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Do We Have The Right, Part 2: What Would We Want?

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So, the vast majority of comments from my first Do We Have the Right post seemed to indicate that you all thought that our glorious country had the right and the obligation to go into, and mess with, the system in Iran. Though I disagree with the logic behind this (being a student of poli-sci and all), I want to go ahead and harbor that thought and idea and extrapolate a bit, if you let me.

So, let's start this off by looking back at our own history. In 2000, one of the closest  American presidential elections occurred. In Florida, there were twenty-some electoral votes up for grabs, and the two candidates, Vice President Albert Gore and Son-in-Chief George W. Bush, were fighting for the state. Whomever won Florida would win the election. Well, the results were in doubt, the courts were brought in, and eventually the Supreme Court applied the 14th Amendment.  Bush won. Frankly, he won fair and square.

Now, this is similar to the situation in Iran, but it has one big difference. In Florida, instead of wanting other countries to come in and do something about the fiasco, the American people wanted to let it work out via our own legal system, in accordance with the Constitution, and have no outside input. Frankly, had any country dared to question, or even imply, fraud we probably would have attacked them, or at least embargoed them (anybody want a Freedom Fry or Liberty Cabbage?). So, here we have the American people wanting our own country to solve our own problems. Why is it different in Iran?


See the hypocrisy yet?

Now, there are also others who want to "deal" with Iran because we believe that it is our duty to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world. For starters, we are not a democracy, and we have never been one. We are a republic, and arguably, an oligarchy. A democracy is unlimited rule by the people, a republic is rule under a constitution. Big difference.

Anyway, people are arguing that it is our job to ensure that these ideals are available to people around the world. While this sounds all nice and dandy, let's take a quick look at some of our major allies:

  • Italy – The Roma people are persecuted and banned from several public places
  • Britain – She spies on all of her people
  • Iraq – They make a Constitution forbidding ex post facto and then try Saddam under laws they just created
  • France – They are so secular that they are not allowed to wear headscarfs in schools
  • Germany – try saying 88, HH, or the 14 words without going to jail
  • Israel – ignoring the fact that the only reason we like this country is that it is needed for the Apocalypse, the government is removing and destroying an entire people

See the hypocrisy yet?

Finally, the most logical group of those against my position emerged: those who believe that we are indeed affected by what happens in Iran. While I agree with this on the face of it, my point was that nothing is going to change overall. No matter who gets elected, either the status quo is kept or America is better off, so it is not going to get worse. This is why I said that it didn't matter that much.

However, there are those who believe that because it matters, even in the slightest way, we should do something. The logic here fails when you realize a few simple things. For starters, what happens in any country affects us here in America. If the Canadians have a boycott of maple syrup, then our market falters. If the North Koreans decide that their leader is mortal after all, then our international relations with them change. If the Mexicans develop another flu, then we all die. Anything and everything interacts with us, which means that we should try to change everything in our favor. Yet, we don't want to do that, as there are logical and logistical obstacles to doing that.

See the hypocrisy yet?

Well, if you really have yet to see this hypocrisy, I am starting to feel bad for you. See, we can not ask, alter, or threaten another country during an election without the impact coming back at us. We got mad at Russia for doing that in Ukraine, yet are trying to do it here. Then, we can not argue about Iran and freedom, as almost none of our allies have any. Lastly, the logic behind affecting America  = action has many logical problems. So, why, even if it is our right, should we go in and interfere?

See the hypocrisy yet?

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About Robert M. Barga

  • I’m very happy to learn that what’s happening now in Iran is about the same as what happened in Florida a few years back. I had feared that it was quite different. Now that it’s been explained, I understand: the mere handful of Iranians demonstrating and getting jailed, killed and that sort of thing are just having fun complaining about hanging chads* and the Iranian courts will produce a result in which someone will win “fair and square.”

    I was a bit concerned about “human rights” and such nonsense, but now I can just sit around content in the knowledge that it’s just a harmless spectacle presented for my amusement.

    Gosh golly! That fella Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sure is one cool dude! Iran is lucky to have him fully in charge.

