Home > Iran > LeVine: Obama’s Iran Strategy Failing

LeVine: Obama’s Iran Strategy Failing

Over at Al Jazeera, historian Mark LeVine today gives a pretty brutal assessment of President Obama’s handling of the Iranian election and it’s aftermath. In a rather wide-ranging analysis, LeVine criticizes the President for being overly quick to extend a hand of friendship to authoritarians in the region and at the same time unduly slow to recognize nonviolent calls for democracy and freedom. From the article:

Imagine the sight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children marching to the so-called “separation wall” or innumerable Israeli check points and, like East Germans a generation ago, dismantling them apart brick by brick through disciplined non-violent action.

Consider what would happen if, instead of staying on the sidelines in Iran while playing softball with Israel and trying to woo other autocratic regimes into our orbit, Obama could look the Iranian leadership in the eyes and make the same demand of them that he should be making of all the leaders of the region: democratise and grant freedom to the peoples under your control.

At least then the brave Iranians risking their lives for democracy, and the long-repressed peoples of the region more broadly, would know that the US stands up for them.

Ultimately, it is the reality of the Obama administration’s support for a discredited status quo across the region, and not the actions of the Eisenhower administration half a century ago, that makes it impossible for the US to play a forceful role advocating for democracy in Iran at this crucial moment in the history of the Islamic Republic, and ours as well.

It’s an interesting critique from an unusual philosophical quarter (how often does one hear that the US is too easy on Iran and Israel in the same article?). Certainly if we do not follow the author in calling President Obama’s strategy in Iran a failure, it could hardly be called at this moment a success. That’s an unpleasant fact, but one I can’t see any way right now of avoiding.

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