The OC Blog Back Issues Our Mission Contact Us Masthead
Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator


Obama refuses to ‘meddle’ in Iran“. I guess letting the world know that the President of the United States stands behind people who’re being beaten and shot by “security forces” for demonstrating against corrupt elections might run the risk of “offending” Iran.

The President is in full-on “grovel” mode, it seems. Martin Peretz has some related thoughts regarding the “Cairo Speech”.

  1. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Hehe…well, I can’t say that this post wasn’t anticipated.

    I’m not sure. It’s definitely doing what I was saying he shouldn’t do, but maybe the scene on the ground has changed enough at this point to warrant it? Of course, couple that with the fact that A-jad is going around saying that we’re meddling anyway….we might as well ‘meddle’ and get some rhetorical points in for the game that A-jad is calling.

    I also think that what’s happening in Iran is far beyond the election now too, so it’s easier to come out in support of millions of Iranians rather than a particular candidate, even if the implication behind the support for those millions is that you’re a fan of their leadership.


  2. Vincent says:


    Does this mean that Obama has officially “meddled” and that his foreign policy is no longer wise or brave or well thought-out? Has he now been counter-productive? Is he no longer “smart”? Has he ceased to “defer” to “the people to create a solution”?

    Personally, I was glad to see him finally take a rhetorical stand, and Congress, too. It does seem to me, though that what he did is precisely what everyone else on this thread said his towering intellect and unparalleled political astuteness would never allow.

    No doubt the “Persian street” is in the process of rallying around Ahmadinejad — with the memory of the Shah foremost in mind, no doubt. This “interventionism” will not stand!


  3. Johnny says:

    The international community does not care about that at all. It is all about business. Money. Money. Money maka da world go round. None of them care about other countries, just like most Americans don’t care about other countries or the people in them.

    “Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away” Wrong again, tell that to the thousands of religions destroyed by Christianity and later labeled “pagan”.

    Iran also suppresses many current world views. For example, they accept the idea of women being stoned in the street for not wearing the proper clothing. If these goofballs stone women in the street for clothing, imagine what they are doing/going to do to the protestors.

    You know why we wont do anything about this? Because we are weak, fat and stupid. But that is another rant, for another time.

    It is not like I think Bush would have done better, I just hate the arrogance spewing from every liberal mouth when they talk about the socialism professor.

    Obama has never done anything except be the president. I do not understand how many people put their trust into him. I just figure that they are the same people who know where Brittney Spears is now, or other morons of the like.

    I have yet to hear an intelligent argument for anything Obama has done that has been good (prove me wrong, I don’t really care that much, I am just bored).

    Anyways, no point here really, except that the Iranian government is brutal and I feel bad for the protesters who want freedom and receive no real moral support from the people of other countries. Fuck the politicians, we all know they are crooks, but the American populace doesn’t care either, total shame and loss of an opportunity to bring real democracy to the ME.

  4. C.T. Behemoth says:

    The Senate also passed a resolution it seems…

    Now, we wait for the new revolution. Read today of Mousavi supporters going out on Basiji hunting parties.

  5. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Obama this afternoon:

    “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.

    As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.

    Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.”

  6. Timothy says:

    I don’t think Ron Paul even knows where he is most days.

  7. Vincent says:

    Never mind: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was the only lawmaker opposed to the resolution. Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa) voted present.

    Way to go, guys.

  8. Vincent says:

    Any word on who the odd man out was?

  9. C.T. Behemoth says:

    In the strongest message yet from the U.S. government, the House voted 405-1 Friday to condemn Tehran’s crackdown on demonstrators and the government’s interference with Internet and cell phone communications.

    -Multiple news sources

  10. T says:

    This whole sequence of events is like something the OC would normally make fun of. That is all.

  11. Change We Can Believe In says:


    Obama is a good for nothing loser.

    You know, it’s not like I can’t tell you’re posting from the same computer under a different name. -ed.

  12. Johnny says:


    Hitler shout-out? Don’t have a real argument? Hitler was a national socialist, key word socialist. Him and Barry would have been great friends, like Barry and Hugo. (Curtis, kiss your Hugo Chavez portrait now). I got a bucket for you to cry in, lil’ baby. “Anyone who disagrees that Barry Hussein Obama is not the greatest president ever is a racist.” Hope that makes you sleep at night….moving on….

    Barry Obama is a vampire. He only eats steak raw, so he can taste the blood.

    He has a videotape of children crying that he lets play while he is sleeping.

