Obama Must Take Unspecified Action Now!
In my opinion, Barack Obama has already said too much about the Iranian situation, though at least he had the wisdom to emphasize that the United States “is not interfering in Iran’s affairs.” That’s to the good.
What I do not get, though, is exactly what some of his critics on the right are clamoring for apart from a strongly worded condemnation that would make us feel good. Take Michael Ledeen, for example, who complains this morning that:
One thing seems certain: the Iranian people were right when they realized that nobody in the outside world would help them. They’re on their own.
Which is indeed a great pity, and a terrible stain on our national virtue.
Of course, Ledeen never bothers to explain what, exactly, he wants done. Just “something.” Well, what? As I’ve noted before, our options are already limited. We have no official diplomatic ties with Iran. We barely trade with them, and encouraging the rest of the world to sanction Iran would cripple democratic reform movements. A military strike would not only be an act of lunacy, but it would virtually guarantee that the Mullah’s regime remains in place. (That’s assuming, of course, that we could spare troops for a military incursion–which we can’t.)
It’s frustrating, as Americans, to watch a group of people fight for freedom thousands of miles away. It’s only natural to want to help in some way or fashion. But the real truth of the matter is this: this isn’t our fight. The Iranian protesters don’t care about our eloquent defenses of them. They care about their own rights; their own freedom; their own families. And that’s as it should be.
There are really only a few, tiny actions that Americans can do that could make a difference. And that difference would only be very slight. It’s times like these that people would do well to remember the virtues of humility and restraint.
This is the Iranian people’s fight. We can cheer them on, but unfortunately, there’s not much else to do that doesn’t bear a risk of making things worse for them.