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Iran Election Debacle

Uploaded: Jun 15, 2009
This is very problematic.

I had some hope that the current Iranian President, whose name I can neither spell or pronounce, would get drummed out of office, or at least get re-elected in a legitimate way.

Landslide? Dubious at best.

The puzzle pieces from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan now are connected with Iran.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 15, 2009 at 6:56 pm


I would argue that the Iranian regime is now on the way out.

Whatever impetus it had in 1979 has long since been overtaken by corruption and cynicism.

The global recession has pulled the economic rug from under its feet. A rival center of Shi'ite power has risen in Iraq.
It has overextended itself in Lebanon.
The Islamic Revolution has had stroke under its turban.

Iranian fertility by some accounts has fallen below the level of 1.9 births per female registered in the 2006 census to now only 1.6, a bit above Italys

Collapsing fertility is accompanied by social pathologies,
including rates of drug addiction and prostitution an order of magnitude greater than in any Western country.

Pakistan is the great exception in the Mid East, and that makes it the fulcrum of the Muslim world.

Ahmadinejad's invective may be aimed at Jerusalem, but his eye is fixed on Islamabad.

With a population of 170 million, Pakistan has 20 million men of military age, as many as Iran and Turkey combined;
by 2035 it will have half again as many.
It also has nuclear weapons.
And it is in danger of disintegration.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:42 pm

The election is really about Pakistan, the already nuclear elephant in the corner .
Dennis Ross is suddenly out of his job, why is that? did he call heads and it turned out tails?

The insurgent Taliban in Pakistan claim legitimacy on the grounds that the Sunni establishment is insufficiently committed to crushing Shia heresy.
Given that 15% of the world's Shia live in Pakistan, Iran's hope for a Shia revival cannot ignore them.
If it were simply a matter of a two-sided chess game between Tehran and Washington, Moussavi would have been better suited for the Iranian chair.
But Iran has to show street credibility to rough and backward men elsewhere than Washington, and the tougher image of Ahmadinejad is what it needs.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 9:21 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 9:34 am

Iranians, both the masses of the people and the mullahs, are looking at Iraq, next door to them, and seeing a building democracy that will become a beacon of freedom and prosperity. This threatens the mullahs, because the Iranian people will not be patient, as they watch their neighbors prosper in freedom (and oil).

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The future of the region runs through Iraq, not Iran. BHO needs to get on board.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 9:46 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 9:51 am


There is a window of opportunity to reorient the center of gravity for the Shia from Iran to Iraq, but that window is closing unless Washington supports it.

Michael Totten's column in CommentaryWeb Link warns that if Obama recognizes the "elections" then he will be following the lead of Kim Jong Il.

"North Korea's Kim Jong Il congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his "election victory" in Iran, as did Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Hamas, and Hezbollah.
Syria's Bashar Assad is bound to follow if he hasn't already. Meanwhile, Iranian students in Iran asked a CNN correspondent to pass on a message to the United States.

If President Obama accepts the "election" result, they told him, "we're doomed.""






The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.Web Link

Omar Khayyam (Persian: عمر خیام), (born 1048 AD, Neyshapur, Iran—1123 AD, Neyshapur, Iran), was a Persian polymath, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer and poet.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:01 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

"There is a window of opportunity to reorient the center of gravity for the Shia from Iran to Iraq"

Sharon,

That is a good thought. Iraq has many possibilities to lead the region. However, Iranian (Persian) Shiites and Iraqi (Arab) Shiites will alway have their differences, so I am doubtful that Iraq will become the center of gravity...but they will finally have their say. To the extent that democratic, relatively secular Shiites in Iraq rise, the Iranian Shiites will want something similar. That would be a good thing for the region, and the world.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:51 am


What Happened to Dennis Ross?

He was the go to man on all issues re Iran.

The Iran issue is blowing up and Ross is nowhere to be found.
It's not clear what responsibilities he will have in his new job, which means he hasn't been moved to take on any particular problem but will be part of a team at the White House.

And when something looks bad, it usually is bad.

Gary-- Iran has had a tremendous influence on Iraq these last few years, usually to the detriment of peace and security there.
Perhaps the current protests in Iran are evidence that influence doesn't just cross the border in one direction.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:54 am

"Iranians, both the masses of the people and the mullahs, are looking at Iraq, next door to them, and seeing a building democracy that will become a beacon of freedom and prosperity."

