John Kerry is RIGHT: This is an “Iranian Moment”

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John Kerry committee.jpgI am really proud of Senator John Kerry for getting out into the public sphere and explaining to Americans that the US needs to be cautious and nuanced at this fragile moment in Iran’s political course.
Barack Obama was wrong to comment at all in his offhanded comparison of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Many Iranians felt as if Obama — who has invested so heavily in trying to communicate with Iranian citizens in the past — dissed their aspirations for change.
That said, America ought not to be injecting itself into Iran’s political debate either in ways that make it an easy target for Ahmadinejad’s thugs or in ways that undermine the democratic and reform aspirations of the impressive, risk-taking protesters.
John Kerry, who chairs the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, shared the following on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer:

I think there are serious questions about the election. But I don’t – I think the Iranians are carrying that message to their own leadership.
There is no need for the United States of America to step into the middle of it and make this about America, when it is an Iranian moment, spurred on by Iranians, thoroughly supported by Iranians to the degree that the supreme ayatollah has now backed off his own support for the elections, called for an investigation.
The Guardian Council is going to meet, hear from all three candidates. This is a really extraordinary event that is playing out before our eyes, and it is playing out because Iranians are demanding that it play out. Iranians are being killed; Iranians have taken risks.

Here is an op-ed written by Senator Kerry and titled “With Iran, Think Before You Speak,” that appeared in the New York Times today.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

17 comments on “John Kerry is RIGHT: This is an “Iranian Moment”

  1. pauline says:

    Bill Maher Takes On President Obama
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWulnfog20c

    Reply

  2. pauline says:

    Dan,
    Paul Wolfowitz deserves waterboarding — plain and simple.

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  3. pauline says:

    John Kerry is a gigolo — plain and simple.
    Here’ more on our righteous U.S. Senators.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPZNERzF3ac

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  4. Sand says:

    meant next step

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  5. Sand says:

    Laura Rozen is explaining the neocons next stop over at FP —
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/06/19/senate_house_hotline_iran_resolutions
    Congress and AIPAC is not skipping a beat — they are going in for the kill.
    The hypocrisy of it all — where are the resolutions denouncing the Saudis or the brutality of the IDF?
    One good thing that might come out of all this — is if this crowd dares to drop one bomb on these people — we know the ones who will have blood on their hands. And we have the faces of those they want to kill.

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  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Now Paul Wolfowitz is getting into the act with a couple of ridiculous analogies:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/18/AR2009061803496_pf.html

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  7. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Actually, it would not suprize me at all to see the Iranian protesters purposely incited into a situation that results in a bloodbath. That is a wet dream for Israel and the American right, a true gift. Does anyone here really think the anti-Iran crowd gives a rat’s ass about what happens to the Iranian people?
    If Israel has its way, they’ll be frying Iranians in white phosphorous before the year is out. And they’re supposed to be concerned about the voting rights of the very people they’ve spent years demonizing? They’d love to see a few hundred protesters murdered at the hands of Ahmadinejad’s jackboots. It all works in Israel’s favor towards discouraging a diplomatic engagement with Iran. I imagine Clinton and Ross would exchange high fives as well.

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  8. ... says:

    dan kervick 10:27pm.. how true! you can put wigwag in the same category too…

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  9. David says:

    Your last paragraph throws a quite interesting light on things, WigWag. I’m not familiar with Rahimi, so I’ll google him. But if he is correct regarding general sentiment, this is major. While I cannot imagine us not meddling covertly, Iran does have a civic society we here know precious little about. It seems to me this could go either way, especially if Ahmadenijad does not now enjoy the level of support those older pre-election polls gave him. Any poll more than a week before the election has to be considered old and easily unrepresentative of sentiment on election day, and who knows how senitment has changed as this is unfolding? As a someone who came of age during our Civil Rights movement, I have seen how sentiment can change, especially when brutal repression is meted out. Remember the supremely arrogant Bull Connor and the governor from the dark side, Ross Barnett? And the core issue was fundamental justice set against dogs, billy clubs, and 100 psi fire hoses. Reports that seem credible are describing worse, and even though this does not have the very long history of brutal apartheid in America, it seems to me some of the same dymanics are being set in motion against equally unjust, repressive, power lustful officials.
    Again, I do not know, and mostly I think we are way too ignorant regarding Iran, its society, and current events, and there is no doubt in my mind very powerful forces, zealotry and/or greedhead driven, are trying their damnedest to exploit/manipulate this situation to serve their narrow interests, and I include in this group the John McCains, Mike Pences, Exxon et al, and the stop-Iran-at-all-costs-from-getting-nuclear-weapons crowd.
    Obama needs to dig deep and find and apply wisdom, not narrow political interests, to this crisis. I just have no idea if any POTUS has that much authority or influence over the various forces and interests that are hell bent on meddling and attempting to determine for the Iranians the outcome of this conflict. That Congress ever authorized $400 million for destabilization/regime change in Iran strips us of any moral authority, if we ever had any given Mossadegh/the Shah/the Shah’s US-backed secret police.
    Also, man what Dan Kervick said.

