cynical and seasoned Russian opponent next door.

    Obama, however, is entirely sincere. Muslims have been dissed by past administrations and this president is determined to show them respect. The Mullah’s brutal oppression of women, homosexuals, Jews, Baha’is and anyone who opposes them are, like Rev. Wright’s or Rev Farrakhan’s crude prejudices and preaching, minor failings to be overlooked in the struggle to achieve larger moral objectives. Obama, like Carter before him, sees the world through the lens of America’s enemies. He imagines moral equivalence with the Mullahs just as Carter imagined moral equivalence with the Soviets.

    You have confidence in this President, Ron, I have none. He’s come very far, very fast. His every step is a mile to mine or yours. His political abilities are well proven. But he‘s wildly unqualified for the office.

    I’m extreme in my skepticism, too, Ron. I think there are gaping holes in Obama’s fundamental knowledge and understanding of world history and politics. Twenty years with the Rev. Wright and an easy friendship with the Rev. Farrakhan suggest to me that this President is chock full of primitive African American misconceptions and prejudices.

    I would wager, Ron, that if you gave Barack obama an unmarked outline map of the world and asked him to name the continents, he wouldn’t do better than four out of seven. I believe he would flub even an easy quiz in European or Middle East history. He has opinions and prejudices but they aren’t grounded in knowledge. And he’s hidebound and stubborn to boot. The presidential learning curve is steep and he isn’t flexible.

    But you have confidence in this brilliantly successful naif, Ron, and probably can’t imagine such ignorance in a sitting president. I hope you’re right.

    Comment by David Levavi — June 26, 2009 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

  7. Your last paragraph, Ron, shows you up for what you are: a condescending little creep.

    Comment by Carl Sesar — June 27, 2009 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

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