Iranians are looking at Iraq and seeing the smoldering wreckage of a bungled invasion and the patriotic resistance. Grateful to have escaped that fate, and distrustful of the theocracy slowly emerging in their neighbor, they are trying to perfect their own democracy which they established after they overthrew the US-backed Shah. I wish them well.

Who knows, maybe they'll even put in someone with a name the originator of this topic feels more comfortable with.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 11:11 am

"to perfect their own democracy which they established after they overthrew the US-backed Shah."

Iranians had much more freedom under the Shah, even though it was a monarchy. Iran's current 'democracy' is completely filtered by the mullahs. As the Iranians look next door, to Iraq, with it emerging freedoms and relatively secular government, they will demand the same, even if it takes a bloody revolt.

Iraq is the birth of a new democratic hope for the region. It should be openly supported by BHO.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:33 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Greg, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:43 pm

The Iran election decision is not over yet. I think we're closer to the beginning than the end right now.

I wonder how much influence Pres. Obama's Egypt speech had on the current events?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm

"I wonder how much influence Pres. Obama's Egypt speech had on the current events?"

I think there is some possibility that it helped. However, the Iranian people in the street are now asking Obama to come to their support, by rejecting the election results.

Obama could make a historic statement, by boldly supporting democracy in both Iraq and Iran right now... but it just is not in him. GWB took on the challenge, and succeeded, because he did have it in him.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

"Iranians had much more freedom under the Shah, even though it was a monarchy. Iran's current 'democracy' is completely filtered by the mullahs."

Is is an inconvenient truth that Iran's "freedom" under the Shah was completely filtered by the Savak secret police, which didn't bother with renditions when it wanted to conduct "enhanced interrogations" with certain Iranians. Domestic processing kept the dissidents in line. Another is that Iraq is well on its way to a Saddam-style strongman regime. But maybe that strongman can at least turn the lights back on, another mission Bush failed to accomplish.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Greg, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Everyone has to proceed very carefully at this point. A Iranian government could respond like the Chinese did at Tiananmen Square. Or there could be a peaceful revolution like in 1989 Eastern Europe.

I think foreign governments are wise to avoid overt interference as long as the situation is reasonably peaceful. Forcing the Iranian government into a corner could be much worse than doing nothing.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 7:53 pm

The charges against SAVAK, the Shah's intelligence network, and secret police, are highly exaggerated and are taken as an article of faith by western leftists, because they effectively defeated a communist infiltration of the military in Iran.

"However, according to more recent research by a political historian of the era, Ervand Abrahamian, deaths numbered in the dozens rather than the thousands under the SAVAK, far fewer than the several thousand prisoners are estimated to have been killed in the Islamic Republic that followed. While some prisoners during the Shah's era were tortured, prisoners' letters were much more likely to use words such as "boredom" and "monotony," to describe their confinement than "fear," "death," "terror," "horror," and "nightmare" (kabos), the common descriptors found in letters of prisoners of the Islamic Republic." ( Web Link )

Put simply, the Shah was an enlightened liberal, compared to the mullahs. Yes, the SAVAK did torture and suppress dissidents, but they cannot be compared to the militias and goons that currently run Iran.

If the Iranians had a Second Ammendment, the mullahs would have been driven out of power years ago.

It is too late to stay quiet about the Iranian situation. Those people have had it with the mullahs, and they need bold public support from western leaders, especially the POTUS. This is not a time for caution.




 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

The experience of 20 years ago when Eastern Europe's communist, Soviet dominated regimes collaped does seem to have some application here.

George H. W. Bush probably had his finest moments as President during those very fast moving and confusing times.

My perception of that era and what is going on in Iran is that in both cases, the people are getting increasingly fed up with their governments, and want a change. Those governing are not out for the interests of the populace, they mainly want to stay in power.

What the Iranian people need to hear from those outside the country is that they control their fate, and if those who are in charge right now are not cutting the mustard any more, the Iranian populace needs to find those who can lead them appropriately going forward.

I remember a business trip I took to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1990's. My host, who attended university in this country, commented to me how the difference between the Kingdom and a democracy is that people accepted that the King called the shots, and there were things that they simply did not bother to think for themselves.

