Patterico's Pontifications

6/15/2009

Iranians Detonate Reality Bomb

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:28 am



[Posted by Karl]

The seemingly stolen Iranian election (though by whom remains an open question) is a reality bomb that exploded in the faces of the Obama administration, and much of the Left. If this was a Chuck Jones classic, their faces would be blackened and hair blown back in a spiky mess, in the grand tradition of Daffy Duck or Wile E. Coyote.

After floating the fanciful notion that Obama’s outreach was remaking the Muslim world, they have been caught flat-footed:

A senior Obama administration official who did not want to be identified or quoted explained that the president was deeply conscious of appearing not to favor any side in the election. Officials had ruled out calling for a recount or a revote out of a concern for undermining the Iranian opposition. The official said it was important to have a policy toward Iran that advanced the administration’s desire for liberalization and human rights in Iran, not one that merely vented American outrage at Ahmadinejad.

Courageous Iranians face death in the streets for “reform” that was marginal at best, while Obama is trying to vote “present,” and the Euroweenie Union rolls over. The Germans have sounded a bigger alarm than the Man From Hopenchange. The US government refrains even from strong statements supporting free and fair elections, for fear of undermining the dissidents. This mode of thinking overlooks that Ahmadinejad’s thugocracy will deal with their opponents as they see fit, and blame the Great Satan whenever it suits them, regardless of what the US says or does. Indeed, Obama’s silence has not stopped Ahmadinejad from publicly planning a purge of his rivals.

The Obama administration sees approach this as part of their foreign policy realism:

[T]he primary concerns the White House has about Iran are not about free and fair elections. The concerns are: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism.

“We have to deal with the Iran that we have rather than the Iran that we wish we had,” says the official.

Obama’s immediate problem is that the naked power grab ongoing in Iran has exposed to even the casual observer that “the Iran we have” is the Iran we have always had. Obama’s larger problem is that still seems to hold the notion that he can “deal” with Iran in the sense of “engagement,” even after the reality bomb has detonated. In a Chuck Jones cartoon, the effects of a bomb tend to vanish in the next scene, but things do not work that way in the real world. The notion that Iran’s policies are a function of US policy generally, and US diplomacy in particular is not foreign policy realism; it is foreign policy unrealism. Until Obama figures that out, events will keep exploding in his face.

–Karl

95 Responses to “Iranians Detonate Reality Bomb”

  1. Karl: ““the Iran we have” is the Iran we have always had.”

    Karl, you are now a domestic terrorist for poking a stick in the “eye” of the Obama administration. He truly has been caught flat footed as most thinking people knew he would.

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  2. Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world is reminiscent of George Bush’s “seeing into Putin’s soul” — a naive and dangerous belief in the efficacy of personal diplomacy, or at least an inflated regard for one’s own powers of persuasion.

    When will they ever learn…

    Diplomacy is the art of saying “Nice Doggie” while searching for a big rock.

    furious (a74982)

  3. Re – The Iran we have:

    This reminded me of a certain outburst by former AZ Cardinals coach Dennis Green… Iran’s government is who we thought they were.

    It really is a shame, given how pro-American most Iranian people actually are.

    carlitos (84409d)

  4. We can just use he old Leftist foreign policy expressed here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3MiD_U4CHQ&feature=related

    arch (45f0f9)

  5. You want Obama to declare events in Persia are beyond his control or influence?

    That’ll help.

    steve (60452b)

  6. given how pro-American most Iranian people actually are.

    If so, makes me think of the phrase of with friends like that, who needs enemies?

    For people to be so comfortable having a modern-day Hitler leading their nation makes me wonder what exactly is behind their mindset, pro-American or otherwise.

    Reuters:

    A poll of Iran’s electorate three weeks before its election showed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leading by a 2-to-1 ratio, greater than the announced results of the contested vote, the pollsters said on Monday.

    The poll showed Ahmadinejad’s disputed victory, which has sparked riots and demonstrations since it was announced, might reflect the will of the people and “is not the product of widespread fraud,” pollsters Ken Ballen and Patrick Doherty said in a column in The Washington Post.

    “While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad’s principal opponent … our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran’s provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead,” the pollsters said.

    Thirty-four percent of those polled said they would vote for Ahmadinejad while 14 percent preferred Mousavi and 27 percent were undecided.

    It was the third in a series of polls over the past two years and consisted of 1,001 telephone interviews in Farsi from a neighboring country, with a 3.1 percent margin of error.

    “The breadth of Ahmadinejad’s support was apparent in our pre-election survey,” the pollsters said, rejecting arguments the poll might have reflected a fearful reluctance to give honest answers.

    “The fact may simply be that the re-election of President Ahmadinejad is what the Iranian people wanted.”

    Mark (411533)

  7. Re Comment#7, the which country are you referring to? Dinnerjacket’s, or Obama’s? While Obama is a weaseling apologist overseas, here in the US he’s doing a pretty good job of playing the strong man, taking over everything he sees, rewarding his friends, and punishing or firing his enemies.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  8. Mark,

    Why the lack of skepticism with that “poll?”

    1 – Published in Reuters, an organization that knowlingly publishes pro-Hamas and pro-Hezbollah propaganda.

