Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How President McCain Might Have Handled Iran

Days like today are one reason I supported the no-nonsense war hero John McCain over Barack Obama.

After the presidential election in Iran was apparently stolen, thousands of protesters took to the streets. Instead of the United States boldly supporting the cause of liberty, and defending dissidents, President Obama meekly said, "It's not productive given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations to be seen as meddling."

That -- of course -- was not a great moment in leadership.

President John F. Kennedy did not say we would "bear any burden -- so long as we don't interfere." Nor can one imagine Winston Churchill saying, "We will fight on the land -- so long as we don't meddle." Nor can one imagine Ronald Reagan saying "Tear down this wall! -- if you're cool with it..."

If the strongest nation in the free world is not willing to take a stand and at least provide moral support for those willing to risk their lives for liberty, the America I know is long gone. While it is understandable for Obama to not invade a nation over this injustice, it is quite another thing to not even bother to forcefully condemn it. Having a humble foreign policy does not preclude one from moral clarity.

Meanwhile, Republican House Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) released a statement calling on Obama to "take a strong public position in the face of violence and human rights abuses." Cantor added that the United States has a "moral responsibility to lead in opposition to Iran's extreme response to peaceful protests." Cantor's full remarks are here.

We'll never know what President McCain would have said, but it's pretty safe to say that he would have taken a forceful stand -- once again positioning America as a beacon of freedom and the last, best hope on Earth.

Instead, we risk becoming a cynical nation that makes decisions based on perceived short-term diplomatic gain.

That's not change I can believe in.

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