Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

McCain is Wrong About the Iranian Upheaval

As anyone reading this blog knows, I was a supporter of John McCain’s through the Republican primaries, especially during and after the Surge in Iraq, when most Democrats and Republicans were unwilling to support the action with a ten foot pole in the public sphere. I ended up not voting for him in the election, but it was for reasons outside of his positions on foreign policy matters.

But McCain’s approach and comments on the Iranian upheaval have been incorrect, even if I like the sound and spirit of his case, as they will likely not serve either American interests, or those of the Iranian dissident movement. McCain made a passionate plea for the Obama administration to stand up and support those marching in the streets of Tehran.

Powerful and necessary words. One would have to be a special kind of reactionary to not support the basic rights of a people to protest and dissent, and not be shot and killed by government goons for doing so. But those words of support do not define a policy; they are important, but how should the government forge them into policy?

McCain pressed Obama to take a firmer stand on Iran. In a Fox News interview, he stated:
And one of those rights is to be able to disagree with your government peacefully, and not be subject to beatings and killing in the streets of — of any country. And, by the way, we sent an envoy over to Iran to tell the shah of Iran that we had to leave.

But, look, the point is that, all during the Cold War, there was the liberal elites who said we should not do anything to upset the Russians, whether it be the Prague Spring or the workers in Poland, in Gdansk

McCain has reiterated in other interviews that he does not want Obama to support a candidate or party, and that the U.S. simply should come out in defence of the right of a people to oppose and dissent. Something I agree with, and that Obama eventually got around to doing.

What I found strange, was McCain’s willingness to bring up the revolutions in communist East Europe as positive examples of American political prose. Looking back at the Hungarian Revolution, where the United States told protesters through Radio Free Europe that NATO would come to their aid if they overthrew their Soviet overlords and then failed to deliver as the rebellion was crushed, it can be dangerous for the U.S. to give strong moral support and backing if it is not willing to commit itself physically to the cause. Norm writes on Obama’s limited vocal support for the Iranian protesters, and sees it the same way I do.
At least two reasons justify Obama's stance up to this point. First, he should not offer a level of rhetorical support to the democratic movement in Iran that cannot be matched by more direct material backing. It would raise false expectations. In the coming days and weeks that movement depends on its own internal resources and there should be no illusion about this.”

McCain went on to say that if he was President:
I would say, we support the rights of all human beings, especially those in Iran who want to peacefully protest and disagree with their government. We support those fundamental, inalienable rights.”

Meaningful words, but again, coming from the President’s mouth means a level of support that the United States will likely not provide. It is the duty of all liberals to stand up and help spread the Iranian oppositions message, but let us not make the mistake of giving them a false sense of hope as to America’s response to these developments. I would also agree with comrade Hitchens, and his idea of what a “non-interventionist” policy looks like.
Want to take a noninterventionist position? All right, then, take a noninterventionist position. This would mean not referring to Khamenei in fawning tones as the supreme leader and not calling Iran itself by the tyrannical title of "the Islamic republic." But be aware that nothing will stop the theocrats from slandering you for interfering anyway. Also try to bear in mind that one day you will have to face the young Iranian democrats who risked their all in the battle and explain to them just what you were doing when they were being beaten and gassed. (Hint: Don't make your sole reference to Iranian dictatorship an allusion to a British-organized coup in 1953; the mullahs think that it proves their main point, and this generation has more immediate enemies to confront.)"

The World is Watching, and Online

Folks from all around the world are clearly interested in Neda Agha Soltan. Today, over 1,000 individual users came to this website, the most ever in one day here. What I found even more astounding, was the diverse locals of their IPs. The UAE, Egypt, China, Venezuela, and of course, Iran; folks from all over Googled Neda’s name looking for information about her.

I only hope that with this level of interest in the events currently underway in Iran, the opposition knows that the world is watching.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An interesting story by Besa Beqiri and Ilija Djordjevic about the success and struggle of an ethnically mixed town in Mitrovica, Kosovo.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Recent Joshua Muravchik Activity

“The Abandonment of Democracy” – Commentary Magazine

“Junk Poll Boosted Tehran Tyrants” – New York Post

An audio interview with Al Kresta on his new book, “The Next Founders.”

A video discussion with Glenn Reynolds on democracy in the Middle East.

A radio interview with Milt Rosenberg.

And a video debate from May on the Alhurra television network, mostly in Arabic.


An interview on the Ed Morrissey Show.

Neda Agha Soltan - "The Voice of Iran"

CNN reports:
"Amid the hundreds of images of Saturday's crackdown on protesters in Iran that were distributed to the world over the Internet, it was the graphic video showing the dying moments of a young woman shot in the heart that touched a nerve for many people around the world.

Like most of the information coming out of Tehran, it is impossible to verify her name, Neda, or the circumstances of her apparent death, which was captured close-up on a bystander's camera

Robin Wright at Time magazine has some background info on Neda and the circumstances of her death. Harry's Place has the video of her murder at the hands of Iranian regime. It is not for the faint of heart.