    But, seriously, could he have done any less about the North Koreans shooting everything they have into the Korean Straight? You don’t know what the Korean Straight is though, because your education is too poor, look it up on wiki, alright good. Why has this man gone into Israel and told them what to do (2 states) and has not even sent a hallmark card to Kim Jong?

    Where has ol’ Nancy Pelosi been by the way? I am glad we have such strong Republicrat leaders.

  13. Vincent says:

    Do you really think they’re ‘rooting’ for anything? It seems to me they’ve got Barack’s number and they made a preemptive complaint of “interventionism” to keep him in line.

    It was a message to Obama, not to “the Muslim world”, such as it is.

  14. Curtis says:

    Johnny –

    The only thing your comment was missing was a Hitler shout-out and something about ACORN and a birth certificate. If you’re going to start talking like the crazies who comment on stories Drudge links to, don’t skimp on me.

    Vincent –

    Sullivan has been doing a great job covering Iran, and overall the coverage and analysis i’ve seen from mainstream media and bloggers alike has been pretty quality.

    Coincidentally, even with the “underwhelming” response by Obama, yesterday Iran STILL started accusing the US of meddling in their election. They WANT that to be the narrative, both internally and in the Muslim world. Ask yourself this: If Mahmoud and company are doing everything they can to try to make the United States appear like they’re meddling, what good would it do to give him what he want? Why do you think they would want that? Generally speaking, if MA and the Ayatollah are rooting for the US to do something, it is probably reasonble to guess it’s not altruistic.

  15. Curtis says:

    Johnny –

    The only thing your comment was missing was a Hitler shout-out and something about ACORN and a birth certificate. If you’re going to start talking like the crazies who comment on stories Drudge links to, don’t skimp on me.

  16. Sakaki says:

    Seems like we’re looking at a slightly varied version of the Prague Spring (1968).

    History repeating itself? Possibly.

  17. Vincent says:

    This is probably the best summary of the current political situation in Iran that I’ve read anywhere.

  18. Vincent says:


    This is brilliant stuff. No, really.

  19. Johnny says:


    Why would a dictator like Obama want to take out the dictator of Iran anyway? Not in his totalitarian nature. Moving on…

    God bless the Socialist/Labor Party of America, anyone who disagrees report to the closest government building for inspection.

  20. Andy says:

    Drink all day, play all night, I’m in Miami trick

  21. Curtis says:

    Good to see that every other comment on this story is more reasonable than the original post. It’s ridiculously simplistic to say “Democracy good, Obama should fight for democracy”. Almost all of the analysis that I’ve heard from Middle East experts has agreed that the absolute WORST thing that Obama could do is come out with rhetorical guns blazing on Iran. Believe it or not, the US isn’t a very popular country in the Middle East. As other commenters above me have stated, Obama publically condemning everything is going to insert the US in a situation that is currently an almost exclusively “Iranian” situation – that’s not positive for anyone, which has been true most times the US has meddled in elections.

    The situation in Iran is still extremely volatile – using a heavy hand in an already unpredictable situation is far, far from a good idea

  22. Vincent says:

    The real question is: does anyone ever think of one-hit-wonder Poe?

  23. Timothy says:

    Does the name Johnny make anyone else think of that song “Angry Johnny” by one-hit-wonder Poe?

  24. Vincent says:

    My Family Human Services major made all the difference in my decision to take a graduate degree in Family Human Services!

  25. Johnny says:

    CT and Vincent-

    You just cannot understand foreign relations, your education level has been too poor. The Family Human Services major has let you down. You know more about why the US is racist than you do about the constitution. Moving on…

    If Obama can’t be “meddling” in Iran, what has he been doing in Israel. He seems to be pretty tough with the Israelis, I forgot is that situation volatile? This socialist president would rather shake hands with Kim Jong and Hugo Chavez, at the same time as apologizing for everything the United States has done over the past 300 years.

    Look at how close Obama is with dictators and the lack of respect he gives democracies.

    Now, fellow Obama lovers, let’s all bow to the king of saudi arabia and kiss our Hugo Chavez portraits.

  26. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I think the ‘meddling’ has, as you noted, more to do with perception than reality.

    I suppose they are/were ‘meddling’, but they do seem to have proof. Obama presumably has access to the same sort of information, but even still…Iran and Europe have had a better relationship than the US and Iran. (Note: Europe here doesn’t include the UK). In other words, it seems like it would be harder to spin what the EU is saying into the same sort of rhetoric than if the US did the same thing. Of course, who is to keep the psychos from playing 6 degrees of separation from the US with this either?