The mullahs who have been the equivelant of the Saudi King are finding that the Iranian populace is becoming less compliant with such a social contract.

I think the right strategy is to bring the Iranian people along, a bottoms up approach. Confrontation with those at the top just provides them an excuse to invoke the same old rhetoric about Death to America.

It will take longer, but it will be more stick to the ribs.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Paul L.,

You seem to represent the cautious approach, like most do. I do not. There are rare oppotunities to push for freedom, and this is one of them. Reagan pushed for freedom in Eastern Europe, and he won against the evil empire. Ask Lech Walensa and Natan Sharansky. GHWB would never have done that, although his careful shepparding of the freedom demanded by Reagan (and Thatcher and the Pope) was useful in the end game.

This is not the end game in Iran. It is the shipyards/Walesa and Sharansky in the gulag period, and those types of people need to hear support for freedom. Reagan electrified them by telling the truth about the evil empire. GHWB did nothing to challenge China during Tiananmen Square, and he reaped what he sowed.

The Iranian people need to hear a clarion call for freedom. The cautious stuff can come later.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 6:57 am

The "Green Revolution" appears to be fizzling today.

Meanwhile, the real revolution has gone unnoticed:
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has effected a successful, silent coup d'état.

Three important neighbors of Iran - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan - warmly greeted Ahmadinejad as president of Iran, quite ahead of any protocol requirements to do so.

Ahmadinejad was warmly greeted as president at the SCO summit, also.

Iran, Russia and China are three major economic and political poles attending the current SCO summit

Moscow said in a carefully structured statement,

"The Iranian elections are the internal affair of Iran.
We welcome the fact that elections took place, we welcome the new president on Russian soil and see it as symbolic that he made his first visit, as newly-elected president, to Russia.
This allows hope for progress in bilateral relations."

Obama is going along with the crowd.

He said late yesterday that there appeared to be no policy differences between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi.

Obama does not want unrest in Iran to scuttle his plans to commence direct engagement with Tehran within the coming days or weeks. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 10:28 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Poor regular Iranians, thinking that now was their moment, their time for their Berlin wall to come down, backed by Iraq and the US.

Instead the usual tyrants and tyrant wanna-bes are surrounding Ahmadinijad with congratulatory handshakes, prefering the predictability of a known tyrant to the messiness of a truly democratically elected Pres of Iran. It is Venezuela's Chavez and Iraq's Saddam all over again, with the only difference that now it is FRANCE who is making strong cries for freedom, and AMERICA who is pragmatically backing off in order to continue business as usual.

The cries and blood of the oppressed will continue to rest on us who stood by in silence and watched it happen.




 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm

"The cries and blood of the oppressed will continue to rest on us who stood by in silence and watched it happen."

Noble sentiments are easy. Also cheap when someone else is supposed to do the acting and still others the dying. Or perhaps you can show us a photo of yourself in Teheran yesterday. Or in Rangoon 2007.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 3:09 pm

"Noble sentiments are easy"

If they were, many people would be making them. Reagan made them, and backed them up in a variety of ways that did not include an invasion of the Soviet Union. It begins with having a firm ideological foundation, followed by consistent actions that put pressure on the tyrants. Above all, it requires a clarion call to freedom, so that the oppressed know that they are being heard.

Thus far, there has been next to nothing from our president. Next thing you know, he will be having unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad, as he promised during his campaign. Even Clinton, triangulator extraordinaire, was ashamed of himself for doing nothing, even rhetorically, to protect the Rwandans.

The next time you hear "never again" remember the silence from the left, as the tens of thousands of Iranians disappear in the night. Shame is the only word for it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 3:28 pm

"Thus far, there has been next to nothing from our president."
What are you expecting? Yes, I know everything that the president and his people do goes through you first, Gary. That way even behind the scenes actions by our leaders are available for your immediate criticism.

"The next time you hear "never again" remember the silence from the left, as the tens of thousands of Iranians disappear in the night."
When did this happen? certainly not at the hands of the Savak (according to your own words). Do you recommend an invasion of Iran? What does the Pentagon say about that--I am sure you have a direct line to the Joint Chiefs?

