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What it sounds like when the leader of the free world speaks

What does the leader of the free world have to say about the protests in Iran? I am not even sure who the leader of the free world is anymore. Here is a bit of my take on Obama's response to what is going on in Iran. Read the full column for the words of the leader of the free world to Iran in 2006.

Those on the left, and some on the right, have praised President Obama's approach. George Will said, "The president is being roundly criticized for insufficient rhetorical support for what's going on over there. It seems to me foolish criticism. The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward that regime is, and they don't need that reinforced."

I don't know that the people on the streets do "know full well what the American attitude toward that regime is." They know what it was. (Does "axis of evil" ring a bell?) But maybe they also know how strongly President Obama has denounced his predecessor's approach to foreign policy and his world view in general. Add to that Obama's recent response to the protests and there are probably a lot of people around the world who don't "know full well" what the American attitude now is.

President Bush spoke forcefully, and often, about freedom and liberty and democracy. The often tongue-tied public speaker Bush was most eloquent and at ease when talking about those principles. His desire to see freedom and democracy spread throughout the world is deeply heartfelt and that was evident in his speeches...

President Obama's wait and see and try to say as little as possible approach on Iran stands in stark contrast to that of President George W. Bush. I wish Obama had inherited George Bush's passion and commitment to those pursuing liberty and democracy around the world.


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Comments (13)

Obama leader of the free wo... (Below threshold)

Obama leader of the free world???? A man who is a socialist at best.... don't think so...so why would he speak up???

"President Bush spoke force... (Below threshold)

"President Bush spoke forcefully, and often, about freedom and liberty and democracy. The often tongue-tied public speaker Bush was most eloquent and at ease when talking about those principles. His desire to see freedom and democracy spread throughout the world is deeply heartfelt and that was evident in his speeches"

Um, could you provide a specific example from his presidency where an event like that unfolding in Iran now happened and how President George W. Bush responded?

dsc, a quick search found t... (Below threshold)

dsc, a quick search found this referencing
the Washington Post, Tuesday 23 July 2002; Page A01


Notables: [the administrationi] official said, we have made a conscious decision to associate with the aspirations of Iranian people...

Bush signaled the change publicly in a strongly worded presidential statement in which he praised large pro-democracy street demonstrations in Iran....

In the statement, Bush said that uncompromising, destructive policies have persisted in Iran despite recent presidential and parliamentary elections that have brought reform advocates to power. He accused Iranian leaders and their families of continuing to obstruct reform while reaping unfair benefits and demanded that the government listen to the Iranian people, who he said have no better friend than the United States...

The fact that Bush issued the statement in his own name made a deep impression in Iran...

Have enough years passed si... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:

Have enough years passed since President Bush made his "axis of evil" speech that we can actually say that Iran and North Korea are evil? Or is it only those rubes who believe in "good" and "evil" that can use that phrase? Just asking.

Yes, Bush, as 'leader of th... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Yes, Bush, as 'leader of the free world', was very impressive in the real world of results, in geo-political foreign policy.

He certainly did the reformers no favors in Tehran, and 'hung out Khatami to dry', after his 'axis of evil speech,' on January 29, 2002 and the new Bush White House policy of confrontration with Tehran.

Khatami,(then President of Iran and) the leader of reformists seeking more democracy in the Islamic republic, sustained a sharp setback for his political agenda from Bush's speech.

The "axis of evil" comment damaged prospects for convergence between Tehran and Washington over shared U.S.-Iranian animosity toward the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Iranian moderates had started to challenge the control over foreign policy enjoyed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, only to see their efforts lose traction in recent weeks.

"The people on the streets ... (Below threshold)

"The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward that regime is, and they don't need that reinforced."

Then why are almost all of of their signs in English? And so many of their Twitter comments along the lines of "thank you for supporting us?"

Oh, yeah - and quite a few people in Iran are claiming that their movement is inspired by the successful democracy next door - in Iraq.

