15 Feb 2011

Obama Timidly Comes to the Right Side of History

A lot of foreign policy experts are seeing a pattern of weak support for democracy expansion around the world coming from the Obama administration. In my latest post at Its a Free Country I point out how Obama hasn’t backed up his own words:

In his inaugural speech, President Obama said, “To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history.” But his timid responses to democratic uprisings in the Middle East have shown his commitment to those on the right side of history is sorely lacking.

The United States is supposed to be a country that is behind those who are being repressed, but it has seemed like our president has been hesitant to even come out too strongly for the general rights of those who risk their lives to be on that right side of history. We got lucky in Tunisia and Egypt. Those regimes aren’t as willing as Iran’s to kill, torture and jail their way to staying in power. But why did he wait so long to come stridently out in support of the democratic movements?

We may not have helped the Green Revolution prevail in Iran had Obama come out more forcefully for the forces of democracy there, or even if he’d rallied support among our allies around the world (as I think he should have). We’ll never really know. But we should have done it anyway. If we are the nation we fancy ourselves to be, with a president who has a serious commitment to putting ourselves squarely on the right side of history, we should have made it clear from the point where these protests seemed real and lasting that we were behind the people of Egypt, Tunisia, and Iran that were fighting for freedom.

It seems the administration may be listening a bit to these critiques, in an uptick in criticism towards Iran. Perhaps they’ll learn from their mistakes.

Read more at It’s a Free Country »

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