Commentary Magazine


Re: Much Better

Indeed it is, Abe. It is vaguely what conservatives — for more than a week — have been pleading with the president to say. What did the trick? Well, the last paragraph of the president’s statement gives a clue:

As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people have a universal right to assembly and free speech. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect those rights, and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent, not coercion. That is what Iran’s own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government.

You see, you can’t claim to be omnipotent when it comes to moving world events — and at the same time plead impotence when it comes to making a difference on Iran. You can’t be for hope and change, but for the status quo in a theocratic and brutal Iran. Eventually the contradictions become too much to bear.

And as conservatives have been saying for some time, America simply can’t be on the wrong side of history. If the revolution fails, then Obama doesn’t want to be asked why he didn’t do more. And if it succeeds, we see from his closing lines, he wants to grab some of the credit.

Now if he could drop the “Islamic Republic of Iran” from his vocabulary (which suggests the monstrous regime is in some sense representative of the Iranian people) and cancel the July 4th BBQ with the mullahs (or better yet — serve Israel couscous from Trader Joe’s) then we’d be making progress. And maybe even a UN resolution and some gasoline sanctions to top it off?