    2 – Telephone poll from a neighboring country, into Iran, a country with secret police, internet police and religious police who regularly beat citizens in the streets, secretly arrest them or openly execute them for crimes against the state. I would … question the honesty of the responses.

    carlitos (84409d)

  9. “While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad’s principal opponent … our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran’s provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead,” the pollsters said.”

    Well, if it’s scientific from Reuters and the WP we should just wait and let all the fuss die down. We wouldn’t want anyone to get their hopes up, since we’re taking the new sophisticated European-style high-road.

    Vera (ac0e90)

  10. I dunno, carlitos. If I were Iranian, and if I hated Khamenei, I think I would pick a strong man like Ahmadinejad for the job of taking him out.

    nk (093b41)

  11. Why the lack of skepticism with that “poll?”

    By the same token, why should a large percentage of the Iranian voters be given a lot of benefit of the doubt?

    Here’s more data from the same group that conducted the survey described in the Reuters article and detailed in an op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post. I’d be far more skeptical of the pollsters’ findings if the portion about Iranians current view of the US suggested just the opposite—ie, if a greater number of Iranians had more of a feel-good view of the US now that the current guy in the White House was running things.

    AP, June 8: Few Iranians have favorable opinions of the United States, a view that has changed little since the election of an American president who has expressed a willingness to talk to Tehran, a rare poll of Iranian citizens showed Monday.

    Just 29 percent of Iranians said they have favorable views of the United States in the latest poll, which was conducted last month. In a similar survey in February 2008 – nearly a year before Barack Obama became president – 34 percent had positive opinions about the U.S.

    In a further sign of wariness toward the United States, 38 percent in last month’s poll said the U.S. is the greatest threat to Iran. Only Israel was ranked higher – 44 percent of Iranians said the Jewish state posed the greatest threat to their country.

    Accurate public opinion polls are a rarity in Iran, whose Islamic rulers enforce strict rules of behavior and where dissidents are often imprisoned. The survey was conducted by telephone from a nearby country that the sponsors declined to identify for security reasons.

    The poll was conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow, a bipartisan group that tries to undermine support for terrorism, and for the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public policy institute. Both are based in Washington.

    The new poll shows 87 percent of Iranians favor making free elections a long-term goal for Iran, up a slight 5 percentage points from a year ago. Another 84 percent want a free press to be a long-term goal, up 6 percentage points.

    Those figures were not much lower than the 90 percent who said improving the economy should be a long-term goal for Iran, where economic conditions have been poor in recent years.

    Sixty percent said they favor unconditional talks with the U.S., virtually unchanged from last year.

    Telephone interviews, conducted in Farsi, involved a random sample of 1,001 adult Iranians from May 11-20. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The company says more than 90 percent of Iranians have landline telephones.

    Mark (411533)

  12. Yes, his foreign policy is indeed unrealism, and it is also narcissistic and arrogant. I always wonder at the left, so conscious of “the other” in all things, seeing the world through the prism of Me. Iran has its own internal politics and geopolitical aims. It exists by and for itself, regardless of Obama’s myopic vision.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  13. [Iran] exists by and for itself, regardless of Obama’s myopic vision.

    And his predecessors had events on a different track?

    The U.S. did not abandon some viable military option here. Dennis Ross advocated squeezing the Iranian oil sector, cutting off credit, engaging the Saudis and other Arab states opposed to Iranian nuclear capability and pushing the Chinese to rely more on the Saudis than on Iran. And giving Tehran until the end of the year to engage in nuclear technology dialogue.

    Propose a credible “or else” to that overture.

    steve (97fb97)

  14. Here’s something that you forgot to highlight from the AP article:

    “Accurate public opinion polls are a rarity in Iran, whose Islamic rulers enforce strict rules of behavior and where dissidents are often imprisoned. “

    Vera (ac0e90)

  15. carlitos,

    As you know, the Bears were who Green thought they were.

    steve,

    In the current administration, Ross is isolated (and rumors abound that ppl want himout). Is that a step forward, or backward?

    Karl (f07e38)

  16. The proposal to squeeze the Mullahs by using the “gasoline” option is no more popular in the Obama State Dept than it was in the Bush State Dept.
    Some would think that perhaps a big part of our problem in dealing with the World is the State Dept, and not who is the President.

    AD - RtR/OS! (0d8c81)

  17. So your point is that the revolution now happening in Iran does not, in fact, mean remaking of the Muslim world. Really?? How so?

    It’s like saying that the fall of the Berlin wall proved the failure of the Reagan’s Soviet policy — who, as you must remember, was criticized by his own Republicans for being too soft.

    It’s the stereotypes of the right-wingers, who don’t even hide their preference for Ahmadinejad, and who try to convince the people that he was the rightfull winner, that are blowing in their faces.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  18. And his predecessors had events on a different track?

    Yes, Bush spoke directly to the Iranian people several times and called the regime part of the “axis of evil.”

    And Dennis Ross is out. Too confrontational for the new dialogue program?