I find it amusing that in your all-consuming quest to denigrate Obama at every turn, you are suddenly a great supporter of the Iranian people.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Would that Russia, China and others were showing the sort of restraint the States is showing. They do not have to weigh in as they have while things are in such a state of turmoil. In doing so, they give Ahmendimejad (Paul of DT North, you can acknowledge my ability to acquire new knowledge if you care to!) a personal feeling of legitimacy that was uncalled for.

The mistrust between the States and Iran is a long standing problem that spans numerous administrations. I think the notion that things would have changed suddenly has the elections been legitimate and the other major candidate had won instead would not have changed that reality, but it would have provided a better opportunity to change the tone and approach to the relations the two countries have.

It is difficult to know just what is going to happen here. I still would like to think that Iran is starting to experience what transpired in Eastern Europe around 20 years ago, and it takes time for that sort of thing to play out. But people who truly want to be free eventually prevail. The news about the use of internet tools such as Twitter I find to be an encouraging development as this whole thing unfolds.

This is a country with a history the last 50+ years of nasty regimes. Mossadeq, the Shah, the Mullahs. The Iranian people deserve better, and seem to be starting to agitate for it.

The States is helping the process along most effectively at this point with Twitter, Facebook and similar technologies, at this point in what I project will be a protracted issue in the coming months, this is as important as anything that comes the the Administration.

I also suspect there is stuff going on behind the scenes that will not get air or press time around the States' involvement at this point. Right now, different countries with supposedly aligned interests are not conveying the same miessage, unlike the effort under way with North Korea. It is a great deal of effort to get to that point, and without it, I suspect the newly un-re-elected regime in Iran will play both ends of the middle.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

"What are you expecting? (from our president)".

Make the following speech:

"As president of a great nation that has fought, and continues to fight for freedom and liberty, I identify with those currently fighting for those ideals in the streets of Iran. You can count on me for both moral and material support. I am with you".


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 5:05 pm



"One imgaines Chamberlain sitting across the diplomatic table from Satan, working down his checklist, when he then realizes he has just traded away his soul for the promise of future negotiations"
-
From William Manchester---Churchill, The Last Lion II


 +  Like this comment
Posted by WilliamR, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Gary--

How would you have responded if the government of some other country encouraged Al Gore's supporters to take to the streets after the 2000 election?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 5:58 pm

"How would you have responded if the government of some other country encouraged Al Gore's supporters to take to the streets after the 2000 election?"

Allow me to make some comments:

1. GWB won Florida, fair and square, thus he won the 2000 election. U.S. elections are very transparent and fraud is a relatively small issue, although some organizations, like ACORN try their best.

2. GWB supported the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and he backed it up with serious deeds. In other words, he supported freedom, not tyranny. If you recall, Saddam was hanged, due to the invasion ordered by GWB...if not for the invasion, this tyrant would still be doing his mass murdering.

3. The coninuing argument from the left goes as follows: A thug pushes a little old lady into the street, as he takes her purse. A Boy Scout comes along and pushes her out of the way of the oncoming cars. They are both equally guilty, becasue they both push little old ladies around.



 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 7:51 pm


Obama has shown his true colors in this matter,
that is ok he is a federal tenant for the next 3.5 years.
The real issue is what is in Americas best interests in this cat fight.

We want Irans oil and no block in the Gulf for shipping and their help in curbing AQ terrorist drug dealers from Afghanistan.

We want the Great Game to go in our favor rather than that of Russia and China.
Europe wants cheap oil and gas from Iran to avoid the Russian monopoly.
Israel, according to the JP,Web Link is now seeking an alliance with Russia and later India rather than the USA.
That is fine, our best interests are in a complete end to nuclear weapons in the Mid East from all parties and containing Russias and Chinas hegemony in the region.
We need to be be neutral regarding tribal/ religious disputes and focus upon our best interests in the region.
Obama has adopted a Nixon in China approach, Bush wanted the idealistic Wilsonian export of Democracy to the region, it was a brave idealistic effort that seems to be working in Iraq.
But we have a new administration that has implemented the Chicago realist approach.
That can work too if we keep in mind what is in the USA best interests---that is containing Russia and China.
Obama has 12 months to see if his Nixonian approach works, if he wants to sup with the devil, he should use a long spoon.
He is a smart guy, hopefully he knows that from Chicago already.
we will see.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul, a resident of ,
on Jun 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm

"1. GWB won Florida, fair and square, thus he won the 2000 election. U.S. elections are very transparent and fraud is a relatively small issue"

You parrot Mr Ahmadinejad's line, substituting the appropriate dates and locales, to a "T." You might want to send him your resume. He could use an English-speaking flack.