    *Chad is a very popular name in Iran, I understand.


  • I sure am glad this article before I read this. Otherwise, I might have been unprepared to understand what fools some Iranians can be.

    Thanks much!


  • I totally concur. Now that we’re absolutely certain that no human rights have been violated – except for voting irregularities here and there, but that’s no biggie because if it can happen in USA, it can happen anywhere – we can retire to our living rooms and watch the spectacle unfold, knowing full well that no real harm has been done.

    I’d sure hope to see the repeat of the Tribe-Olsen argument before the Supreme Court. Now, that was entertainment. Perhaps the Iranian National Television will broadcast the proceedings on cable.

  • Dan (Miller),

    Concerning the link in #2, it brings to mind Orhan Pamuk’s“Snow.” Though fiction, it’s a hell of an account of the ways that elections are systematically being rigged (in this case, in Turkey) not only through “conventional” means but such tactics as intimidation and terror.

  • “I want to go ahead and harbor that thought and idea and extrapolate a bit, if you let me.”

    I’ll pass. You have completely misinterpreted what the majority of comments were saying, and appear to lazy have done the simplest of research to learn FL had 25 votes at the time.

    Considering how off base you were in Part 1, it doesn’t bode well for me to bother with the rest of this.

  • Clavos

    See the hypocrisy yet?

    Actually, no. I don’t.

    The Compact Oxford English Dictionary defines hypocrisy thus:


    • noun (pl. hypocrisies) the practice of claiming to have higher standards or beliefs than is the case.

    Nothing you describe fits that definition.

  • Good call. The popular opinion, though, is – a discrepancy between action and speech.
    Care to elaborate?

  • STM

    When will Americans, even educated ones who should know better, stop this hair-splitting nonsense about America not being a democracy.

    True, it’s not a democracy in the ancient Greek sense, but the term is now in common usage for countries like America and Britain (one a republic with a constitution, the other a constitutional monarchy, which have near-identical political systems – in function at least, if not form – and laws and lifestyles).

    Both are what are aptly described – in the modern sense – by even the most biased commentators as “modern liberal democracies”.

    That’s because that is essentially what they are. So in that sense, America is indeed a democracy.

    Robert – for what’s it’s worth, you lost me at that point. But a lot of the rest of it is wrong too.

    As for the British spying on their people, it’s a fallacy. They use CCTV cameras in town centres, railway stations and airports to keep and eye on criminals and would-be terrorists. Traffic police also use in-car devices to stop lawbreakers who think it’s OK to drive without insurance and motor-vehicle registration while everyone else obeys the law.

    They still can’t walk into your house or tap your phone without a warrant.

    I don’t live in the UK, but given their track record of using CCTV to help solve crimes, including the London terror attacks, I wouldn’t have a problem with it if I did.

    There are strict laws on how the police can use the images and if you’re not doing anything wrong – like breaking a law – they don’t give you a second look.

    It’s not that different bit to every store, bus station, airport, and police car or what have you in the US that has a CCTV camera recording the action.

    Also, the US is the only country in the world that demands fingerprints and biometric information from every visitor.

    I for one don’t trust the US government to have that stuff on file, but what choice do you have?

    Once again, you’ve bought into the dangerous myth of American exceptionalism.

    US police and law enforcement agencies in my experience are among those in the developed world MOST likely to deny a person their rights, one way or the other – if they think they can get away with it.

    And just remember, it’s not that long ago that black couldn’t sit in the same restaurant as whites in somwe states.

    It took nearly 200 years for the good intentions set down in the constitution to catch up to reality in the US when it came to rights for ALL Americans.

    It still isn’t totally there.

  • STM

    IMO, proliferation of firearms (legal, which also leads to a proliferation of illegal weapons), the death penalty, the treatment of prisoners in America’s jails (punishment and revenge rather than rehabilitation), the trying of far too many juveniles as adults and the decision to suspend due process and habeas corpus in some cases are also serious indictments on the current state of American society.

    Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be tough on many of those issues, especially crime, but the extremes now in operation in regards to some make you look every bit as bad as places like Iran.