    Patricia (2183bb)

  19. Yes, Bush spoke directly to the Iranian people several times and called the regime part of the “axis of evil.”

    Should we not judge policy by the results? Eight years of Bush brought a complete crackpot of president in Iran and pro-Hezbollah anti-Israel ‘democratic’ government in Iraq.
    Half a year of Obama, and you have Iran’s 30 years-old regime crumbling into pieces.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  20. Nikolay, this would be a good time for you to post a link or two that supports your assertion:

    Right-wingers, who don’t even hide their preference for Ahmadinejad

    I am unaware of any “right wingers” in America that support this guy.

    carlitos (84409d)

  21. It’s the stereotypes of the right-wingers, who don’t even hide their preference for Ahmadinejad, and who try to convince the people that he was the rightfull winner, that are blowing in their faces.

    Comment by Nikolay

    Say what ????

    You’ve spent too much time at DailyKos. Why don’t you try reading Michael Ledeen and a few other conservative writers ? This is utter nonsense.

    Eight years of Bush brought a complete crackpot of president in Iran and pro-Hezbollah anti-Israel ‘democratic’ government in Iraq.
    Half a year of Obama, and you have Iran’s 30 years-old regime crumbling into pieces.

    Comment by Nikolay

    Oh Okay. I see where the nonsense is coming from. What time did the seminar end ? Should we expect more attendees soon ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  22. Karl…TNR is reporting that Ross is gone.

    AD - RtR/OS! (0d8c81)

  23. Half a year of Obama, and the defacit quintuples = Bush’s fault
    Half a year of Obama, and Iran collapses = Obama foreign policy

    Got it.

    carlitos (84409d)

  24. Say what ????

    You’ve spent too much time at DailyKos. Why don’t you try reading Michael Ledeen and a few other conservative writers ? This is utter nonsense.

    Ok, here are some quotes:

    So in an odd sort of way a win for Ahmadinejad is also a win for those of us who are seriously alarmed about Iranian capabilities and intentions.
    Max Boot

    And so, despite myself, I am rooting for Ahmadinejad.
    Daniel Pipes

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  25. Nikolay – It helps to not argue in public with the voices in your head.

    JD (7dfca9)

  26. Both of the examples cited were just examples of realpolitik, not at all good examples of a right-wing “preference” for Ahmedinejad, as Nikolay seemed to say.

    Max Boot in context:

    That doesn’t mean that Obama won’t try–but he will have a lot less patience with Ahmadinejad than he would have had with Mousavi. And that in turn means there is a greater probability that eventually Obama may do something serious to stop the Iranian nuclear program–whether by embargoing Iranian refined-petroleum imports or by tacitly giving the go-ahead to Israel to attack its nuclear installations.

    So in an odd sort of way a win for Ahmadinejad is also a win for those of us who are seriously alarmed about Iranian capabilities and intentions. With crazy Mahmoud in office–and his patron, Ayatollah Khameini, looming in the background–it will be harder for Iranian apologists to deny the reality of this terrorist regime

    .

    Pipes in context (not at all to be construed that I would defend everything this guy says)

    …whoever is elected president, whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or his main opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, will have limited impact on the issue that most concerns the outside world – Iran’s drive to build nuclear weapons, which Khamene’i will presumably continue apace, as he has in prior decades.

    Therefore, while my heart goes out to the many Iranians who desperately want the vile Ahmadinejad out of power, my head tells me it’s best that he remain in office. When Mohammed Khatami was president, his sweet words lulled many people into complacency, even as the nuclear weapons program developed on his watch. If the patterns remain unchanged, better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.

    And so, despite myself, I am rooting for Ahmadinejad.

    carlitos (84409d)

  27. Reading Ledeen was a good suggestion.

    carlitos (84409d)

  28. I hate to feed trolls, but…The Islamic Republic of Iran is the result of Democratic appeaser Jimmy Carter, not Bush.

    And yes, if both men are Islamic radicals, DinnerJacket is much more the true face of the regime and easier to mobilize against; should Moussavi eventually take over he could much more easily give cover to the radicalism of the theocracy.

    Patricia (2183bb)

  29. […] silence on this matter may want to rethink the offensive idea that he’s merely “voting ‘present.’“  I’m not saying we should take my student’s brother’s word on this as […]

    According to an actual Iranian in Iran, the administration’s silence helps the cause. « The Edge of the American West (215e9b)

  30. Both of the examples cited were just examples of realpolitik, not at all good examples of a right-wing “preference” for Ahmedinejad, as Nikolay seemed to say.

    Of course, they get their arguments from realpolitik, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are rooting for Ahmadinejad.
    And the context of their arguments is perfectly clear: the Iranian elections are totally incosequential, they only present the facade for the monolithic clerical regime (which is hell-bent on nuclear self-destruction).
    I’d say that that what’s happening in Iran now shows that these arguments have nothing to do with reality whatsoever. Hell, it’s widely believed that Ahmadinejad tried commit a coup against the clerical establishment — so much for “the real power always rests with mullahs”.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  31. carlitos – you should know better. Didn’t you get the memo that all of you wingnuts support Ahmedinnerjacket?

    JD (29405c)

  32. “the president was deeply conscious of appearing not to favor any side in the election.”

    … and therein lies all that is wrong with Obama. No compass, just platitutudes.

