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Obama’s Iran Abdication – WSJ.com

Some republicans, notably Mitt Romney and Mike Pence, are harshly criticizing Obama for not issuing strong statements of condemnation of the Ahmadinejad regime in the wake of the elections. President Obama has many fronts on which he can be criticized. I think for example his economic policies on many fronts are a disaster and way off the mark. I actually think Obama will end up being a better president on foreign policy than domestic. On the issue of Iran, the president keeping his tender dry is clearly the more prudent course of action.

Hot head republicans like John McCain of “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” fame are demanding that Obama make some aggressive statement of support for the protesters. Obama’s measured comments on the situation seem the right approach to me for a variety of good reasons:

  • Should Ahmadinejad retain power, Obama will still have to deal with him and there is no good reason to hand him an extra issue.
  • Obama suggests that Ahmadinejad and his main rival Moussavi are little different in how they would conduct Iran’s foreign policy and that the US’s issues with Iran (terrorism sponsorship, WMD) will remain no matter who is in office.
  • Outspoken, aggressive condemnation of the sort McCain is advocating for example will only be used to to discredit the reform candidates and their protesters, hurting more than helping

Frankly, Obama is a calculating son of a gun and he’s figuring his angles, and in a fluid situation like this, its hard to pin down your best move when the situation is a moving target. Obama’s measured approach ultimately permits him to maintain the US’s options in responding to Iran in a way that inure’s to our maximum benefit. Cooler heards among the GOP, like my own Sen. Lugar are supporting the President’s approach. Heck even Pat Buchanan, no friend of Obama, acknowledges the wisdom of keeping his tinder somewhat dry. I’m hard pressed to see that as a problem and those republicans just looking to score political points on the President are not doing the nation or Iran’s oppressed people any great favors.

Update: Former McCain supporter Henry Kissinger praises Obama’s handling of the Iranian situation.

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