Obama tightens the Iranian fist 0

John Ellis writes in Front page Magazine of the effect Obama had on the incipient Iranian revolution (read it all here):

In a situation like this, Barak Obama was not powerless to affect the outcome, as his defenders suggest.  As spokesman for the most powerful nation on earth, he was in a position to make a real difference to the all-important psychology on both sides—and that is exactly what he did.  But instead of building up the confidence of the protesters (and simultaneously undermining that of the security apparatus) with encouragement and a ringing endorsement of what they were doing, what he actually did was to give comfort to the forces of repression and undermine the confidence of the Iranian people. 

Was this factor important enough to affect the outcome?  We can never know for sure, but we can say two things with certainty.  First, that this was evidently a close call for the regime, and that, to judge from the visible uncertainty of the security forces in the early going, the tipping point was nearly reached.  And second, that Obama’s words discouraged the protesters in the street, and gave aid and comfort to the Ahmadinejad regime.  We can only conclude that it is quite possible, though not certain, that in a closely balanced situation Obama’s words retarded momentum that had neared the tipping point and thus saved the day for the regime. 

What about his later self-correction?  There can be no doubt that it was completely irrelevant.  The crisis of confidence had already passed.  Obama spoke up only after the security forces had begun to seriously crack down—in other words, only after they knew what the outcome would be, as did the protesters.  By the time he changed his tune, what he said no longer had any power to affect the outcome.  

The stakes in this potential Iranian revolution were enormous.  Iranian mischief-making throughout the Middle East could have been ended, and a force for the good in the region could have replaced its most persistent source of evil.  Obama had claimed that his diplomatic skill could solve the Iranian nuclear threat where George W. Bush had failed, but when an opportunity was presented to him to do much more than this, he squandered it in one of the worst foreign policy blunders since Jimmy Carter.

We aren’t so sure about ‘a force for the good’ replacing the present Iranian regime if the incipient revolution had succeeded. We aren’t sure that any likely or possible change in Iran would be all that great. But some change might have brought some relief. Anyway, we agree that Obama once again betrayed the better side.   

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Iran, Islam, News, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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