    HeavenSent (1e97ff)

  33. not at all good examples of a right-wing “preference” for Ahmedinejad, as Nikolay seemed to say.

    Thanks for clarifying that. I was too lazy to click on his links and determine whether his point had some validity. I even thought the two columnists he cited perhaps had treated the Iranian elections in a manner too cynical and political, or partisan, even for my tastes. That’s because anyone who doesn’t consider Ahmedinjad a contemptible, frightening human being, a threat to peace in the Middle East — if not beyond — is the sort who’d say “well, Hitler did make the trains run on time!”).

    Regardless, it’s far more of the left, and not the right, that loves playing footsies with fanatics like Iran’s current president.

    Mark (411533)

  34. This reminds me of when some people quit the State Dep’t back in 1980 to protest their lack of action on Russia’s interference in Poland.

    carlitos (84409d)

  35. Completely off-topic, but I get the disinct privilege/honor of taking out our friend Sxott Jacobs out for a celebratory slab of barely cooked and still bleeding dead cow tonite.

    Carlitos – Thanks for clicking through on those. I suspected that their positions had a bit moren what’s the word I am looking for here … Oh yeah. Nuance. And my gut reaction that Nikolay’s characterization was not based in reality was confirmed.

    JD (29405c)

  36. Nicklay, your post #31 made more sense than the other one. The students may actually be more motivated now because they know that Obama will not help them. They are on their own. If that’s what you meant by Half a year of Obama, and you have Iran’s 30 years-old regime crumbling into pieces, you might have a point.

    The fact is, the presence of a democratic Iraq next door, no matter how flawed, is probably a good deal more important.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  37. Completely off-topic, but I get the disinct privilege/honor of taking out our friend Sxott Jacobs out for a celebratory slab of barely cooked and still bleeding dead cow tonite.

    Carlitos – Thanks for clicking through on those. I suspected that their positions had a bit moren what’s the word I am looking for here … Oh yeah. Nuance. And my gut reaction that Nikolay’s characterization was not based in reality was confirmed.

    JD (29405c)

  38. … and therein lies all that is wrong with Obama. No compass, just platitutudes.

    And the fact that most of the Iranian activists are unequivocally against Obama voicing his support doesn’t bother you in the least? Don’t you think that the opinion of the people who are actually risking their life at the moment fighting for their freedom is more important than the opinion of the people that not so long age were blaming Obama for even suggesting that who’s elected in Iran makes any difference?

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  39. The same MSM who after the fact self flagellated themselves for not being more curious in the run up to the Iraq war can start beating themselves up again. Had any of them, ANY of them asked in depth and follow up questions of Obama regarding his views on foreign policy perhaps some of his mea culpa and appeasement philosophy would have gotten out to voters before it was too late.

    elizabeth (57a179)

  40. Just f*ckin’ worship Teh One, people. Dammit, get with the program. No matter what happens, it is good, and Teh One deserves all credit. If anything bad happens, blame Bush.

    JD (29405c)

  41. Here is an interesting counterpoint to Nikolay’s (and SEK;s, via the link above) perspective – a comment from the Corner blog.

    Obama has squandered [strategic opportunities] by demonizing Bush and the Iraq war for years.

    Imagine how powerful it would be for Obama (or, more likely, a surrogate) to be able to stand up and say to the Iranian protesters, “Under the USA, your neighbor Iraq held free and fair elections. The government of Iran went out of its way to demonize the US and undermine those elections. We are now seeing the results of that mindset come home to Iran as you are denied a voice by your government in your own elections. The US government stands behind all who seek free and fair elections.”

    Of course, he can’t say that with any legitimacy because he has spent years putting down Bush and Iraq. This is a classic example of why partisan bickering needs to be toned down; it hamstrings the new Administration. So frustrating to watch.

    carlitos (84409d)

  42. Nikolay, they know he will do nothing. He even addressed his remarks to the regime, rather than the people as Bush did, and as Reagan did to the Soviet Union. If you have ever read anything by Sharansky, who was in prison at the time, you will know that Reagan’s words, including “Evil Empire” gave them great hope that someone knew the truth.

    It was the great brilliant moment when we learned that Ronald Reagan had proclaimed the Soviet Union an Evil Empire before the entire world. There was a long list of all the Western leaders who had lined up to condemn the evil Reagan for daring to call the great Soviet Union an evil empire right next to the front-page story about this dangerous, terrible man who wanted to take the world back to the dark days of the Cold War. This was the moment. It was the brightest, most glorious day. Finally a spade had been called a spade. Finally, Orwell’s Newspeak was dead. President Reagan had from that moment made it impossible for anyone in the West to continue closing their eyes to the real nature of the Soviet Union.

    Of course, you have not read anything by Sharansky.

    Obama could do something like that, but he won’t.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  43. And yes, if both men are Islamic radicals, DinnerJacket is much more the true face of the regime and easier to mobilize against; should Moussavi eventually take over he could much more easily give cover to the radicalism of the theocracy.

    Good point, especially as far as Israel is concerned. They clearly know the crazy of A-jad; Moussavi is an unknown quantity.

    “the president was deeply conscious of appearing not to favor any side in the election.”

