When Barack Obama was running for President last year, much was made of his statement that he was willing to negotiate with our adversaries. Some thought he was hopelessly naive, while others (including myself) thought it was preferable to the policies of then-President Bush to reach for the blunderbuss whenever the opportunity presented itself.
In all of the discussions, nobody brought out the corollary of Obama’s position: that in being willing to negotiate with one’s adversaries, one must accept their policies and actions. If you say, “I want to talk, but what you’ve done is unacceptable,” you’ve ended the conversation very quickly.
So now we have the Iranian elections, in which the incumbent Ahmadinejad officially won with over 65% of the vote, despite pre-election data suggesting a close race. President Bush, or any other President in recent memory, would have criticized the Iranian government for trampling the will of the people.
But not Obama. He has described the election issue as the problem for a sovereign state, which should properly be resolved by that state without our intervention. He has remarked that he doesn’t want the Iranian government to have any cause to blame us for their situation.
It’s a charming thought, except the Iranians are blaming us anyway. Truth never stood in the way of good propaganda.
On Friday, the religious leader of Iran called for a halt to demonstrations, or else severe consequences would follow. A curtain of silence has fallen across the country, as the government has imposed increasing restrictions on the foreign press. We know that the demonstrations are continuing, and that the authorities are responding. Whether this is simply riot control, or something darker, is unknown.
But our President can’t say anything about it, lest the Iranians use it against us.