Archive for June, 2009
more at The Washington Post
The turmoil in Iran since last week’s election has confused the foreign policy debate here in the United States in interesting ways. Supporters of President Obama, who until very recently had railed against the Bush administration’s “freedom agenda” and who insisted on a new “realism,” have suddenly found themselves rooting for freedom and democracy in Iran. And in their desire to attribute all good things to the work of President Obama, they have even suggested that the ferment in Iran is due to Obama’s public appeals to Iranians and Muslims.
If so, this will be one of those great ironies of history. For, in fact, Obama never meant to spark political upheaval in Iran, much less encourage the Iranian people to take to the streets. That they are doing so is not good news for the president but, rather, an unwelcome complication in his strategy of engaging and seeking rapprochement with the Iranian government on nuclear issues.
One of the great innovations in the Obama administration’s approach to Iran, after all, was supposed to be its deliberate embrace of the Tehran rulers’ legitimacy. In his opening diplomatic gambit, his statement to Iran on the Persian new year in March, Obama went out of his way to speak directly to Iran’s rulers, a notable departure from George W. Bush’s habit of speaking to the Iranian people over their leaders’ heads. As former Clinton official Martin Indyk put it at the time, the wording was carefully designed “to demonstrate acceptance of the government of Iran.”
Cross Posted @ http://elcampeador.com/