    I would say the problem with this is he is too often deeply conscious of how he appears. Stand on a principle, man, and don’t worry about how it appears. Just make the stand, firmly and decisively because you believe it to the best thing for the country you are charged with protecting.

    Dana (be9504)

  44. JD – I would say that this isn’t about President Obama, and this isn’t about President Bush; this is about the Iranian people and their government, and using it as a proxy in our internal political debate is beneath us.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  45. Nicklay, your post #31 made more sense than the other one. The students may actually be more motivated now because they know that Obama will not help them. They are on their own.

    The only result of the Obama’s voiced support would be giving Ahmadinejad ability to paint Mousavi as an American puppet. Thankfully, he’s not going to make such a gift to Ahmadinejad. Thankfully, McCain is not a president — he makes it perfectly clear that he would immediately commit this blunder.

    That said, the scenario of the green revolution in Iran is very similar to what happened in Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Georgia. All the “colored revolutions” in those countries had strong backing from NGO’s sponsored by George Soros, and I find it very unlikely that he’s not involved in this as well.

    As for the Corner’s idea that it would be a good idea for Obama to talk about Iraq now, a country that killed countless Iranians two decades ago, a country that bought its ‘democracy’ with terrible bloodshed, try as I may, I can’t imagine anything more wrong-headed.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  46. aphrael, that is a good point. Except that another commenter above noted:

    Eight years of Bush brought a complete crackpot of president in Iran and pro-Hezbollah anti-Israel ‘democratic’ government in Iraq.
    Half a year of Obama, and you have Iran’s 30 years-old regime crumbling into pieces.

    As if Bush somehow caused the Iranian election, and Obama is somehow changing another Iranian election.

    Here is another counterpoint to the argument that Obama shouldn’t say anything. Students tell CNN that, if Obama accepts election, “we are doomed.”

    carlitos (84409d)

  47. This post is one of the lamest I have read in awhile. It is internally inconsistent. One the one hand, the author claims that American policy is effectively impotent in changing Iran, but that Obama’s supposed failure to actively support the protesters is a failure. And the rationale behind this suggestion that he has been caught “flat footed” escapes me. Was he supposed to know about the protests? What was he unaware of? The degree of discontent among many Iranians? Any serious observor of foreign policy knows that is a silly claim. I think Obama is trying to avoid a situation where American support for the protestors becomes counterproductive. I agree that the EU made a serious error in recognizing the results of the election, but this post says more about the author’s obsession with Obama than about American policy or Iranian politics.

    mvatty (99d646)

  48. Half a year of Obama, and you have Iran’s 30 years-old regime crumbling into pieces.

    Nikolay, have you ever heard of the post hoc fallacy?

    Steverino (69d941)

  49. Carlitos: regardless of whether it is being done to score points against President Bush or to score points against President Obama, it’s inappropriate.

    We are not the primary actors here. What is happening in Iran is not about us. It is about an enormous number of brave men and women, and it is about their government, and is about the struggle for control within Iran. This is their moment, for good or for ill.

    aphrael (9e8ccd)

  50. So your point is that the revolution now happening in Iran does not, in fact, mean remaking of the Muslim world.

    This initial comment betrays the poster’s extreme ignorance on the ME in general. For the last time, the Iranians do not, and have never (and never will), consider themselves part of the greater “Muslim World.” They’re not Arabs either, they’re Persians. They consider their neighbors to be inferior and substandard as opposed to their cultural heritage and citizenry’s general educational levels. While a democratic Iran would of course be a seismic shift in the ME, to include it in some kind of greater “Muslim World” is ridiculous.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  51. While a democratic Iran would of course be a seismic shift in the ME, to include it in some kind of greater “Muslim World” is ridiculous.

    Oh really?? The regime change in the country that is a primary sponsor of Hamas and Hezbollah, the first country to go through Islamic revolution, the only real Islamic theocracy, the center of the Shia religion, would not mean a radical remaking of the Muslim World because they are not Arabs? That’s a mighty nonsense.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  52. Thanks for the links, Nikolay. But’s include some of the context:

    James Taranto:

    The bad news that Iran is still ruled by a vicious, lunatic regime that not only abuses its own people but threatens Israel with annihilation and the entire region with a nuclear arms race. This is very bad, though it’s news only to regime apologists like Cohen–and, as we noted Friday, it would have been true even had challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi prevailed in the vote. A Mousavi victory, however, would have made the nature of the regime easier to deny. Clarity is the one unquestionable benefit of the outcome.

    Max Boot:

    So in an odd sort of way a win for Ahmadinejad is also a win for those of us who are seriously alarmed about Iranian capabilities and intentions. With crazy Mahmoud in office–and his patron, Ayatollah Khameini, looming in the background–it will be harder for Iranian apologists to deny the reality of this terrorist regime.

    Daniel Pipes:

    Therefore, while my heart goes out to the many Iranians who desperately want the vile Ahmadinejad out of power, my head tells me it’s best that he remain in office. When Mohammed Khatami was president, his sweet words lulled many people into complacency, even as the nuclear weapons program developed on his watch. If the patterns remain unchanged, better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.

    And so, despite myself, I am rooting for Ahmadinejad.

    The President of Iran is a figurehead, a face man for the Mullah’s Regime. The only practical difference who fills that spot makes, is how easy it is for every one else to deceive themselves as to the nature of Iran’s Theocracy.

