Biden-Obama Axis Shifts Biden’s Way on Iran


obama-barack-biden-joe-vice-president-announcement.jpgIt’s a good thing when a President and Vice President have constructive, creative tension in their relationship and don’t see eye to eye on everything. Joe Biden has seen his role in the Obama administration as “adviser-in-chief” and for the most part has kept his differences with Obama off the record and away from public view.
One split with Obama, however, has been the President’s stand on Iran. Sources report to me that recently the Vice President made comments that Obama needed to speak in support of the Iranians in the streets demanding that their votes count. Biden has not wanted to inject the United States into the fray — but he has wanted the White House to express admiration and support for the risks Iranian citizens are taking to secure democracy.
Recently, Biden said of Obama that the President always evolves in the right direction — and that he would get to “the right place” on Iran.
Geostrategically, I agree with those who argue that no matter who ends up running the helm of Iran’s political system, the United States will have to engage that leadership and negotiate over highly important strategic threats and realities that will be there no matter who ultimately prevails in Iran’s current Civil War.
That said, I don’t think that any President of the United States should disrespect the bravery of what is happening not just in Tehran now but throughout Iran. The election is not over — and it should not be preempted by comments from the White House.
The President has just issued a statement now that makes clear the concern of President Obama for those trying to secure their rights and political voice.
It’s a perfect statement and shows clearly Joe Biden’s influence:

Statement from the President on Iran
The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.
As I said in Cairo, suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government. If the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.
Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.

This revolution, if that is what it is in Iran, is not about us, not about Americans, or Brits, or any others. It is about the Iranian citizens who have had enough with their own government.
I don’t know who will win in the end — but those who are being brutalized in the street and risking everything to challenge Ahmadinejad and his thugs deserve our respect and our nuanced support.
— Steve Clemons


9 comments on “Biden-Obama Axis Shifts Biden’s Way on Iran

  1. JohnH says:

    Good catch… Blatant censorship vs. the subtle censorship. Palestinian and Iraqi casualties, Pakistani refugees, and massive protests of other disputed elections are simply disappeared as not newsworthy.
    But where do you see people objecting? Apparently Americans like being manipulated.
    Goebbels would have understand fully…


  2. John s son says:

    Advise joe and barach to just advise the iran government to let them know when they have their first election.


  3. ... says:

    too bad the palestinians couldn’t broadcast what israel was up to in gaza back in january as well… apparently youboob is selective in what they will allow to be shown..
    A disturbing trend is emerging on YouTube – videos that show Israel in a bad light are being taken down.


  4. WigWag says:

    From Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish
    “So here’s what we have:
    They’re afraid of murdering too many protesters all at once. Eventually the protesters will come to understand how to work around this.
    They can’t open their telecomm pipes, because the minute they do 3 million people will know how and where to gather, and the world will get to see thousands of videos showing horrific instances of state violence against its subjects.
    They have to open their telecomm pipes, because their economy cannot function without telecomm.
    They can’t repress too much, because the cleric support base will tip against them.
    Rafsanjani is waiting to find out who’ll keep his financial empire running. He’s going to come to conclude the current leadership’s promises cannot be trusted; the country is now being run by a Fascist Islamic Mafia.
    So what do they do?
    They turn this into a keystone-cops gulag, and still, no matter how they try to block it, the entire world is watching, and international disapproval is growing. At some point even life in Syria or Egypt will start to look better. The leadership will become ostracized in the Muslim world, and a large and influential Islamic country like Indonesia will come out with a public condemnation. Then other nations will feel emboldened. Even worse, Ahmadinejad, and to some extent even Khamenei, will now have a difficult time making uncontrolled appearances where the crowds are not bused from towns 100 miles away; every time they show up, crowds will chant them down.
    These citizens are done with their leadership. The trust has completely and irretrievably dissipated, and the fear, although present, is not sufficient, especially as it becomes more clear the army will remain on the sidelines. And the mullahs have opened all the playbooks on repression and crowd control simultaneously; it’s a smorgasboard attempt at blocking the rising tide of resentment; if you’ll recall, that’s called the mullah’s-ass-on-a-pressure-cooker-lid-to-retard-fulmination rule. If things look bad with the pressure cooker, piling more mullahs on the lid will only result in a more spectacular finish.
    If the Warsaw Ghetto uprising had been broadcast to the entire world, Hitler’s demise most surely would have come several years sooner. The mullahs have no way out. They are, essentially, fucked. It’s now only a matter of time. And Iran’s negotiations on their nuclear program? Suspended indefinitely due to lack of credibility; nobody will believe anything they say now.


  5. JohnH says:

    Whether or not Obama speaks out in support of Rafsanjani/Mousavi is a moot point. Washington policy circles outside the administration are entirely in sync, all supporting the protests, hence Mousavi. In particular, Washington’s megaphone, the corporate media, has already taken Mousavi’s side by its constant broadcast of the protesters and their grievances (in contrast to many other disputed elections, such as in Mexico and Thailand, where the media ignored massive protests). Furthermore, Congress has spoken in favor of the protesters, even though they do everything they can to stifle protests at their own party conventions. Also, by taking the highly unusual step of re-disseminating messages from the protesters to highlight their plight and gain sympathy for their cause, TWN has clearly shown its preferences.
    Perhaps more important still, while administration officials have been among the few not to support Mousavi, they have done nothing to freeze the $400 million of black ops being used to destabilize the government or to roll back NED activities.
    Washington’s preference in this matter is abundantly clear, and the administration’s silence is only a tactical maneuver in the push for regime change. I think all this is pretty obvious to informed observers outside the US. Any explict statement by Obama in support of Mousavi would merely confirm what we all already know.


  6. Outraged American says:

    So Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden wants Obama to issue a statement
    basically in support of Mousavi? Proving that Israel has no stake in
    this and is doing nothing to influence its outcome. Yeah right…


  7. Bill R. says:

    Excellent, Steve, sources and commentary.
    Revolution it has become.It could have been evolution but as of Khameini’s iron-fist statement, and actions of repression, it’s now revolution.


  8. WigWag says:

    “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
    “The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”


  9. ... says:

    steve, don’t you think it is a bit premature to call it a civil war?? i realize many people want war on iran, or are acting more subtly to increase the likelihood of war, but i find your comments very one sided here at twn the past week specifically with regard to what is going on in iran…


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