But after all, how can a razor-thin election be anything but above suspicion, when the governor of the state was the candidate's brother, the chief state election official was rabidly partisan in the campaign, and the swing vote on the US Supreme Court boasted of her bias for the declared winner in advance? C'mon. You and Perspective would be super-ballistic if something like that was happening in Iran. Why do you think Iran should have honest elections but not the US?

Then there's Ohio, 2004.

I forget: is it he who is without sin that may cast the first stone at people who live in glass houses? Or is it he who casts the first stone presumed without sin?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:45 am

Sharon--what "true colors" has Obama shown?
Are you like Gary, privy to everything that is happening, behind the scenes?
You have been anti-Obama since the campaign days, never missing an opportunity to tar him with one false claim of another. Your comments need to be viewed in that context.

Gary--"You can count on me for both moral and material support."
So you are then suggesting an invasion of Iran? Otherwise what is this material support you speak of? When do you, Sharon and Perspective leave as the initial invasion force?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 18, 2009 at 6:54 am

"Why do you think Iran should have honest elections but not the US?"

I don't think that.

All of Iran's elections are dishonest, becasue the mullahs choose the candidates.

The 2000 election was close, but it was won by Bush, because he won the electoral votes in Florida. Gore tried to steal Florida, by cherrypicking hand recounts in selective districts and preventing military votes from abroad, but the Supreme Court finally stopped his attempted fraud.

Comparing the 2000 U.S. election with what goes on in Iran is an absurdity on its face, and a demonstration of the desperation and hysteria of the leftist mindset.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:19 am

I would hardly label Gore's attempt for a fair count of results in Florida as a "fraud", since it had support from certain courts:

Web Link

"Most of the post-electoral controversy revolved around Gore's request for hand recounts in four counties (Broward, Miami Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia), as provided under Florida state law. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris announced she would reject any revised totals from those counties if they were not turned in by November 14, the statutory deadline for amended returns. The Florida Supreme Court extended the deadline to November 26, a decision later vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Miami-Dade eventually halted its recount and resubmitted its original total to the state canvassing board, while Palm Beach County failed to meet the extended deadline. On November 26, the state canvassing board certified Bush the victor of Florida's electors by 537 votes. Gore formally contested the certified results, but a state court decision overruling Gore was reversed by the Florida Supreme Court, which ordered a recount of over 70,000 ballots previously rejected by machine counters. The U.S. Supreme Court quickly halted the order."


I notice, Gary, that you cannot even make a simple comment about the 2000 election without trying to slip in another criticism of Obama (ACORN comment, above).
Does your whole life really revolve around disparaging Obama? Is that why you do not have time to join the invasion of Iran?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 18, 2009 at 7:39 am

"So you are then suggesting an invasion of Iran? Otherwise what is this material support you speak of?"

I would never rule out an invasion, but that is not the only form of material support. For example, Persian language Voice of America should be openly supported and enhanced; satellite television stations should be established that allow Iranian dissidents to get their word out to other Iranians, dissidents should get financial support, armed resistance groups in Iran should be supplied with arms, Iraq should be encouraged to defend its border with Iran, international forums should be pressured to support freedom in Iran, etc.

The goal of the U.S. should be to show the Iranian people that they would be much better off, if the mullahs go back inside their mosques, and stay out of government.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 8:46 am


Obama is often compared to Jimmy Carter, but his approach in Iran is the opposite of Carter's. Carter was deeply moved by human rights and put the possibility of promoting them above other priorities, such as stability and maintaining an ally in Tehran.
Obama is putting human rights behind stability, in the ultimate cause of a prospective bargain with the mullahs.

Obama's timidity speaks to a guilty conscience.
At some level, he buys the post-colonial critique of the West as the root of the developing world's troubles, and thinks we lack the moral standing to judge non-Western governments that resent and envy us.
Obama is perfectly capable of launching moralistic broadsides —
just at his own country, especially under his predecessor.

