Part two of this wild ride we are calling the Iranian 2009 Election. There have been lots of opinions on the US Government’s handling of the situation (as if the United States’ government has legitimate in the region to handle it). Many on the right are complaining that President Obama isn’t doing enough to support the protesters, and as individuals living in a relatively free democratic (well, republic) state, I think we have all the obligation to do as much to support the dissenters as we can. However, the state is a different entity with a different role.
Regardless of who is chosen to rule Iran, the United States will still need to work with the leader. As much as a fraud election is undesired, those are the rules in an anarchic international system. Iran’s sovereignty needs to be respected for any chance of proper diologue.
Also, critics of the president is using the US’ history of helping the values of freedom and democracy as a reason to intervene now. One blaring problem with this line of reasoning is that America doesn’t have a history of supporting freedom and democracy, at best it would have a mixed history, one that favors leaders, democratic or dictators, who support American interests. When I hear commenators talk about this history, I wonder if they fell asleep during the entire Cold War period, a good forty years when the American government supported dictators, and even helped fund coups supporting dictators over a democratic system (Iran).
The Iranian people may like Americans (contrary to popular knowledge), but the Iranian government doesn’t.
It’s easy for individuals and legislators to tell the president to be more firm in his support for the protesters, but they won’t be the ones being blamed if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon.
Change must come from the Iranian people for a sustainable and legitimate result. To have the American government blatantly endorsing a candidate does not lead to a positive result. Americans tend to forget the nationalism is not unique phenomenon to them, that Iranians are proud to be Iranians.
The president who put human rights as the cornerstone of his presidency is widely cited as a unefficient president (Jimmy Carter) as much as he is seen as a great man. There is a difference between how an individual can act and the most effective behavior of a state. President Obama recognizes this difference, and I have a feeling if McCain won the election, the faces of this debate might be flipped.
Funny how power shapes the opinions of the parties.
Anyway, you should read John Kerry’s Editorial With Iran, Thank Before You Speak.