    I just hope that Mousavi, et al. keep it up…especially after 7 days when the Guardian Council will have some sort of statement to make.

  27. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Well, I’m sure you don’t discount cross-generational influences or even intra-generational political clashes as people cross through their touchstones. I don’t think you can view any particular generation in isolation, especially with major events that have influenced them indirectly or their immediate ancestors directly.

    I feel like I’m stating a simple truth here, but I don’t know how best to articulate what I’m saying. Your questions are good ones, so I’m sorry for not giving them a better response at this point.

    I don’t know if the equation is that simple either, but Iranian politics has been very….narrow since the revolution and even before then. So, there are fewer touchstones to remember…which leads me to believe that their historical memory of such things is probably a bit stronger than in other nations where things are more fluid and changing.

  28. Vincent says:

    Thanks for the video. Was the European Parliament “meddling”, I wonder?

  29. Vincent says:

    Were the Great Depression or WWII the touchstones of the Baby Boom generation or did their politics and ideals develop in response to later social currents?

    I’m not saying the Shah doesn’t remain important in Iranian history, I’m just questioning whether or not the equation you’ve cooked up is really quite as straightforward as you’d have it be.

    Is 2009 the “1968” of the post-revolution Iranian youth?

  30. C.T. Behemoth says:

    Passed on via an Iranian friend of mine who is there and backing Mousavi.


  31. C.T. Behemoth says:

    “but if 2/3 of the country grew up after the Revolution and has experienced nothing but repression at the hands of the dictatorship, I just can

  32. Vincent says:


    Here is a more complete transcript, which is at once more heartening and more disheartening. It’s tougher than I’d originally given credit for while at the same time not really amounting to the strong statement I’d like to see.


  33. Vincent says:

    What is your response to those people who

  34. Ian says:

    Vincent on the 17th:


  35. C.T. Behemoth says:


  36. C.T. Behemoth says:

    What is your response to those people who ‘meddle’ in American electoral politics and claim that the game was stolen by Republicans?

  37. C.T. Behemoth says:

    The say-less/nothing crowd is just pointing to the fact that US rhetoric is counter-productive at this point. Iranians have good memories, they know that the US and UK imposed the Shah on them for other-than-honorable reasons. Surely, plenty of Iranians would realize that the regime would be using US rhetoric to its own ends if the US came out stronger. However, there are plenty of people in Iran, especially in the rural areas, who would believe such accusations (i.e. US is helping Mousavi, Mousavi is being paid by the CIA, the CIA is orchestrating ANOTHER COUP!)…because they’ve been true before.

    It’s not that people are stupid at all, it’s that they are jaded enough to wonder. When it comes to a revolution, the last thing you want people wondering about is whether or not their movement is organic and is serving Iranian needs rather than western/American/et al. needs.

    The difference between NK and Iran here is that NK is not in the midst of a potential ‘green’ revolution. The US regularly stays mum on elections too (even the brief coup against Chavez was met with silence until it seemed finalized) , so I don’t see why this one is so different. Yes, people have been brutalized and killed, but is that so different from other places where the US is also quiet? Not really. The difference here is that the US being quiet is more productive and helpful when it comes to not giving the hardliners ammunition.

    No one is taking the government seriously at this point…beyond those supporters of the hard line in Iran. It is a crisis in the regime, no doubt, and that’s what will be playing out. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, and what happens will undoubtedly happen regardless of what Obama or anyone else has to say on the matter…except for maybe Khameini since he ‘speaks for God’. Even he looked the part of the fool this week though. Silly AyatAllah!

  38. Vincent says:

    At least someone has it right:

    Show the Iranian people that they are not alone.

    Show the Tehran regime that the humane world is against its vote-rigging and tyranny.



    Was Obama “meddling” in Darfur, incidentally? Or was he “meddling” with Israeli politics with the Cairo speech?

    I’m just trying to figure out where the threshold is.

  39. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I sympathize with the desire to say something stronger, but the US simply cannot at this point. We do more harm by saying so than anything…which might not seem logical or reasonable, but that’s where we are now.

    From today’s news:

    “The Iranian government summoned the Swiss ambassador – who represents US interests in Iran – to complain at Washington’s “interventionist approach” on the election issue. The White House denied the charge”

    Imagine what’s in tomorrow’s news if Obama or the US actually said anything more. Ahmedinejad and Co. would love it if the US were stronger on this. It’s not about keeping from alienating them, it’s keeping from ENABLING them to be bigger asses and to take whatever is said and feed it into what they’re already trying to do (re: above news snippet).

