March 23, 2009

A season of new beginnings

Op-Ed by Richard Cohen on Obama's (welcome) overtures towards Iran..
..confrontational American high-handedness has been a disaster; that facile analogies between the Iranian regime and the Nazis dishonor six million victims of the Holocaust; that the regime’s provocative rhetoric masks essential pragmatism; and that the best way to help a young, stability-favoring population toward the reform they seek is through engagement. Obama has now taken all the steps I called for then. The policy changes emerged from an interagency review of the failed Iranian policy of recent years. The shift demanded courage.
Brilliant speech, btw.

Incidentally, the Iranian supreme leader has rebuffed Obama's overtures saying they await concrete changes in US policy. Ahmadinejad has not responded by mouthing off some rhetoric.....yet! But it will come, given that he faces a tough election in June and nationalistic rabble-rousing is one way for him to gain a foothold.

That said, the rheotric of "axes of evil" did not help us get anywhere with the fundamentalists in Iran and alienates the moderates with anti-American hatred, which the world can live without! Like Cohen writes - the path ahead is tough and many in the US media and population may not agree with Obama's engaging Iran but Obama has taken the right first steps in seeking reform through re-engagement.

Reminds me of this speech!
" ...somebody somewhere stood up when it was risky, stood up when it was hard, stood up when it wasn't popular. and because that somebody stood up, a few more stood up then a few thousand stood up and then a few million stood up. and standing up with courage and clear purpose, they somehow managed to change the world."
Bravo! Anyone can engage in bragaddacio with slogans of "Mission Accomplished" and spew the rhetoric of "we'll blodgeon them with shock and awe." Only the brave stand up when its unpopular and say lets change this world with passion, empathy, understanding, and engagement - not with a war of words and worse still by rushing into an endless futile real war that leaves a nation fragile and gasping for breath.

Update: Time magazine explores Why Khamenei Won't Budge

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