    Take the blinkers off and look at yourselves seriously.

  • STM

    And yes, back to topic, the US has every right to expect that Iran changes its stance on a whole range of issues, especially with the olive branch being offered, although right now its people seem to be doing a reasonable job of making that call for themselves judging by what’s being reported out of Teheran this week.

    However, until that all changes, Iran remains a rogue state given to sabre rattling under its present dictatorship (yes, it is … Ayatollah Khameinei pretty much has absolute power and is unelected – Ahmadinejad is his puppet) and a serious and paranoid threat to world peace and wellbeing.

  • @1

    human rights is addressed by point #2 of the article,
    try again

  • @3

    yet again, i handled the whole issue of rights and if we should consider interfereing with their system of resolving this

  • @6

    don’t try to insult me, definition of hypocrisy.

  • @8

    the term democracy started to be used for america during the cold war when we didnt want to be associated with the ‘republics’ that were commies. We are not a democracy on any official form, and lable ourselves as a republic at the UN

    Don’t go all detockville on me with american exceptionalisim

    And i believe that the country should work it out the way we did (with laws and struggles), not because some bigger country showed up

  • @9

    i hate all of those thigns too

  • @10

    why do we have the right to interfere with another country?

  • I agree totally with your article and you Robert!
    Why does the United States Senate Believe that they should interfere with all matters all around the world while not taking care of the matter at hand, Our own domestic crisis. health care ? [I added health care:)]Ask most people accept the politicians and the media, some of it, “Should we let Iran be?” the answer is a resounding, “YES!”
    It is “big money” that controls all of us and
    I don’t believe we will ever get out from under it’s oppressing big thumb…

  • we are not a democracy, and we have never been one. We are a republic, and arguably, an oligarchy. A democracy is unlimited rule by the people, a republic is rule under a constitution. Big difference.We should try to make the constitution work for the people shouldn’t we? ALL THE PEOPLE EQUALY?

  • Clavos

    The US is not exceptional. Not when compared to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Israel (especially), etc.

    Oh, and BTW:

    The OED trumps M-W any day of the week — twice on weekends, as any English major can tell you.

  • STM

    Robert: “the term democracy started to be used for america during the cold war”.

    Perhaps it was used in that period, but that is not the whole of the story Robert, as it was also used a lot prior to that.

    Most famously, FDR used it liberally during WWII, describing the US as the great arsenal of democracy and Britain as the spearhead of resistance to world conquest. He was talking about the US as a democracy in the modern sense. In fact, one city of the US -Detroit – happily took up that mantle even after the US entered the war.

    Woodrow Wilson also went before Congress in 1917 to argue his position for US entry to the Great War, using the words: “Making the world safe for democracy”. He obviously meant the US, and also made liberal use of the term.

    I would imagine many other US presidents have used it as well.

    Democracy in the modern sense simply doesn’t mean the same as it does in the ancient Greek sense … the key: the notion of modern, liberal western democracy doesn’t preclude either a republic under a constitution like the US or a constitutional monarchy like Australia, Canada or the UK (to name but a few that readily fit the moniker).

    Today, it’s splitting hairs, semantics – call it what you will – to try to debunk that idea. I don’t really understand why Americans do it, to be honest.

    The US as an entity has always been a liberal democracy in the modern sense, right from the moment of its birth, and always will be as long as nothing changes.

    And given that the US was founded upon and operates under rule of law, I don’t see it changing any time soon despite its (not insurmountable) problems.

    However, letting everyone else in the world do whatever they like whilst the US sits back and sticks its head in the sand is a recipe for real disaster.

    That kind of isolationism caused all kinds of dramas in the lead up to WWII and would have caused all kinds of dramas during the Cold War had the Soviets been allowed to run unchecked (even the Vietnam War held Soviet expanisionism in check to a certain extent because it indicated to the Soviets that the US would be decisive enough to act if needed).

    Remember, too, this modern world is a world largely of US making, so it also has responsibilities and obligations that stretch way beyond the borders of the US and affect citizens of many other nations other than its own.