    LarryD (243b3d)

  53. mvatty,

    What Obama was — and is — clearly unaware of is the nature of the Iranian regime. What caught him flat-footed was that the election over which he was claiming some influence turned out completely the opposite of what he expected.

    His cowardly failure to even condemn the beatings and shootings in the street afterward merely compounds contempt for him.

    Karl (d826c5)

  54. Amazing, it was the LEFT like Nikolay who invited the POS Dinnerjacket to Columbia and the LEFT on Daily Kos who cheered with justo as he blasted America. It was LEFTIST like Nikolay who rage with glee as he slammed President Bush and the Israelis.

    Yet these same LEFTIST try to claim now that conservatives want this POS to win. Now they slighly oppose him only because his “election” shames the naive boob Barry Obama and his Jimmy Carteresque “I have never met a dictator I would not do in a restroom” foreign policy.

    LogicalSC (590b89)

  55. In the current administration, Ross is isolated (and rumors abound that ppl want himout). Is that a step forward, or backward?

    Based on Haaretz rumors?

    The better guess is that his hand has been strengthened by the Iran elections.

    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/06/15/ross_staying_on_iran_policy

    steve (c598ec)

  56. “…Of course, you have not read anything by Sharansky.
    Obama could do something like that, but he won’t.”
    Comment by Mike K — 6/15/2009 @ 1:18 pm

    For he, the LiC, has probably never read Sharansky either – it doesn’t fit Teh Narrative.

    AD - RtR/OS! (956a02)

  57. The President of Iran is a figurehead, a face man for the Mullah’s Regime.

    Which is a gospel that the right repeats ad nauseam, and which is not true, as Patterico concedes in the next post

    the election over which he was claiming some influence turned out completely the opposite of what he expected.

    Obama, obviously, wanted Mousavi to win the votes. This is what happened, unless you believe Ahmadinejad’s propaganda. He could not predict that Ahmadinejad would attempt a coup, Ahmadinejad himself probably wasn’t certain about this. Anyway, the coup seems to be Ahmadinejad’s big mistake. If Obama keeps making the right moves (and not making the wrong moves you guys so desperately want him to do), we’re about to see the end of the Iran’s regime.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  58. Oh really??

    Good comeback, Nicky. So now why don’t you enlighten us about what exactly is the difference between Persians and Arabs, since you seem to know so much…stuff? Perhaps also you can tell us about how Iran’s constitutional monarchy came into being in the first place, and also detail how the 1953 Iranian coup d’état deposed the democratically- elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq?

    You must’ve been aware of Iran’s previous history as a democracy, right, Nicky? Time to do some more research, Nicky – a lot more.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  59. Obama, obviously, wanted Mousavi to win the votes.

    Of course he did – because Nicky says so! So let’s recap Nicky’s logic here:

    – whatever Obama said previously he obviously didn’t mean, and;

    – if the Iranians succeed in transforming their country into a democracy again, Obama will be entirely the reason for it.

    How do we know all this? Because Nicky knows stuff, and can also split atoms with his mind.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  60. Time to do some more research, Nicky – a lot more.

    You made a claim that Iran in no way does belong to the Muslim world. That claim was absurd. I did not profess to be some great expert on the Iran history (of course, I know the basics), but you only need minimal understanding to know that Iran is, indeed, a quite important part of the Muslim world.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  61. What I take most issue with is this meme, promoted today by none other than Andrew Sullivan, that Iran is like Bush / Cheney / Rove’s America. Rural Iran is supposedly like “red state” America, and the Iranian president is like Bush, pulling their strings to win re-election by taking advantage of the uneducated rubes and their religion. By this model, and this model only, you have “conservative” Americans rooting for Ahmedinejad and “Obama wanted Mousaui to win the votes.” I’m not buying it.

    carlitos (84409d)

  62. Of course he did – because Nicky says so!

    Here’s a quote:

    We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran. And obviously, after the speech that I made in Cairo, we tried to send a clear message that we think there is the possibility of change. And ultimately, the election is for the Iranians to decide, but just as has been true in Lebanon, what can be true in Iran as well is that you’re seeing people looking at new possibilities.

    I don’t know how can you claim that this doesn’t mean that Obama prefered Mousavi to win. BTW, you seem to be the only guy to even dispute this obvious fact. But you also don’t think that Iran is related to the Muslim world, so it’s kind of natural for you.

    BTW, I first found this quote on Rush Limbaugh’s site. Of course, he was scolding Obama for even caring about the results of these sham elections.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  63. aphrael – You are correct, but people like Nikolay, Sullivan (as noted in carlitos’ link above), etc … seem hell bent on making it so.

    JD (9df895)

  64. By this model, and this model only, you have “conservative” Americans rooting for Ahmedinejad and “Obama wanted Mousaui to win the votes.”

    Conservative Americans (not all of them, of course — but some of the most influential) wanted Ahmedinejad to win not because he’s a red-state kind of guy, but because they think that he presents the true face of Iran, while Mousavi could lure naive Obama with his sweet talk.

