We’re All Iranians Now!

Amidst the blogospheric solidarity for the Iranian protestors, it’s worth pointing to news that has been overshadowed by those events: The UN and OSCE monitors are leaving Georgia.

Despite declarations that “we’re all Georgians now,” the fact of the matter has been from the beginning that neither the United States nor Western Europe had any appetite to go toe-to-toe with the Russians over the fate of two disputed provinces.  That remained true even once Russian troops moved into “Georgia proper.”

The man who famously made the above pledge, Senator John McCain, made some similarly bold statements about Iran in a Twitter interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper. Most notable of his tweets: “we must stand strong for democracy in Iran as we stood for Democracy in Poland, Germany, and Czechoslovakia” and “if we are steadfast eventually the Iranian people will prevail.”

As I note in a New Atlanticist post contrasting the American and European responses to Iran’s election fiasco,

The American president is, for good and bad, in a unique position.  As important and powerful as the leaders of the UK, France, and Germany are, they’re not the international lightning rods that the occupants of the White House are.

Aside from the fact that backing from America could quite likely harm Mousavi’s cause and help Ahmadinejad’s, big words from the Leader of the Free WorldTM must be backed up by action in a way that a statement by the European Union do not.


The Atlantic‘s Andrew Sullivan, probably the American blogosphere’s most passionate supporter of the Iranian protestors, writes, “I’m relieved we don’t have a president McCain. His heart is in the right place but his head is a blogger’s, not a president’s.”  My strong guess, though, is that, had McCain prevailed in November, he would be saying much the same thing.   Presidential candidates and senators have the luxury of spouting off about their ideals, while a president’s words have much more consequence.

A whole lot more at the links.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    Aside from the fact that backing from America could quite likely harm Mousavi’s cause and help Ahmadinejad’s ….

    True, but there is a way to chart a course through that minefield. Before the Islamic revolution, Iran had a constitutional revolution, the first in Asia. The Iranians are extremely proud of the 1906 Constitution, and while the shah and outside powers twisted the document, it was the 1979 revolution that abolished it and placed the people of Iran under the guardianship of the clerics.

    All the President needs to say is “America expresses its profound hope that the people of Iran will once again enjoy a democratic government in the spirit of the Iranian constitution of 1906.”

    House Resolution 942

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    PD –

    A statement like that from America would be a lot more meaningful had it not been one of the “outside powers” that twisted the original document.