Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It’s Not About Us

Memo to John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and all the others on the right who are demanding that President Obama “do more” about the turmoil in Iran:

It’s not about you. It’s not about the United States and our role in the world. It’s not about freedom and democracy on our terms, and most assuredly it is not about positioning you and your party for political gain in the 2010 mid-term elections.

The rulers in Iran could not possibly care less about what the President of the United States or members of Congress think about their election process and the state of their nation; that is, until they can use it to their own political advantage and hold up a statement by an outsider as evidence of meddling and puppet-mastery. And the people on the streets who are demonstrating and dying are holding up signs in English because they know that there are other countries in the world besides the U.S. where the language is spoken, and not everyone outside of Iran speaks Farsi. They’re not asking for help from us; they’re saying that their anger is universal and the denial of a free and fair election is something people in other parts of the world should know about.

But this is their struggle. They want us to know about it, but they also know that any sign of interference from us will doom whatever change is coming. And it would provide the Guardian Council with the excuse they need to be even more deadly.

The right-wingers and the neocons are all over the ten-word answer: “The president must do something about the unfair Iranian election.” But, as Jed Bartlet once asked, what are the next ten words? And the ten after that? And what will they do to actually stand behind whatever action they demand the president takes? Not surprisingly, they don’t have an answer to those questions.