    I still think that calling what Obama is doing with US foreign policy in the Middle East (and beyond) “groveling” is unproductive whining. Sure, it may be ideologically different than what some want out there, but the fact of the matter is…US foreign policy in the region has been terrible for far too long. In fact, it handicaps our ability to be more strong on issues like this…

    …like you are arguing for.

  40. Scott says:

    This is an interesting* conversation. I’m really glad* I saw this post. I feel like I’m smarter* having read it

  41. Ian says:

    Frankly, Vincent, this is a weak post that seems to only have put up to take a cheap (and, in this case, wholly undeserved) shot at Obama. I didn’t vote for him and I suspect my foreign policy views are pretty different from his, but I think he has handled the Iran situation quite well so far. A few points:

    • Obama’s entire quote from the article was “[i]t is not productive, given the history of US and Iranian relations to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections.” Which of course is absolutely true. Being seen as meddling in another country’s internal affairs is rarely, if ever, helpful.
    • Obama’s third quote in the article is again quite true: “The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.” The President of Iran only has limited power, and Mousavi is a “moderate” compared to Ahmadinejad if only because the latter is so stupefyingly wrongheaded and evil.
    • The U.S. is in no position to sabre rattle right now, and if it were the Iranian people would quickly unite against us. All of the good that has happened over the past four days would disappear overnight.
    • What do people propose the President do? If he speaks out more vociferously for the Mousavi supporters and promises them economic or military assistance if they topple the regime his comments will immediately backfire. A lot of people you saw out in the streets over the past few days hate the U.S. even more than they hate Ahmadinejad and Khameni. They are not out there solely because they’re upset over their government’s foreign policy.

    We are not close to a checkmate. The best course of action is to sit back, condemn the violence, aid the protesters in less visible ways, and hope that all of this severely weakens the regime.

    Of course if you’re a Martin Peretz reader then you may be upset that we haven’t simultaneously declared war on Iran and Pakistan yet. If there’s one good thing about the Obama administration, it’s hopefully that we won’t wildly blunder into unnecessary and difficult wars.

  42. Emily says:

    The president is FAR from groveling to the Islamic world in his speech from Cairo. What he is saying, a key point that Peretz is blatantly unaware of, is that the US is going to require that Israel play by the rules. Let’s talk for a minute about the Palestinian side and Zionism. It is believed by the Zionists that they have a divine historical right to occupy the land of Israel. There is no doubt that they should have a homeland. But it was not the “Land without a people” that is claimed. The Jews were settled onto land that was occupied by the Palestinians, though at the time, they were a group under the Ottoman Empire. Nonetheless, these people suddenly found themselves being edged out of their homes by Israelis who wanted their own state. The reasons that the US has sided with Israel are controversial and based largely, though not completely, on the strategic and religious advantages of this policy. Obama calling for an end to the violence and bias in this region is important and has little to do with appeasing the Muslims. Peretz plays the uninformed, pompous buffoon very well, and he presents his “facts” narrowly, though in sufficient proliferation as to give himself an air of authority. It is a ridiculous injustice to summarize the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in such a fashion.

    The Middle East is not just a seedbed full of terrorists that want to kill people for freedom. That is idiotic. They are more accurately, a deeply divided set of peoples with a rich history and culture, who happen to be fighting for their independence, freedom to practice their religion, and for the betterment of the Muslim world, which IS a real thing that does not need quotes as if it were hypothetical. Their methods are different from ours, and they do have fundamentalist terrorist group, but their radicals should no more determine them than Timothy McVey should define us.

    The US saw during 9/11 how dangerous it is for a country to be involved in so much “meddling.” To be clear, I do not defend the actions of the terrorists. I am only making the point that, clearly, blundering into a country to solve problems we don’t understand, and taking sides in a gigantic problem that is not ours to solve, has yielded some nasty sentiments towards the US over the past 90 years, and frankly, they aren’t entirely from left field. The best way to keep the United States safe and to set an example abroad is through unyielding diplomacy and unwavering commitment to respecting the rights of sovereignty of other nations. Our current president, surrounded by advisers, does just that. It is our last president who liked to take those firm uneducated stands you advocate. What a noble leader!

