Pulpit Bulls

Policy, Politics, and What's In Between

Obama: Not Giving in to the Axis of Idiots

Posted by Eric on June 17, 2009

Robert Kagan has a really terrible column today, where he muses that Obama is siding with the Iranian regime’s crackdown on dissidents, criticizes Obama for not interjecting himself into the Iranian debate, and also seems to imply that George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford lost reelection because of “realist” foreign policy impulses. Perhaps a little more convoluted, but basically the same nutty things the folks at the Corner have been arguing all week. In fitting with their constant “East vs. West” paradigm for understanding the world, they want the US to publicly side with the Iranian protesters. As everyone besides Robert Kagan and anyone who writes for The Corner probably realizes, this is a surefire way for the Iranian protesters to lose support and gives the regime a pretty good cover for busting heads.

The other side of that coin is that it is very likely that, no matter what the US does, Iran’s authoritarian government will act like an authoritarian government and ruthlessly quench the protests. As long as the opposition lacks the stomach and capabilities to attempt a coup, the current Iranian clerical regime will remain in power. And when, as the president promised, the Obama administration negotiates with the Iranian regime about nuclear armaments, Iraq, and our many other mutual interests, we don’t want to hampered by the fact that we just publicly called the legitimacy of the Iranian state into question or that we sided with potential revolutionaries in an internecine skirmish. Conservatives may want Obama to revise and re-use Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric because that’s how they get their kicks, but that would be terrible policy and it’s reassuring to see that Obama isn’t giving in to it.

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