    So, yes, the US should be telling this Iranian regime where to get off. They DO represent a genuine danger, and not just to US interests.

  • STM

    FDR’s references to democracy are well-documented, but Wilson’s seem less well-known among Americans.

    Woodrow Wilson’s speech in part: ” … It is a fearful thing to lead this great peaceful people into war, into the most terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilisation itself seeming to be in the balance. But the right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts — for DEMOCRACY, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberties of small nations, for a universal dominion of right by such a concert of free peoples as shall bring peace and safety to all nations and make the world itself at last free.”

  • The main problem with your thesis here is that no one credible in the US is actually advocating direct unilateral US intervention in the Iranian election. Multinational oversight? Sure. UN involvement? Why not. Public pressure? Absolutely. But the US going in there and solving their problems doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda so you’re addressing an issue which seems not to exist.


  • STM

    Yep, you’re right there Dave.

    That’s not happening, nor does there seem any chance of that happening. Besiodes, would the US really want another Iraq? Don’t think so.

    Maybe Robert is taking straw polls from what he’s hearing on campus or around the traps (and I don’t mean that to be derogatory). I don’t know how Americans are viewing this as I’m not in the US gauging anyone’s feelings, but I’d wager London to a brick no one actually wants unilateral action, military or otherwise – and I’d say that applies especially the US government.

    But does the US have a right to express its disquiet?

    Of course it does.

  • Deano

    I’m sensing some basic confusion over how international politics works…”right” has nothing to do with it. International law and practical convenience recognize that states have a “right” of sovereignty – nominally what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, if I can use a bit of a metaphor. As a nation-state you have sovereign control over your territory and population – the long standing “right of Kings”.

    However in practice your ability to assert sovereignty is limited by the practical impact of your internal capabilities, your neighbors interests and the international community in general. I could personally claim “sovereignty” over territories I could manifestly not have any overt control over, a “right” that noone recognized or attributed as valid. In short sovereign rights end whenever someone else’s interests intercede.

    It all comes down to capabilities and interests. Typically nation states have a wide range of interests – security (of territory, of populace, of political control), economic stability, trade, etc. In the international sphere, nation-states have developed a wide range of practices and approaches that formulate the basics of international law and international sovereignty. I am assuming that when you carp about having no “right” to interfere in other nation-states, this is what you are referring to – the right of a sovereign national to manage its own internal affairs without interference or outside intervention.

    On the practical side (and most international law is so loosely developed as a practice, so the practical side tends to win out) it is not nor has it ever been absolute. Nations do not exist in a vacuum but rather as groups, often in opposition, often in open or covert conflict over their interests.

    The primary measurement of what is legal in international law is what you get away with.

    To pretend that the Iranian election and the crackdown on Iranian opposition has no external impact and is a matter that the outside world has no comment or say on is, well, bluntly, poorly reasoned. Iran has a geographic proximity to a key resource area that impacts on a significant portion of the world’s energy supply. It has been governed for the past 30 years by a theocratic, anti-western government that has a paper-thin veneer to its democratic elections. It regularly uses the western nations as an excuse to repress its own population, is guilty of significant and ongoing human rights violation and outright murdered the family of someone I went to school with.

    It has exported and funded terrorist factions and is now working towards developing nuclear weapon capabilities….

    So feel free to argue whether the US should intervene or comment on or ignore the events in Iran, but don’t pretend that the sovereign right of nations is anything sancrosanct. There is no “right” just what nations can, can’t, will or won’t do in pursuit of their interests and capabilities.

  • Michael Petrick

    Dave gets it right:

    “The main problem with your thesis here is that no one credible in the US is actually advocating direct unilateral US intervention in the Iranian election. Multinational oversight? Sure. UN involvement? Why not. Public pressure? Absolutely. But the US going in there and solving their problems doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s agenda so you’re addressing an issue which seems not to exist.”

    That was why people were disagreeing with your first post. Not because “the vast majority of comments from my first Do We Have the Right post seemed to indicate that you all thought that our glorious country had the right and the obligation to go into, and mess with, the system in Iran.”

