15 June 2009

Iran: Where's Obama?

He's being smart.

Some are demanding that President Obama issue a statement of support for the protesters in Iran. I'm inclined to back off on Obama for a bit. He's smart enough to observe and consider prior to making crucial statements that will ultimately impact foreign policy.

I'm guessing that he does stand with the Iranian protesters philosophically and emotionally. Pragmatically, however, he's got to play it cool because any support Obama shows might backfire: Ahmadinejad and Khamenei can spin any encouraging statement into evidence that the West orchestrated the protests. This would not only minimize the people's efforts and discredit the movement (by presenting protesters as dupes of the West), it would also provide the Iranian government with an excuse for an all-out purge.

Also, there's the nukes. We don't know how Iran's current internal strife will play out, and we don't know who we'll be sitting down to discuss nuclear terms with. Cold and unromantic, but that is the reality.

Update: Journalist Michael Scherer Tweets that President Obama will address the Iranian matter Monday evening at a press conference with Italy's Berlusconi. Of course reporters will deluge the men with questions about their stances on Iran. My guess? Any responses will be rather noncommittal; expect no Bush-like declarations of outrage or support for the protesters.

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