Today President Barack Obama released a statement about the Iranian government’s violent actions against its own people. Interestingly, Obama used a quote from Martin Luther King to voice his support for the Iranian people. The quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Obama said, “The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.”
The not so subtle point to the Iranian people was sent by Obama through a Martin Luther King quote, “Martin Luther King once said – “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I believe that. The international community believes that. And right now, we are bearing witness to the Iranian peoples’ belief in that truth, and we will continue to bear witness.”
The message that the president was trying to send was that Iranian people have to fight their own battle for basic rights. This is quite a change from the neo-con tactics of the Bush administration, which would have probably strongly gotten behind the protesters, while contemplating shifting troops from Iraq to Iran. I can’t believe that anyone is still touting the regime change doctrine, while the US is still propping up governments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This statement also signaled to me the beginning of a shift in Obama’s statements towards Iran. If the violence continues to increase, I suspect that Obama will become more vocal in his support of human rights. As the issue surrounding these protests shifts from election fraud to calls for freedom, Obama will be able to more direct with his statements.
The worst thing that could happen for everyone involved except the regime would be a return to cowboy diplomacy. If Obama meddles in Iran, it would represent a complete contradiction of his stated policies. Obama is doing the right thing, by staying out of the domestic issues while pressuring Iran on human rights. Nothing short of threats and bombs will make the neo cons happy, but with the complete failure of all neo con policies, they lack credibility and should not be listened to.