    The vast majority of posts DIDN’T ARGUE THAT. Please learn to read people’s comments carefully and seriously. You entirely misread my first comment – in addition to many other people’s rather precise and clear arguments. I don’t think the issue is that we’re all poor writers. I think you’re not seeing, or not bothering to see the distinctions we’re making.

  • Sovereignty is only as good as the government claiming it. If Robert Mugabe or Lil Kim start whining about their precious sovereignty no one takes them terribly seriously because their governments lack the legitimacy necessary to qualify as the guardian of their sovereignty.

    Nations and people have a right to sovereignty, but an illegitimate government which doesn’t really represent the best interests of those people can’t claim protection on that basis.


  • Like any kind of right, the right of sovereignty is subject to restrictions/limitations. It’s not absolute.

  • Michael, a lot of the time people see what they expect to see or ignore those comments which don’t fit with their expectations. Robert B. may be getting input from other sources which has convinced him that we’re all gung-ho to go invade Iran and build democracy there. Or perhaps he doesn’t see that there is a difference between Americans very much wanting regime change in Iran and Americans being willing to impose that regime change on the country by force.


  • How could you possibly attribute such narrow-mindedness to anyone who bills themselves as “a student of polysci and all”?

    Shame on you, Dave!

  • Clavos

    Shouldn’t it be polisci?

    “Political” is not spelled with a “y.”

    Who edited this article??? :>)

  • I think “polysci” refers to “many sciences;” perhaps astrology, feng shui, philosophy, economics, that sort of thing.


  • Nice touch. But please, keep philosophy out of it, Don’t give it a bad name. Unless it be A New Age Philosophy or some such hybrid.

  • don’t try to insult me

    We don’t have to try to insult you, Robert. You manage a credible job of insulting yourself all by your lonesome without our help. But, since you raise th topic….

    Israel – ignoring the fact that the only reason we like this country is that it is needed for the Apocalypse, the government is removing and destroying an entire people….

    Apocalypse, Robert? I thought you were a Jew! Jews don’t talk about the “Apolcalypse”, Christians do. Jews talk about the “War of Gog and Magog”. Maybe you better redo that bar mitzva, there, Robert. You’re managing to miss a whole lot of Jewish knowledge.

    Israel – the government is removing and destroying an entire people….

    I don’t remember the GOI (government of Israel – goy for short) destroying any Arab settlements lately. But of course, you will quote all those self-hating “Jews” who say otherwise – in spite of the facts on the ground.

    I’m sorry, Robert. You may be approaching graduation, but your writing is distinctly sophomoric. The only trouble with the internet is that kids like you write on topics they have no understanding of – and get away with it!

  • But Ruvy.

    He must have gotten an “A” for the paper in the Polysci department. And that’s a credential.

  • What I do find ridiculous is the tenor. Even undergraduate papers in any respectable institution of higher learning had to go beyond mere opinion and present if only a semblance of the argument. There is none of it here. I would have thought that Ohio State subscribed to higher standards.

    But I’m talking of the sixties and the seventies. Things must have changed since, except for the athletic department.

  • Roger, re Comments #31 and 32 —

    Oh, OK. Have it your way. Let’s substitute “international law” for “philosophy.” Come to think of it, how about “education?”


  • STM

    Dan: “I think “polysci” refers to “many sciences;” perhaps astrology, feng shui, philosophy, economics, that sort of thing.”

    It used to have a basket-weaving section too.

  • Home economics should cover it all.

  • Clavos

    Hire a college kid now, while he still knows everything…

  • I’ll never forget one of my instructor’s complaints – about the kids being too smart to learn.

  • STM

    Gen Y are pretty good … forget that old-fashioned notion of starting at the bottom.

    Hell no. “After I’ve done 10 minutes of filing, I’ll be ready to do the job that took you 35 years to learn”.

    “Plus I want twice the money”.

    Clav, if you want a laugh, go to my blog and check out the latest political scandal erupting Down Under: Ute-gate (pronounced: Yoot-gate, and roughly translated as Pick-up-gate).

    It involves the PM, the Treasurer, and a mate of theirs who is a car dealer.

