On the way home from the studio, I passed a gathering of Iranian-Americans on a street corner protesting what the Iranian regime continues to perpetrate on their own people.
Not an overwhelming crowd, about fifty or so, mostly consisting of students.
This is a very busy intersection in Southern California, and the vast amount of cars I saw pass waived, gave the thumbs-up sign, and/or honked in support of the people of Iran that are trying to tell the world enough is enough. I spoke with two women who thanked me for stopping and taking pictures.
I asked them what they would like the American response to be. The one on the right said, "It's a complicated problem because of the nuclear weapons. We can't just invade." I told her I agreed with that, but asked if she was happy with how President Obama had responded so far to the protestors in Iran. She frowned. I didn't ask her, but it seemed very apparent that she, and likely many of the other students in this crowd, had been supporters of Barack Obama. "I remain hopeful that President Obama will do the right thing," she replied, as diplomatically as she could. I asked her if she believed he had done the right thing so far. "No."
In his only public response to the growing crisis, President Obama said, "It is not productive, given the history of US and Iranian relations to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections."
Encouraging all people to embrace freedom and self-determination is not meddling. It's the right thing to do.
Supporting the people of Iran is not a hard call to make. In fact, using the bully pulpit to speak out against the Iranian theocracy and calling for small d democratic ideals like free and fair elections is the kind of hope and change one would expect from the American president.
Remaining silent in order to save the possibility of future negotiations with the Iranian regime is what's actually 'not productive', as Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said on Hugh's program Monday night.
Well, what’s the point of engaging? Do we think this regime, from what we’ve known about them in the past and what’s been clarified, as you said, what’s been clarified in the last 72 hours, do we think this regime can be allowed to have nuclear weapons? Do you trust these people who are willing to beat up their own people to prevent a guy who’s not exactly a friend of ours, Mousavi, from getting elected? Do we think this kind of jihadist, thuggish, militarist regime can be trusted in the middle of the Middle East, can be trusted with nuclear weapons? And if the answer is no, we’ve got to stop them from getting nuclear weapons. I think that’s what this has clarified.
Ronald Reagan realized a pivotal moment in history with the Soviet Union and delivered the "Tear Down This Wall" speech. We are at another pivotal moment in history. Will we see a moment in which Barack Obama rises to it? Or will he continue to remain silent, essentially voting 'present'?