Who are we to condemn the abuse of peaceful demonstrators when we waterboarded three terrorists?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:03 am

Sharon has to be desperate to attack Obama and his actions vis a vis Iran if she is saying nice things about Jimmy Carter!!!
Since I assume that Sharon is in the loop regarding all the behind the scenes actions going on regarding Iran, that the general public is not informed about, her critique of Obama surely carries additional weight.
At the start of this thread Sharon argued that the regime in Iran was on it's way out--now she has changed her tune and is using this thread to lambaste Obama (sound familiar, anyone?)


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:45 am

The regime in Iran has changed, the Revolutionary Guard has taken power and will play a lead part in the transition to the next religious leader.

Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader said there was "definitive victory" and no rigging in disputed elections, offering no concession to protesters demanding the vote be held again. It is a done deal.

The role of president is subservient to that of the religious leadership.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Free Iran, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 9:53 am


Rally to Support Pro-Democracy Iranian Protesters

Join us to support the demands of the Iranian people for freedom, democracy and human rights. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have been protesting in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and other cities. The Islamic republic has attacked the protesters, and many Iranians have been killed. Many more Iranians have been injured in the attacks. University students have been attacked in their dormitories, and many have been arrested.

It's important to support the courageous protests of the Iranian people against the rigged elections, and condemn the attacks on the protesters.


Date: Saturday June 20, 2009

Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Place: University Avenue at Emerson Street (Lytton Plaza)
Palo Alto, CA 94301


 +  Like this comment
Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 10:55 am

I have heard news reports that comment that the rural poor of Iran largely support the current President and regime, mainly because they have had oil revenues directed their way, improving their lives to a degree. It is similar to what Chavez is doing in Venzuela. It is an unsustainable strategy.

Where the protest is emanating from is mainly in the larger cities, not just Tehran, from Iranians who are better educated, better off financially, and many too young to remember what happened 30 years ago. They are largely unhappy with how Amenididajhad has governed the last 4 years.

The Supreme Leader's bluster today will not end the resistance that is building. The protests likely will die down as the days go by, but the credibility of the regime has been fatally damaged. What the resistance movement needs at this point is some leadership--perhaps not in the country right now--which can provide a credible alternative to the current leaders, and is not viewed as a puppet of the West, especially the States.

The more this resistance has roots in the masses, and a legitimate leadership, the sooner the Mullahs will implode. The Phillipines, Indonesia, and many countries of Eastern Europe, have transformed into stable democratic countries because it came from the people, not from a handful of power-hungry individuals. Particularly in the case of the Phillipines and Indonesia, the US was heavily involved in getting the dictators out of office, but by its work behind the scenes, not with public displays of action.

The US rightly should be espousing in public free and fair elections, the right of the people to express their opinions, and other basic principals. If our government starts to question or challenge the Supreme Leader or the Iranian President, it will start to get personal and IMO set back the currents that have been building for quite a while, rather than bring them along.

The US lost a great deal of its stature as a consequence of the Iraq war during the GW Bush administration. That is a fact, not just an opinion. Read polls that bear this out. And then there is the ugly history between the US and Iran over multiple regimes. I don't think anyone really has a clear idea how to navigate this whole debacle, but as old rock song I remember goes: "Don't say something you'll regret later."


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 11:25 am

"The US lost a great deal of its stature as a consequence of the Iraq war during the GW Bush administration. That is a fact, not just an opinion"

Paul L.,

Stature and polls are not the same thing. Churchill was low in the polls before WWII, and he was defeated in the polls following WWII. However, no matter the polls, he was right, and people were not listening. He had stature. GWB liberated Iraq ("Choosing stability over freedom brings you neither.") ...he has stature. Web Link

Obama has high poll numbers, but is lacking in stature. His current passive stance vis-a-vis Iran is the absence of stature. Reagan would have been all over this thing, as well as GWB.


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Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

"Obama has high poll numbers, but is lacking in stature. His current passive stance vis-a-vis Iran is the absence of stature. Reagan would have been all over this thing, as well as GWB."

Obama will always lack stature in your eyes, Gary.
GWB declared Iran part of the axis of evil back in 2001, yet he did nothing about them. Please describe in detail how GWB "was all over this thing"?