    It’s a hoot. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious.

    Only in Oz could this happen.

    I’m only suggesting you might want to have a look because at least you understand ‘Strine.

  • STM

    Robert: “Italy – The Roma people are persecuted and banned from several public places”.

    That wouldn’t be because they’re renowned as a pack of tea leaves, would it???

    Rome means pretty rich pickings in all those public places full of tourists with nice fat wallets, passports and credit cards.

    Unfair to all Roma, granted, as not all are thieves – but on the balance of probabilities, without knowing them I wouldn’t be letting them through my front door either.

    This is the price people pay for doing stuff that’s a bit naughty.

  • irene wagner

    “What is a YOOT?” —Fred Gwyn as the judge in My Cousin Vinny

    I thought Robert was a yoot, not a pick-up.

  • irene wagner

    Yoot=Youth, if you’re from Brooklyn.

  • a yoot with a head on his shoulders

  • Dan(Miller) #31… lol

  • STM

    A “yoot” is Australian for pick-up truck.

    As in Ute. Short for Utility.

  • Not as in The People That Used To Call Utah Home Before The Mormons Moved In?

  • STM

    Doc: “Not as in The People That Used To Call Utah Home Before The Mormons Moved In?”


    Doc, Kevvie’s in a bit of strife over a banged up ute given to his campaign team by a BrisVegas car dealer to cart election signage around during the Kevin ’07 federal poll.

    It is the most bizarre erupting scandal I’ve ever seen.

    Basically, there’s a mob run by Treasury called OzCar, which has $2bn in funds to provide credit for the motor vehicle industry during the GFC.

    The claim is that Kev and the treasurer tried to use their influence to help the car dealer … at the same meeting Ford Credit was asking for $500 million in taxpayer dollars.

    It’s a hoot – but heads could roll.

  • irene wagner

    A hoot then, not a yoot. I’m leaving! LOLs to all.

  • @17-18

    Right on Jeannie

  • @19
    i am only a minor, and we say the MW trumps as it is american english

    in polisci we say the OED trumps for historical usage

  • @20
    i know it is semantics, yet every book i have read, and i am an American focus, clearly indicated that we were not a Democracy

  • @22

    1) what country is going to ask for the oversight
    2) who is going to have to fund/provide troops for all of it
    3) what right does the UN or the oversight body have

  • @26

    then why do we recognize most countries in the world, as most dont have leaders they consent to

    our for that matter, when congress is 32% approved, are we ligitamite?

  • @all of you

    i am Dyslexic (horrible word choice for the disorder, by the way), so i do mispell quite often

  • @33

    we = my country

    the reason the religious right supports Israel with such drive is because they want it to cause the Apocolypse (reading the new testament is a good idea)

    Also, this is nothing like what i would turn in to a professor. An example of those are here.

  • Well, Robert. Since you can write and research well, you should try to submit similar pieces here. We do have an intelligent audience on BC, in case you haven’t noticed, and it won’t be above our heads.

  • Clavos

    in polisci we say the OED trumps for historical usage

    Well, polisci, which is a misnomer to begin with, there is no science in politics, you are trumped by the English scholars, who are the experts in linguistics and the English language.

  • Well, it is a social science, Clav, in the same sense that sociology or economics is a social science.

    Here’s a listing of political science theories.

  • Wow! Just like Florida. It is horrible that the same sort of thing happens so often in the United States! Iran is a bastion of freedom, happiness and fairness; no matter what all those silly Iranians being jailed, injured and killed for protesting may think. President Obama should just shut the @#$*&$ up and go help his wife in the White House vegetable garden.


    Opps. Time for my meds.

  • Well, that’s the price you pay for the state of incommunicado between nations.

    But heck, even with Republic of China there’s little that the US appears able to do by way of objecting to human rights violations – because of the trade policy and other state matters.

    I’d seem that our complicity, on the one hand, and ineptness on the other, has effectively tied our hands behind our back.

  • I don’t know what “incommunicado” has to do with the situation. My take is that President Obama has shrugged and voted “Present!”

