25 June 2009

The Iran Situation

By now, if you spend any time watching State-run media outlets or surfing the web, you are aware of the unrest in Iran following their recent election. We are certainly used to being dismayed by the outcome of elections here, and even the odd, stolen election (Sen. Franken?).

If events are as they seem, the people of Iran are suffering at the hands of the mullahs, as they have for decades. And the brutality of the regime is not to be condoned.

But before we get too excited by the lack of response by the U.S., keep in mind that we really shouldn't be getting involved in that situation. We have no national interest there, we have no resources to apply to make the situation any better, and we create no confidence that we will stay the course. I don't think these reasons are the motivation for the current administration's inaction; in fact, I think it has great sympathy for militant Mohammedan regimes. However, not acting is the right outcome in this situation.

In the Taki's Magazine blog today is a post by Jack Hunter titled, "Stay Out of Iran", that includes a video of his reasons why he thinks the U.S. should refrain from acting in Iran. The video mentions the exchange between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani during an early Republican presidential debate on the subject of Iran, where Paul was laughed at for his views. I have embedded that video above. It is a good reminder of the ridicule one faces when going against the entrenched interventionist foreign policy favored by both parties. The parties only differ as to where to intervene, not whether to intervene.

I think the author is too naive when he cites Ronald Reagan as a proponent of diplomacy with the Soviets, "just like" Obama is with the Iranian regime. Unlike Obama, Reagan first backed the Soviets into a corner where they were forced to negotiate, through the deployment of intermediate range nuclear missiles in Europe, the research and development of anti-missile defenses, and through strategic support of anti-communist forces and governments throughout the world. He negotiated from strength, not weakness.

Therefore, I don't endorse everything in this video, but I post it as a means to encourage thought and discussion.

As luck would have it, the army is probably stretched too thin for the government to fall prey to anyone's inclination to actually send troops there anyway. And unlike money, they can't yet print more soldiers.


Peggy said...

Hi Timman,

I am not for interventionist policies or military action abroad simply for the sake of freedom of others. I freaked out about that commitment in W's 2nd inaugural.

I do think, however, that the U.S. which has been a beacon of hope for freedom around the world has a role in standing up for those who seek freedom. Sure, we should not encourage them to the point that they think we're going to send arms or armies.

For all Obie's efforts to claim he didn't want to interfere, Iran has accused him of that. I'd argue he interfered by communicating with the mullahs on the eve of the election. Obie was slow to express any moral outrage. Even then his outrage was so dispassionate. A woman being shot to death was merely "a problem."

thetimman said...

Peggy, I agree as to the U.S.'s role and Obama's pusillanimity. But I think we need to think before intervening militarily, and at the moment we are as weak as we have been in 30 years.

Peggy said...

Ok. Sure. I don't think any one was even remotely suggesting US military intervention in this instance, just some appropriate moral outrage. Sarko sounded more firm than Obie.

scott said...

"Obama's pusillanimity"? Why would you say this? Because he's not a knee-jerk reactionary like the bufoon before him? What is it precisely that you think makes him a coward? I can understand not agreeing with his approach to particualr issues. I certainly don't agree with his stance on everything. But to call him a coward just doesn't make sense.

Visitor1 said...

It seems to me little better to help a people exchange the yoke that comes with a forceful Muslim regime for the vice and immorality that become so easy and is so prevalent in Western liberal democracies. The only reason MIGHT BE that western liberal democracy allows the Church more room to spread the salvation of Jesus Christ, but with time, even this becomes more and more contestable. Let us also remember than even good Catholic states, because their citizens will not always all be well-formed, will have sometimes to put down riots and execute citizens.

Anonymous said...

Israel is not a democracy. It has no written constitution. It is an apartheid state in which a jew and non-jew cannot legally marry. It has a vast storage of nuclear weapons yet, unlike Iran, has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Agreement, such refusal violates American trade law which prohibits trading with any nuclear power who refuses to sign the agreement. This is our ally in the middle east? What does that say about U.S.?

thetimman said...

Scott, I figured that my readers on the left wouldn't suddenly say, "Wait, he's not a Rovian pro-war guy after all!" Your comment confirms my suspicion that progressives are never happy. But keep commenting about how this blog is a Republican cheerleader.

scott said...

OMG! From Visitor1: "Let us also remember than even good Catholic states, because their citizens will not always all be well-formed, will have sometimes to put down riots and execute citizens."

Seriously? Am I falling for a joke here by responding? This sounds like something the Taliban says about its citizenry when they aren't following sharia law. Nuts.

scott said...

Huh? Theti, your response doesn't even make sense vis a vis my original comment. You could've made your original point(s) well enough without calling O a coward. Just like I could make mine without calling W retarded.

thetimman said...

Scott, I got your point. But the label is relevant in that Mr. O. has bowed to a foreign king, caved to the Russians on missile defense, and allowed North Korea to threaten to launch a missile at Hawaii and send a ship to further threaten it without reprisal. That is why I used the term. Feel free to disagree.

As for the other commenter and the execution issue, I don't believe they were engaging in a systematic argument about when and where a state might legitimately put down riots or execute criminals, only that even a Catholic government would sometimes be forced to do so. Capital punishment is one of the lawful rights of the state, and is found in that part of the catechism least read by some.

scott said...

1) I do disagree. I don't think it's cowardly to seek alternatives to being a bully or cowboy. O's not a pacifist nor a panderer. He's smart enough to know that if these attempts fail, there are other paths, but that these ways need to be attempted first. W got the whole world hating us becasue his first response was always to charge in with guns blazing.

2) Be careful with using "lawful right" in reference to execution. This makes it sound trivial. C.2267 says it is an absolute last resort and should be avoided if any other alternative exists. And nowadays, there are always alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Scott, this is not the only reason to use capital punishment according to the centuries old tradition of the Church, and the Catechism simply neglects to flesh this out in detail. Please see:


MP said...


So you think that Obama was showing his bravery by totally avoiding showing support for the BRAVE students and others who are protesting their repressive regime? Like Timman said, no one expects us to send the military in, but strong, clear language condemning the beatings and killings and imprisonments of protestors would be statesmanlike at least. Oh, that's right, he did say something a week after they started.

Oh, and I don't see the Iranian dictator loving B.O. anymore than he did Bush. So, I guess B.O.'s friendly talk to them, and his claiming to have Muslim roots didn't do any good. And Obama is SO NICE!!!!! I'm surprised he canceled the 4th of July invitation - oh, that's right, they weren't coming anyway.

That is so very important to these dictators who threaten to blow up Israel. I'm sure Obama will save the world by being SO NICE!!! (And good-looking too. And smart - I have never heard a tele-prompter talk as well as his does!