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  10. Dan Kervick says:

    Thanks for the link WigWag. What Ricks worries about is the same thing I am worried about. Americans and others around the world, sitting comfortably in front of their laptops, and captivated and intoxicated by revolutionary romances, nostalgic longings for the freedom of youth, and radical chic imagery and stylings, will encourage Iranian radicals from a distance to make more and more provocative challenges to the regime. The result could be very bloody.
    Parasitical US politicians eager to score domestic political points at the expense of the necks of useful “green revolutionaries” abroad, and reckless US interventionists, Jacobins and regime changers possibly eager to kill off another generation of Americans in a decimating, calamitous war also need to be called out.
    Finally, there is a substantial segment of the elite US leadership class and punditry who invested a lot personally in support for the Iraq War, and were discredited as a result. Their heads are probably dancing now with visions of dynamic and violent regional transformation, an outcome that will kill even more people than they killed in Iraq, but will allow them to claim in the end that Iraq was just the transformational spark they needed, so they were right about that intervention all along.
    Can people imagine what a deep pile of shit we would no be in if that unbalanced hothead, John McCain, had been elected? I just hope our present government maintains the courage and discipline to ride out all the insults, taunts, slings and arrows from the provocateurs in the press and the self-styled stateside revolution party, and does whatever it can, publicly or privately, to encourage the reformist movement and regime to pursue satisfaction, accommodation and resolution through peaceful channels.

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  11. WigWag says:

    For those who might be interested, Tom Ricks has an interesting take on all of this on his blog at Foreign Policy. Here’s a brief snippet:
    My worry: Budapest ’56, Tehran ’09
    Thu, 06/18/2009 – 1:29pm
    “I think President Obama is correct in showing extreme restraint in dealing with the situation in Iran. My concern is that opposition protestors will interpret any voicing of Western support as a sign that we will come to their aid. Every time I see one of those “Where is my vote?” signs in English, I worry even more.
    As the Hungarians learned the hard way after being encouraged in 1956 in their uprising against their Soviet occupiers, we will not. Though I do hope that George Soros-a native of Hungary, by the way–and his Open Society Institute are doing whatever they can. At any rate, they know far better than does the U.S. government how to enable information flows.
    So I think people should think twice before shooting off their mouths about “unqualified support,” like Rep. Mike Pence (R., Ind.) did this morning on Fox “News…
    This problem goes to the essence of strategy: A “tough” stance that Fox’s anchors are pushing might feel good, but it likely would be unproductive. A sober stance of the sort that Obama has taken is more difficult but likely more effective in the long run.
    Meanwhile, for those reality-based readers who were wondering about the vote in the Iranian countryside, in the LA Times, Babrak Rahimi, an academic who recently was doing research in southern Iran, says his sense is that rural Iranians did not vote overwhelmingly for the mean little guy.”

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers has a different on Obama’s Mousavi-Ahmadinejad comparison:
    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/06/the-mousaviahmadinejad-connection-ctd.html

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  13. Dan Kervick says:

    If people in our government think that the US government should stay out of the Iranian imbroglio, why don’t they follow their own advice and just shut up about it already. It is not compatible with that approach for a US Senator to write an op-ed in the New York Times that in effect says, “I really want the reformers and demonstrators to prevail, but in order to help them prevail I think we should not say publicly we want them to prevail, so that the US government cannot be accused of taking sides in an internal Iranian matter. But just between you and me New York Times readers, I am taking sides .. but .. you know … on the QT.”

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  14. Steve Clemons says:

    Outraged — Mexico deserves attention too — but others can do a better job than I can of commenting on Mexico’s political circumstances. My colleague Andres Martinez is one of those and publishes quite a bit on Mexico….it’s just less my thing here, and what happens on TWN is really up to me subjectively. I will probably ask some other friends to write on Mexico here at TWN at some point. All best, steve

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  15. samuel burke says:

    steve, it is great that john kerry takes the stand that he takes …and that some of the more sane american policy wonks understand that iran ought to be left to the iranians….but could you do a story on what the intelligence agencies are doing within iran…i am sure that there is much that gets around about ops within…that many of us outside the loop would ever suspect goes on.
    ought not those stories come out also…arent americans entitled to the truth about what our elites are doing.
    words and deeds.

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  16. Outraged American says:

    Geez, and why didn’t we pay anywhere near as much attention to
    the possibly stolen Mexican election? Israel wasn’t interested?
    Mexico is kind of our back yard, or front yard. Actually Mexico
    is closer to being our living room now. And it gives us a heck of
    a lot of that oil we need, much more than we ever got from Iran,
    yet we couldn’t be bothered that the Cheney administration-
    backed Calderon, an oil boy, most probably stole the election
    from the people-backed Obrador?
    Even though it directly affected us?
    Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of angry Mexicans
    camped out in Mexico City to protest, but did our MSM give a
    (insert Yiddish word for “caca” here)?
    I’m asking, without a smidgen of sarcasm, “Why is what happens
    in this Iranian election, which if UsRael hadn’t helped stir up
    such a fuss, and which is basically for the office of president,
    who has jack-shiite power in Iran outside of domestic issues,
    more important than what happens next door in Mexico? A
    country tied intimately to our future, especially given that half of
    Mexico’s population seems to live within our so-called borders
    and we’re dependent on Mexico for a lot of our oil?”
    The Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy indeed!

    Reply

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