    Obama made it perfectly clear that he wanted to talk to Iran. Mousavi made it perfectly clear that he would be more open to talks. What in the world would make Obama prefer Ahmedinejad’s win???

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  65. See?

    JD (9df895)

  66. Nicky only sees what he wants to see – it’s called projection, but of course those in the grips of it are rarely aware of the condition in the first place. As the saying goes, we could explain it to him, but we couldn’t make him understand it.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  67. BTW, I first found this quote on Rush Limbaugh’s site.

    Uh, oh – he’s found out that Rush is the de facto head of the GOP! Quick, someone tell The Daily Kos about this new, breakthrough meme!

    Conservative Americans (not all of them, of course — but some of the most influential)

    Uh, but you just said a few moments earlier today:

    It’s the stereotypes of the right-wingers, who don’t even hide their preference for Ahmadinejad

    Do you even read what you wrote, Nicky? And you’ve yet to answer my question – what is the difference between Persians and Arabs? Come now, you’re quite strenuous with your opinions, surely you have a few gems to share with us on that subject.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  68. Uh, oh – he’s found out that Rush is the de facto head of the GOP!

    Did I say something about that? How is it relevant?

    And you’ve yet to answer my question – what is the difference between Persians and Arabs?

    Why do I have to answer your questions that are completely irrelevant? Should we talk about Iranian cinema now? Who’s the best-acclaimed living director in that country? Or maybe we should switch to the Persian poetry? Or Zoroastrianism? Or Herodotus?
    Persians are ethnically different from Arabs. Everybody knows that. They have different (and very ancient) culture. They are still part of the Muslim world. The claim that they are not is absurd.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  69. Karl:

    I’d be curious as to the basis for your assertion that Obama is/was unaware of the nature of the Iranian regime, other than his statements that he would engage the regime with diplomacy. I don’t think Reagan had any illusions about the nature of the Soviet dictatorship, yet he engaged in diplomacy with them. There is a difference between acknowledging the nature of a regime and how best to deal with that regime. There is a legitimate debate about whether to talk to Iran or not. But I would not argue that Obama’s willingness to talk to Iran suggests that he believes anything other than the Iranian regime is an authoritarian and dangerous government.

    mvatty (99d646)

  70. Where is the list of RW names that endorsed the re-election of the dinnerjacket?

    AD - RtR/OS! (956a02)

  71. I don’t think Reagan had any illusions about the nature of the Soviet dictatorship, yet he engaged in diplomacy with them.

    Last I checked, the Soviets never seized our embassy (an act of war) and took our diplomats hostage (another act of war) for 444 days.

    Do you not understand that they have been at war with us for 30 years, whether or not we recognized it ? When you are at war, you don’t have diplomatic relations.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  72. Obama’s beliefs (or anybody else’s for that matter) have no consequences. Actions do. And Obama’s actions are those of a hapless, helpless, incompetent narcissist.

    nk (2edafe)

  73. S__t. The Iranians have a leader who, whether we like him or not, took on America when he was a college student and won, and achieved the highest position in a country where one political misstep is death. And we have a spoiled, lazy, arugula-eating spawn of a hippie.

    nk (2edafe)

  74. Nikolay, Dmac made a point which you failed to understand. Your lack of understanding was demonstrated by your responses to it. A hint: your lack of comprehension does not make something “absurd”.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  75. Nikolay, Dmac made a point which you failed to understand. Your lack of understanding was demonstrated by your responses to it. A hint: your lack of comprehension does not make something “absurd”.

    Well, you could care to clarify his point instead of making personal attacks? Do you believe that Iran doesn’t belong to the Muslim world? If you think it doesn’t, what are the reasons? Is it the fact that Iran’s people are ethically different?

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  76. I think that they (Iran) are definitely part of the “Islamic world,” but that the are on the rise, and don’t much like the Shi’a. The fact that the current Iranian president made the streets of Teheran wider to accommodate the coming of the 12th Imam is not only frightening, it surely makes him a “polytheist” in the eyes of the Sunni. Wahabbis

    carlitos (84409d)

  77. Nikolay, my comments were not personal attacks. Dmac will have to explain his point, but I understood him to be saying that there was not a unified nor uniform “Muslim World” and that most Iranians have a lot of differences with other muslims – not least between the Arab and Persian cultures as well as between Arab Sunni and Shia versons of the islamic faith.

    But hey, if all you know is “absurd” to cover your failure to understand his point, run with it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  78. Certainly, Shi’a are very different from Sunnies, just as Catholics are very different from Protestants.
    BTW, the largest Muslim country in the world is Indonesia, the second-largest is Pakistan, the third-largest Bangladesh — none of them have Arabic-majority population. In fact, less than 20% of Muslims live in the Arab world.
    So this talk about Persians vs. Arabs has no relevance to the Muslim world whatsoever.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  79. Nikolay, you are just getting sillier in your “lets miss the point” contest.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  80. It has to be intentional, SPQR, because random chance would not account for it missing the point this many times in a row on accident.

    Off-topic – Scott Jacobs and I had huge slabs of bleeding dead cow for dinner. It was a pleasure to share a meal with this young man that will soon be enlisting in the service of the greatest country in the history of the world.