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Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm

"GWB declared Iran part of the axis of evil back in 2001, yet he did nothing about them. Please describe in detail how GWB "was all over this thing"?"

GWB's axis of evil speech was his State of the Union address in 2002. He named Iraq, Iran and N. Korea. He liberated Iraq through an invasion, he forced N. Koreas to deal with six parties instead of only the U.S. and he kept the pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. If this election situation had presented itself under GWB, I am confident that he would have allied himself with freedom, instead of sitting passively by to allow events to declare themselves, before he dared to take a stand.


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Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm

"GWB's axis of evil speech was his State of the Union address in 2002. He named Iraq, Iran and N. Korea. He liberated Iraq through an invasion, he forced N. Koreas to deal with six parties instead of only the U.S. and he kept the pressure on Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program. If this election situation had presented itself under GWB, I am confident that he would have allied himself with freedom, instead of sitting passively by to allow events to declare themselves, before he dared to take a stand. Obama is not made of the same stuff as GWB."

So to cut a long story short, GWB did nothing about Iran. You go into a long spiel about Iraq and NK. Then you speculate on what would have been--your fantasies about GWB do not count as proof.


"Obama is not made of the same stuff as GWB.""

Fortunately not. He is a better man


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:05 pm



The idea that the American government could remain impartial in this dispute and subsequently do business with the regime regardless of the manner in which it maintains power is a kind of absurd hyper-realism --
and it is rejected by the very dissidents in whose interest the left claims Obama is acting.Web Link

Conservatives are not calling on Obama to use military force to aid the demonstrators in Tehran.
They do not expect Obama to provide these demonstrators with arms or money or training, as the Iranians have done for our enemies in Iraq.

All conservatives are asking for is that the President of the United States clearly and forcefully denounce a regime that would use violence and intimidation and fraud to maintain its grip on power.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm

GWB did not agree to unconditional talks with the mullahs. BHO did.

GWB had Iran surrounded by liberated Muslim states (Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan) and has deftly crafted a coalition of Muslim autocratic states that oppose Iran's influence (the age-old tension between Arabs and Persians). Iran is not a happy camper, and they can blame a lot of that on GWB...ask the mullahs in Iran.

Obama lacks an inner core of conviction. Even his leftie friends like Bill Maher ("What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush ...")understand this. I, of course, have recognized the emptiness that is there for a long time, and have said so. Interesting that the left is starting to agree with me.


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Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:51 pm

"Obama lacks an inner core of conviction. Even his leftie friends like Bill Maher ("What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush ...")understand this. I, of course, have recognized the emptiness that is there for a long time, and have said so. Interesting that the left is starting to agree with me."

the above is the same complaint that you have posting for months and months. The fact is that you have reached this point even before he became president and just parrot the same comments (lacks an inner core, emptiness etc) over an dover again, regardless of the actual issue.

Do you have any idea of the behind the scenes things that are going on with regard to Iran. I seriously doubt that you are privy to what is really going on--that makes it easier for you to repeat your tired comments with regard to Obama

BTW, read the Rubin commentary I posted


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Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Sharon,

Isn't that what Obama and Hilary are saying--principled statements that are in support of what should be an open process? Diplomacy is a nuanced game, and we don't know what is being said out of the ear of the public. Not everything needs to be blasted from officials.

I would like your opinion on the extent to which this eventual regime change should be organic as it was in Indonesia and the Phillipines. And your opinion about the Cairo speech.

I really find commentary about one specific person or another who is POTUS to be largely irrelevant and overly simplistic. The history between the States and Iran has been ugly since the early days of the Cold War. There is no Gordian Knot to cut here.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:45 pm

"I really find commentary about one specific person or another who is POTUS to be largely irrelevant and overly simplistic"

Paul L.,

Tell that to Lech Walesa or Natan Scharnsky or the millions of Eastern Europeans who credit Reagan with inspiring them and supporting them and opposing their enemy, the Soviet Union.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Gary, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I admire what Reagan did to help Eastern Europe transform itself, and he generally made pricipled statements, laced with a few zingers. Evil Empire and Tear Down This Wall come to mind.