    I understand the tactic of keeping options open. I also understand the necessity to conserve resources until they can be used most effectively. As to the present situation in Iran, I think that now is the time to select from the various options. He can’t do it yesterday or a couple of days ago. He can do it now. I also think that failing to come vigorously to the defense of those in Iran who desire some of the freedoms enjoyed in the United States — and are expending their blood to achieve them — is a very bad mistake. President Obama doesn’t need to send in troops; he doesn’t even need to ask the U.N. to impose sanctions. He should, however, as the principal spokesman for the United States, make clear the disgust felt in the United States for the actions of the Iranian Government. If he shares that disgust, he should make that clear as well. He should not simply declare that “the world is watching.” He is not President of the World; he is the President of the United States.

    I hope that He hasn’t missed the chance to do so, effectively.


  • As I commented on Clavos’s new article, just posted, it’s nothing but a gesture. A paper tiger.

    We should have been thinking about our friends and enemies all along, before committing to Iraq. Parts of Iran were always pro-democratic. But no. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney had other plans.

    Now we’re paying the price of a failed foreign policy.

  • And what “incommunicado” means should be fairly obvious. If you have a relationship with a person or a nation, you can do something. But when you don’t, your options are severely limited.

    We couldn’t even get to square one with Iran in the matter of their nuclear program. So why do you suppose we can fare any better in the present case.

    The sins of the past are indeed coming back to haunt us and bite us in the ass. But you’re expecting some kind of a miracle all of a sudden. It just doesn’t happen.

  • Roger, President Obama has been in office for five months. During that time, he has sought to change the world’s perceptions of the United States. I think he has been successful to some extent, although I don’t think that he has managed to change them much for the better.

    You may be right in contending that Now we’re paying the price of a failed foreign policy. Still, and perhaps as a result of the changes President Obama has made, the opposition leader in Iran, and those supporting him, have sought some degree of support from the United States, and President Obama has thus far not gone out of his way to offer it.

    If the vision President Obama has of the United States is that she is a failed nation, with no room even to offer moral support to those who seek some of the freedoms still available in the United States, then I see very little hope for the United States.


  • Dan,

    You can’t undo years of damage in five months. You should know better than that. Not to mention the fact that the Iraqi conflicts fuels the Iran-US relationship. Yes, something’s got to be done, but taking a strong moral stance ain’t going to fly. Not if there are no plans for the follow-up.

  • Food for thought:

    Deaths confirmed in Iran unrest

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, criticised foreign governments, and specifically the United States and the UK, for seeking to “interfere” in the crisis.

    “Definitely by hasty remarks you will not be placed in the circle of friendship with the Iranian nation,” the ISNA news agency quoted the president as saying on Sunday.

    “Therefore, I advise you to correct your interfering stances.”


    Barack Obama, the US president, urged Tehran to allow Mousavi’s supporters to stage peaceful protests and called for an end to the violence.

    “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching,” he said.

    “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.”

  • Ahmedinejad seems not to grasp that the “circle of friendship” of the Iranian nation may not inolude him.


  • Ahmedinejad seems not to grasp that the “circle of friendship” of the Iranian nation may not include him. – Dave

    Well said.

  • @58

    there is litte to research here. THe clear thing is that we know nothing, yet are trying to act on that lack of knowledge

    more on this in part 3

  • @61

    dont think that we are imune to this sort of thing:

    kent state
    civil war
    new york riots
    detroit riots

  • @66

    more on this in my next post, but there is a damn good reason Obama should do nothing
    stop and think about how they would react for a second

  • Clavos

    It’s only Iranians killing Iranians, no harm, no foul.

  • STM

    Robert: “more on this in part 3”

    OK, something to look forward to, then …

  • Stan @ #49:

    (sorry for delayed response, have spent very little time BCing this weekend)

    Doc, Kevvie’s in a bit of strife over a banged up ute given to his campaign team by a BrisVegas car dealer to cart election signage around during the Kevin ’07 federal poll.

    The latest I read, courtesy of the Beeb, was that there was an e-mail supposedly so incriminating that it occasioned Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal leader, to demand the resignation of everybody in the government from the tea lady upwards.