Mr. Crickmore,I se... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:

Mr. Crickmore,

I see that your source is the NY Times and, obviously, they have no animosity towards President Bush, so their opinions must be true. I do not understand your point. Are you saying that the Iranian leadership (i.e., the "Mullahs") are not evil? Are you saying that they were not evil when Mr. Bush called them "evil?" or are you saying that we shouldn't call them evil because the "non-evil" members of their political class will be weakened if we call them evil? Is that why President Obama was silent for 8 days? Is that why the Iranian diplomats are still invited to the White House's 4th of July Barbecue?

In the same vein, should Mr. Reagan never have called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire?

Or is the term "evil" still used only by the rubes?

Will is one of those sucker... (Below threshold)

Will is one of those suckers who actually believes that Obama favors democracy and freedom over dictatorship and government rule.

Ser it is largely politics.... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Ser it is largely politics..As I recall Reagan denounced the Soviets especially hard after they shot down a Korean passenger jet KA007 with many Americans on board.

President Reagan delivered a televised speech from the Oval Office calling the incident a "massacre," a "crime against humanity," and "an atrocity." The shootdown is, Reagan says, "an act of barbarism, born of a society which wantonly disregards individual rights and the value of human life and seeks constantly to expand and dominate other nations."

When we shot down an Iranian passenger Airbus jet in 1988 (290 passengers and crew) from the US cruiser Vincennes within Iranian territorial waters, we made tortured excuses, and the US government never apologized or accepted responsibility. Indeed, after 'the official American enquiry', the Captain of Vincennes received the Legion of Merit.

In August 1988, Newsweek qu... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

In August 1988, Newsweek quoted the vice president as saying "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are." Bush used the phrase frequently[25] during the 1988 campaign and promised to "never apologize for the United States" months prior to the July 1988 shootdown and as early as January 1988.

George Bush senior remarks pretty well sums up conservative thinking on democracy and responsibility. Never apologize, never take responsibility if it is your government's fault. This is why many of the Republican Presidents' remarks ring so hollow when addressed to other parts of the world, such as in Iran where the Vincenness shooting down is still a sore incident.

Steve, do you recall what e... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Steve, do you recall what exactly was going on at the time the Iranian airliner was shot down? Steve is it an act of war to invade an embassy taking hostage the diplomats and their staff, holding them for 444 days? I do not think there was an apology but then maybe you heard one. Steve if you hate the US so much, why not move to Mexico?

Mr. Crickmore,Sinc... (Below threshold)
SER Author Profile Page:

Mr. Crickmore,

Since I am old, I remember the shooting down of the Iranian passenger jet by USS Vincennes. I believe that it was a mistake. You believe it was as intentional as the shooting of KAL 007? I believe that the exocet missile attack on the USS Stark during the previous year by an Iragi jet was the reason that the crew of the Vincennes fired on the Iranian jet. At the time of the Iranian jet tragedy, Iran and Iraq were at war and the Iranians threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz and starve the West of oil. That is why the US Navy was in the Persian Gulf. Do you feel that when President Obama orders predator missile strikes against Taliban leaders (that result the loss of some innocent lives) he is morally equivalent to al Qaeda suicide bombers? I do not.

Are only Republican Presidents subject to your "ring hollow" statement? Who was president during the firebombing of Dresden? Who was president during the Mai Lai massacre?

I do not believe that FDR or LBJ apologized for these events. I do not believe that they were culpable.

I guess that I will remain a rube and believe in American exceptionalism and I will reject the moral equivalency of some of our friends on the left.

Interesting to see pure evi... (Below threshold)
Brian Richard Allen:

Interesting to see pure evil in action in this thread and others like it.

And more evidence that the Soros and Socialist-Internationale-supported moral-relativist post-modernist deranged ("Steve Crickmore," eg) who've taken to knee-jerking hereabouts and in other conservative hangouts: 1) Are but bloody air thieves; 2) Must instantly be recognized as but the manifestations of evil and/or of stupidity every one of them is and; 3) because there are no trophies for engaging either idiots and/or the evil in conversation and/or for debating the deranged!

Brian Richard Allen
Los Angeles Califobambicated 90028
And the Far Abroad






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