Reagan was mired in complexities with Iran/Contra that nearly ruined him. To assert that the sort of approach that he used at great risk but that did help topple the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union can/should be applied in Iran suggests to me that you have a solution that may not fit the problem.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 20, 2009 at 10:25 am

A bit of Rafsanjani speculation.
If he were smart, which he is, he might just be polling his Assembly of experts majority (which he won last election) as to what is the invisible line over which they will commit to the removal of Khameni.

He'd also likely be polling for likely successors.

This morning the Iran state-run media showed President Obama speaking about Iran this morning.
However, instead of translating what he actually said, the translator reportedly quoted Obama as saying he "supports the protesters against the government and they should keep protesting."
The Iranian government is eager to portray Obama as a partisan supporting the demonstrators.


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Posted by svatoid, a resident of ,
on Jun 20, 2009 at 11:18 am

This article may be of interest:

Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Joan, a resident of ,
on Jun 20, 2009 at 2:57 pm



The opportunity cost of obamas not speaking clearly and directly on this matter are now evident, the Iran news puts words in his mouth to serve their strategy.As Sharon above points out
Iran cannot do that with the UK and other EU countries had already spoken forcefully condemning the election early this week.
The US " there will be growth in the spring" and "morale equivalence" approach can, unfortunately, not get you very far on the world stage.


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Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jun 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm


Kennedy's perceived weakness during his Vienna Summit with Kruschchev may have led to the Cuban Missile crisis.
When Kennedy finally had to stand, it was in the very shadow of Armageddon.
Crossing the Rubicon, the point of no turning back, is only the start.
Once you are across you are obliged to win.
If don't intend to win, you should never have crossed. You can speak loudly and carry a small stick;
you can even speak softly and carry a big stick.
But you should never speak softly and imply that you have a small dick.

This will be especially true in the coming days when an ounce of deterrence will be worth a pound of reaction.
Signals count in a crisis much more than do before or afterward.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jun 21, 2009 at 11:29 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

I observed the rally Saturday night at Lytton Plaza, and made a point of talking to some Iranians about what is going on.

I specifically asked what they thought the role of the States was at this point, and I got a consistent answer--stick to principals, don't pick a fight. This is a grass roots deal that is coming from the Iranian people, and we will eventually prevail.

The Sunday Times has two good Op-Ed pieces from Friedman and Cohen that basically say this regime is on the losing side of this contest. The bankrupt regime of the Shah was replaced in 1980 by a regime that has become obsolete, outlived its usefulness.

There is plenty of legitimate criticism coming from Congress, the US press and other countries. The incumbent regime is Iran is attempting to use these messages and mis-translating what Obama has stated thus far to turn their problem into something it is not--interference from foreign entities. They clearly are trying to use the techniques and rhetoric that has served them up until this time, and it does not appear to be working.

This situation will not transform quickly, but there is an organic aspect to this that I perceive after my conversations last night as hopeful and well beyond our comprehension.


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Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Jul 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

It appears that the clergy in Iran is starting to fray from the fabric of the Supreme Leader Khatemi.

This is not going to happen quickly, but I am of the opinion that the regime and its reason for being is slowly but surely getting expunged as the way of governance in Iran. I believe it came into power as an oppositional regime to the Shah, not on its own merits, and what is happening now seems to bear that out.

Nothing happens quickly in Iran, but these indicators suggest those in leadership at present are in their last throes, be that a few months or a number of years, they are in decline on all measures.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sharon, a resident of ,
on Jul 6, 2009 at 2:35 am



Russia is opposed to enacting any sanctions against Iran in response to its crackdown on protesters decrying election cheating.
That's not surprising.
But what is surprising is who else seems to agree with Russia.
The Obama administration is going to block moves at the coming G8 summit to impose financial sanctions on Iran.
Ironically, the elections in Iran are also about money; what was at stake was the economic dominance of two rival groups in Iran, both probably salivating over the possible lifting of sanctions.
Recent events in Iran may mean that lifting sanctions must await a "decent interval", but it's easy to see how Iran's "partners for peace" may be eager to keep further sanctions from being imposed.
After employees of the British embassy were arrested by Iranian authorities, the British pushed for a strong statement of condemnation from the EU, but was notably cold-shouldered by Germany and Italy and the US.
With the US, Germany, Italy and now the US moving to conciliate Iran, then the UK will to all intents and purposes be isolated.



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