    Not to be outdone, Kevvo, acting entirely out of character – and not for the first time, either – apparently hefted a pair of bollocks of a size previously thought only to be possessed by that Keating bloke, declared that the e-mail was fake, and demanded Turnbull’s resignation for flinging it at him.

    And the police have now determined that the e-mail is, indeed, fake.

    Turnbull’s move.

    You’re right, mate. What tremendous fun!

  • Clavos

    where the hell did you see any of us say anything like that

  • Being rather tired of the “it’s all America’s fault” and “we have no moral right/obligation” theses, I looked around for some different insights into the current Iranian situation. Here are two. The first asks why the Iranian armed forces have not, thus far, been noticeably involved in putting down the protests.

    We have “security forces,” Tehran police, and the Basij deploying at various intersections and plazas in order to break up anti-regime gatherings. We learn of the Basij riding around on motorbikes randomly shooting demonstrators and hitting others with batons. We have reports of Hezbollah soldiers being brought in from Lebanon.

    But, the streets are not filling up with Iranian soldiers. Tanks are not rolling down the boulevards. At least not yet.

    Is this a sign that the regime does not trust the armed forces to do its bidding against fellow Iranians?

    I don’t know whether the author of the article is nuts, nor do I have any different explanation as to why the Iranian armed forces have been inconspicuous. It is an interesting question.

    The second article draws an analogy to the unrest in Poland back in the 1980:

    I was a young U.S. diplomat in Poland in 1980, and what I learned is that people’s entire frame of reference is transformed if they can say something in public that previously could only be said in private. Among other things, freedom of speech is liberating. In Warsaw, strangers came up to me on the street to tell me all kinds of things – because they could. I imagine that many Iranians also have pent-up feelings and that they experience the same relief and intoxication in speaking out publicly, even at a high personal cost.

    I still wonder whether a few “mere words,” expressing the perhaps hackneyed notion that the United States stands for freedom might do some good.


  • dan, i actually touch the army in my next post, which is submitted

  • STM

    Doc, one of the key questions raised here is one of cronyism.

    As you know, it’s just not done here (but seems to happen on occasion anyway). In this case it carries allegations of misleading parliament, which as you know under the Westmisnter system means resignation is a must if it’s found to be true.

    Ford Credit were trying to secure $500 million from the government, and this Queensland car dealer (treasurer Wayne Swan later bought a car off him) who had given Kev a ute to use during his election campaign got to go to the same meeting to try to get a line of credit for his business.

    A memo devoted 2 paragraphs to Ford Credit’s problems and 10 to the BrisVegas car dealer.

    The fake email implicating Kev is indeed fake, the Federal Police have found this week, which means PM isn’t implicated … however, the email trail on Mr Swan shows that the car dealer was getting some nice treatment that honestly did seem over and above. Swayne likes documents; so faxes were going to Wayne’s home and it was made plain to treasury that Mr Swan was keeping an eye on the whole thing.

    He’s now saying that he did the same for other dealers, and therefore hasn’t misled parliament.

    All the stuff about the fake email and Turnbull has deflected some attention from Mr Swan, which means he’ll probably survive.

    Turnbull is in strife – what he used as his basis to try to bring down the government was indeed a fake email.

    However, there are so many red herrings being thrown around by both the government and the opposition, it’s just making the whole thing smell more and more fishy.

    Only in Oz could you have a government scandal springing initially from use of a battered 1996 Mazda pick-up festooned with election signange and lent to the future PM to cart his stuff around Bris Vegas during the last federal election.

    I’m lovin’ it. Yes, it’s almost better than the New York strip-club incident and the alleged layong on of hands.

    Almost … 🙂

  • Bliffle

    Does anyone have any concrete evidence of vote fraud in Iran?

  • I’m lovin’ it. Yes, it’s almost better than the New York strip-club incident and the alleged layong on of hands.

    The marvellous things about that incident was that it seemed so out of character. It’d hardly be more surprising if Princess Anne suddenly released a gangsta rap album.

  • @81