Do Not Seek the Treasure

by

Also, do not thwart the democratic will of Iranians.  It’s a bushwhack.

For all our vaunted land of the free and home of democracy rah-rah-ism, they are way more serious about this democracy stuff than American citizens are. We thwarted them once, in 1953, and we’ve been paying for it ever since (thanks, CIA!).  Now their own government seems to shaken the same hornets’ nest.

There’s a lot of discussion about what the Obama administration should do or say about the goings-on.  Not surprisingly, Republicans criticize Obama for not jumping foursquare behind the protesters.  They do this because, well, because criticize Obama is what they do, but also because they, in their zealous American exceptionalism, believe a cheering word from America would drive the protesters to victory.  John McCain reflexively leaped to their support, and called on Obama to do the same.  You might recall that McCain did exactly the same thing, and just as reflexively, during last fall’s election, only the “them” was Georgia, facing a Russian invasion.  You might also recall that, as it turned out, the whole thing was Georgia’s fault.  McCain had been defending the aggressor (though a losing aggressor), not the victim.

It seems to me the GOP might have learned something from that experience.  Not so much.

But others are criticizing Obama’s mild response, too.

George Packer is one of them.  I rarely disagree with Packer; practically never in public.  But he was wrong about the Iraq War, and I think he’s wrong about this, too.

Obama’s response has been correct.  The worst thing he could do would be to inject the Great Satan into the mix by declaring America for one side or the other.  The best cudgel we could hand the current Iranian regime would be the ability to proclaim that America was interfering in Iran’s internal politics again, violating its sovereignty again, and that Mousavi is an American stalking horse.

Much as we’d like to see these plucky Iranians succeed in righting what looks to be a major wrong, there’s nothing we can do about it right now.  It’s an internal Iranian matter, and we should leave it that way.  It’s none of our business unless or until some meaningful Iranian representative asks us to get involved.

It might be best for us to stay out even then, but we definitely shouldn’t stick our nose in uninvited.  Obama criticized the violence, recognized Iran’s sovereignty, and expressed a desire to see the election decided justly.  That seems about right, to me.

Update (6/17/09 6:48 pm): I should pay more attention to timestamps.  I don’t have time to read all the stuff I’m interested in, so I play a perpetual game of musical-chairs catch-up — get behind on a few blogs for a few days while staying up to date on others, then vice versa.  Had I paid more attention while catching up on Packer’s blog, I’d have noticed that his first post was written before the Obama statement I described as “about right.”  I still disagree with Packer’s assessment in that post, but I should’ve noted that his view shifted when Obama said more.

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7 Responses to “Do Not Seek the Treasure”

  1. ME Says:

    Just imagine if we had elected this guy:

    • urbino Says:

      Hey, we still might. Joe Biden says he’s not ruling out a 2016 run. He and McCain could argue over the best policy for getting those kids off the lawn.

  2. ME Says:

    BTW: Nothing better than an “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” reference.

  3. urbino Says:

    We’re big fans around here, too.

    I forgot something else Obama did: got Twitter to postpone their scheduled maintenance outage so it wouldn’t interrupt Iranian protesters’ tweeting to organize their rallies.

    That’s the kind of help those folks can actually use.

    • DeJon05 Says:

      I heard a short mention about this on NPR this morning, and it struck me as more than just a “ho-hum” news item as well.

  4. More Packer « Hungry Hungry Hippos Says:

    […] By urbino First, please see my update to my previous post about Packer’s reaction to […]

  5. It’s How They Do « Hungry Hungry Hippos Says:

    […] care very much about hollerin’ for whichever side they think is good.  (John McCain is the poster child for this […]

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