    Finally, as to war. By calling for Obama to take a stand, WHICH HE HAS, you are calling for the inevitable further division of Iran. CT points out the history we have with the Shah, and the fact that action would support Ahmadinejad, but he doesn’t point out time. It has only been FOUR DAYS. Revolution takes time. Justice takes time. Obama has come out to say that the events are troubling, and that he is deeply troubled by a nation that does not permit peaceful protest. You fail to realize that a firm stand by Obama is tantamount to taking sides, and that any further action at this juncture is premature and likely to incite more violence, or even warfare. No error in leadership has been made by Obama in his statements on Iran. He shows reserve, but deliberation. He defers to the people to create a solution, which they are doing. Just be patient. No one is condoning killings or violence.

  43. Wanker says:


    If only our savior Reagan was still president. He’d be all fire and brimstone. He’d tell those silly Iranians to take a big step back and to suck his dick. Then he’d tell them they’d better get their elections all in order or he’d be all scorched earth on their asses and then rape their children.

    Man, Reagan was just tits.

  44. Vincent says:

    I sympathize here, but

  45. Emily says:

    I’ve got to say Vincent, I think you’re dead wrong on both counts. It takes strength to fight, but even greater strength to confront problems from a diplomatic standpoint. President Obama is making a statement that the United States respects the right of the Islamic world to govern themselves as they see fit, in cooperation with fundamental human rights. By giving these people the opportunity to come to the table with their ideas, values, and issues, he is showing, for the first time in a long time, that the US will accept their sovereignty and their right to not be treated like petulant barbarians who need the US to swoop in and babysit them. He is backing the US out of its aggressive, blundering, and harmful role as international protectorate and instead offering a hand to countries willing to comply with the order of the developed world. The Cairo speech stands as one of the most politically forward-thinking moves the US has made in foreign affairs for the last century.

    In regards to the Iranian election, The US has no irrefutable evidence that the Iranian election was corrupted, nor can we afford to go to war with the traditionalist factions of Iran. By all reasonable anecdotal evidence, it has been rigged, and Ahmadinejad has attempted to establish a dictatorship. With our concerns about their nuclear armament particularly, we cannot go to war with a government and a nation seeking legitimacy. By rolling in, guns blazing, to stave off Iranian PRESIDENTIAL forces, we would be siding with Mousavi in the eyes of the world. It is both premature and irresponsible to believe that the Iranian people cannot make this historical push for justice as a nation without our military assistance. You’ll also note that Obama has not accepted sovereignty of either candidate. This is critical. As of my last knowledge, the EU had accepted it, and perhaps France, among others. The US has not backed down to this ploy for dictatorship, but merely given Iran a moment to settle itself. The Iranians are capably fighting their own battles and risking their own lives for the reform they believe is necessary. The “offense” you scoff at is real. By sweeping in and choosing sides, we put the US into yet another domestic conflict we don’t understand, at the expense of losing respect at home, abroad, and particularly among our allies. Obama is smart enough to understand that diplomacy, not military action, is the most prudent path to peace, and in foreign policy at least, he is doing fine work.

  46. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I sympathize here, but….groveling? That’s such a petty claim, it’s not worth addressing.

    Obama has to be careful because of the US’ history in Iran. Namely, that the US is on the books having imposed the Shah on the Iranian people 60 years ago. Coming out too strong at this point, plays into the hands of Ahmedinejad and his hardline handlers.

    As someone who has worked in the field of Middle Eastern ‘stuff’ for quite some time, I find Obama’s more reasoned and intelligent approach to be refreshing. Or are we arguing that he needs to break out the democratic fire and brimstone and ‘meddle’ in the electoral outcomes of other countries, however shoddy or corrupt they may be. If that’s the case, break out the laundry list because the US is and has been friends with some seriously autocratic asshats for…a VERY long time. Hell, it’s almost foreign policy tradition in terms of double-standards and hypocrisy depending on the geography of the place of concern.

    What’s of more interest here is if Mousavi and Co. keep it up after the Guardian Council ‘reviews’ the counts in its ambiguous and as of yet, unarticulated ways. If THAT happens, then things will get far more interesting and anything Obama might say would just look dumb in comparison…considering that real things will be happening on the ground via Iranians and not western rhetoric aimed one way or the other. Of course, most people think that the likelihood of things changing at this point is slim, even though Khameini and friends really put their foot in it this week.

    That there was manipulation in this election is, to me, indisputable. The numbers don’t lie and this would have to be one of the most atypical elections in Iranian (world?) history if it is legitimate.

    Obama said the perfect statement the other day when he said that this situation needs to be solved by Iranians. That he re-affirmed that later and showed that US policy toward Iran will not change regardless of the outcome…was smart as well. So far, so good…for Obama anyway.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.