Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cairo speech inspired Iran protesters? 

From today's WaPo:
"Obama's approach to Iran, including his assertion that the unrest there represents a debate among Iranians unrelated to the United States, is an acknowledgment that a U.S. president's words have a limited ability to alter foreign events in real time and could do more harm than good. But privately Obama advisers are crediting his Cairo speech for inspiring the protesters, especially the young ones, who are now posing the most direct challenge to the republic's Islamic authority in its 30-year history.

"One senior administration official with experience in the Middle East said, 'There clearly is in the region a sense of new possibilities,' adding that 'I was struck in the aftermath of the president's speech that there was a connection. It was very sweeping in terms of its reach.'"
(bold emphasis added)

The text of President Obama's Cairo speech is here. There are three paragraphs that directly deal with or mention Iran:
"This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I've made it clear to Iran's leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.

"I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America's interests. It's about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

"I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And that's why I strongly reaffirmed America's commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. (Applause.) And any nation -- including Iran -- should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I'm hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal."
(bold emphasis added)

What in this text "inspired the protesters?" Or is the inspiration in another part of the speech? Does the senior administration official have specific information or intelligence from Iranian protesters to substantiate this claim (and the scary thing is that, generally, the administration's intelligence from Iran might be inferior to, for example, Gateway Pundit's)? Or is this simply spin that comes from a dimension where the normal laws of physics and international politics simply do not apply?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 23, 04:57:00 PM:

The internets have been buzzing today with postings mocking the White House over this BS today. HotAir has best post so far in my opinion, and I recommend it to all: Scorn.

More generally, Caroline Glick writes in her column today on the terrible costs of media propagandizing on behalf of our ruler.  

By Blogger Christopher Chambers, at Tue Jun 23, 05:00:00 PM:

Stop tripping. lol
Outside of wingnutland everyone knows his comments were aimed at this younger, educated class of folks. And this election in Iran was going to be the first test.

Sure Ive heard the jibes at the protesters that they want their downloadable music, their gadgets & games, their lattes, their nosejobs and AnnTaylor (modified fashions of course), but they also want to know that they are the future--not nihilistic, largely rural conservative bumpkins in the hills and hinterland.

Oops, sound familiar? Hypereligious conservative bumpkins exercising control far out of proportion to their actual numbers? hahaha. Look, he's banking on analogous folk in the Muslim world, as compared to the people who helped put him in the White House. I don't see why that's unreasonable, or even impractical, based on the demographics in these countries. Hell, I've even taught a few of these young people through Georgetown's Qatar campus.
They aren't fans of Israel by any means but they understand Jews are being used a rallying point/symbol, shades of well, pick a place, from Czarist Russia, Germany to the KKK rallies of the American South to someone's daddy's countryclub. And they see it as a sham, a waste.
It's "Yes, We Can," imported.
There are profs at GU's SFS--none liberals unworthy of your ear hahaha--who predicted Obama's angle well before the Cairo Speech.

Maybe the proper comparison/contrast, analysis, etc. would be Woodrow Wilson in 1919, sending out principles and rhetorical points upon which peoples and nations either draw upon directly for their own aspirational needs, or even misapply. Was it pie in the sky bull, or was it a true manifesto? I can say with confidence that Balkan peoples, and a guy named Ho Chi Minh, took this stuff to heart.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 23, 05:00:00 PM:

If his speech truely inspired the protesters, has his actions since taught them the meaning of "under the bus".  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 23, 05:11:00 PM:

CC, the fact that you can't spin your ex post facto fairy dusting of the facts in two or three sentences completely undermines the already senseless drivel.

Just as a question, is there anything about this article that had your BS meter jangling? Anything at all?  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Tue Jun 23, 06:22:00 PM:

"Does the senior administration official have specific information or intelligence from Iranian protesters to substantiate this claim (and the scary thing is that, generally, the administration's intelligence from Iran might be inferior to, for example, Gateway Pundit's)? Or is this simply spin that comes from a dimension where the normal laws of physics and international politics simply do not apply?"

The latter.

Nothing Obama has said or done has 'inspired' those people. What 'inspired' them was the blatant theft of an election and the subsequent use of force to maintain power in face of popular opposition.

For Obama to have deliberately tried to inspire a revolt, he had to have had fore-knowledge of the Iranian governments massive rigging of the election *and* bet on a popular movement in opposition. THEN he had to sit on his hands for a week and do nothing to support the populace he manipulated into revolt.

Machiavellian sadist? Or inept statesman trying to take credit for something he didn't do?

Tough one.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Tue Jun 23, 06:23:00 PM:

Hey, Chris...my favorite paragraph of The Big Zero's speech in Cairo was his yearning to return to the time 20 years ago when Muslim relations with the West were firm and mutually respectful.

Looking back 20 years, we had the bombing of the Pan Am flight in Scotland (amost to the day!), the Russian invasion of Afganistan, Reagan's mini-war with Libia...well...you get the idea (or do you??)

Gee, Chris, I guess the History classes at Columbia were a little too "soft". Harvard didn't seem to help much, either.

It's a little hard to take this guy seriously.  

By Anonymous Candide, at Tue Jun 23, 09:24:00 PM:

I kinda hoped those Obama 'advisers' had their hands full with trying to heave Michelle into international fashion model stardom, but apparently not.  

By Anonymous tyree, at Tue Jun 23, 10:38:00 PM:

This spin might have been floated as a trial balloon here in Orange County, CA. a week ago. I heard the head of the local Democratic Party use the same line. Over 10 years of supporting Democracy in Iraq by two Presidential administrations means nothing, but one speech by President Obama and the rainbows and unicorns come out? No wonder President Obama's approval rating is going into negative territory.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Tue Jun 23, 10:44:00 PM:

CC- I'm sure the young people in Iran were not at all affected by the recent freedoms on either side of them, nor even the increased freedom 20 years ago in neighboring Turkmenistan, Azerbaijhan, or Kuwait. No, they have been poised for such a moment as this, when a great rescuer such as Obama shows the world how peace and freedom are possible if we will only believe in him.  

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