    JD (9df895)

  81. I understood him to be saying that there was not a unified nor uniform “Muslim World” and that most Iranians have a lot of differences with other muslims

    In this case he was arguing with the voices in his head, because I never implied that there is a uniform “Muslim World” nor that there are no differences between Iran and other Muslims. There was nothing in words that could be read that way.

    There were huge differences (and a lot of bloodshed) between Catholics and Protestants in European history, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t belong to the Christendom.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  82. that most Iranians have a lot of differences with other muslims

    Using your logic, the words “Iran is a country that goes through a of changes now” should be understood as “Iran is a unified and uniform country with no internal differences whatsoever”, since the word “country” means “a uniform and unified entity”.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  83. SPQR – I am voting for overtly partisan, and aggressively ignorant. YMMV.

    JD (9df895)

  84. Dmac will have to explain his point, but I understood him to be saying that there was not a unified nor uniform “Muslim World” and that most Iranians have a lot of differences with other muslims – not least between the Arab and Persian cultures as well as between Arab Sunni and Shia versons of the islamic faith

    I appreciate your patiently explaining to the learning – disabled what my point was, SPQR – but as the old expression goes, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t make you understand it.” Nicky’s proven to be either willfully obtuse or obviously brain – dead, as again evidenced by the following inanity:

    So this talk about Persians vs. Arabs has no relevance to the Muslim world whatsoever.

    Bad grammatical form + willful ignorance = Troll.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  85. Hey, Nicky…You forgot one VERY large Muslim population….India!

    AD - RtR/OS! (956a02)

  86. I appreciate your patiently explaining to the learning – disabled what my point was, SPQR – but as the old expression goes, “I can explain it to you, but I can’t make you understand it.”

    Dmac, your point was stupid, since I never talked about “unified Muslim world” to begin with.

    Bad grammatical form + willful ignorance = Troll.

    I concede that my grammar is not good. This is because neither English is my first language nor do I live in the English-speaking country. Nevertheless, the point is perfectly clear, unless you want to keep playing stupid.
    The point is, when you talk about “Muslim world”, the difference between Persians and Arabs is irrelevant, since Arabs are small minority in the Muslim world anyway.

    As for trolling, your initial claim that saying that “revolution in Iran means remaking of the Muslim world” “betrays extreme ignorance about ME” was a perfect example of trolling. As were your further questions about Arabs and Persians, about Iran’s history etc.
    Too bad some of the people here chose to side with a troll just because they have political views different from mine.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  87. Hey, Nicky…You forgot one VERY large Muslim population….India!

    Ok, by some measures India, not the Bangladesh is the country with the third-largest Muslim country. That doesn’t change the fact that majority of the Muslims are not Arabs a bit.

    Nikolay (76ec15)

  88. This is the best short comment on the event I have read so far. Congratulations, Karl

    Harry Phillips (63afbf)

  89. Support Iran This Way

    1. Print out a bunch of photos or symbols and have a bunch of people hold them as protest signs.

    Use maybe 50 copies of this

    photo.

    2. Photo your crowd holding the signs in solidarity with Iran.

    3. Send photos to Iran for them to print out. Make a flickr site for photos of international support.

    Support from China, Africa, Los Angeles, would all have an impact…

    Images should not use text. They must translate visually.

    Send this idea to friends.

    Fred (adc8d1)

  90. Oh but just think, if it were not for the One’s historic Cairo speech, the people of Iran would never have known that freedom and Democracy is a good thing and voted for the opposition to begin with. You know, just as the folks in Lebanon learned their lessons at the master’s knee.

    /sarc

    MJBrutus (fdc0cd)

  91. I”ve got a better and more accurate cartoon metaphor for you. It’s also from Loony Tunes. But in this metaphor I see Obama as the Roadrunner, basically a puff of dust speeding off all over the place (Meep! Meep!) and the right wing media and the hapless GOP is like ole Wile E. Coyote (“Genius”) always up to something with that crafty look on his face (Acme Rocket Sled etc…), but never fast or smart enough to pull some daring scheme up and catching that pesky roadruuner, so he’s off rushing into the void only to notice that not only is he no longer standing on solid ground, he’s not on any ground whatsoever, and that dread look comes over his face as the realization hits home that that it is a long long loooong way down that canyon (Whooosh!!!), and he drops like a bomb down down down, arms and legs spread eagled with that stupid look on his face..

    Meep!! Meep!!

    PettyPat_and his_PityParty (57f09d)

  92. 5:21pm – What are you, four?

    Good guys, bad guys and cartoons. Nuance.
    Which ninja turtle would you be? How about which power ranger? If the Democrats are the Transformers, are the bad robots the Republicans?

    I don’t have a problem with left leaning commenters such as aphrael and leviticus, because they have viewpoints that address consistent positions, and can argue those positions without a forest of logical fallacies. But then again, they aren’t stupid.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  93. The trolls want to talk about anything other than how cowardly our President is being.

    JD (21ab8e)

  94. […] has been apparent for some time already. Despite the prospect of arms races in Asia and the Middle East, Obama remains bent on appeasing Russia and Iran, with unilateral nuclear disarmament plans so […]

    The Greenroom » Forum Archive » Obama: I, sir, am no Jack Kennedy (e2f069)


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