Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Value of Change

Regarding yesterday's post in which I wrote about today's American leadership regarding the "unalienable rights" of man, I wrote that I thought it was "important that the Iranian government realize that we are neither fooled nor impressed" by Iran's illusion of democracy and that although we might not be able or willing to prevent the abuse of Iranian citizens in the street, "we should be clear that we are not indifferent to it either."

My premise was that as the world's foremost leader in advocating the natural rights of man to life and liberty over the past 200 years, we needed to maintain that stature, even if it meant risking claims that we are interfering with the internal affairs of despotic nations. To a despot, comment of any kind from any quarter is interference.

I noted that our president finally said that he was "outraged and appalled" by the violence in the streets of Iran and the United States has rescinded its invitation to Iranian diplomats worldwide to celebrate the Fourth of July at American embassies (but none had RSVP'd anyway).

Reading the news today, I see that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has had something to say about the president's response. "We are surprised at Mr. Obama," Ahmadinejad said. "Didn't he say that he was after change? Why did he interfere?"

"They keep saying that they want to hold talks with Iran ... but is this the correct way? Definitely, they have made a mistake," Ahmadinejad said.

Our president commented about the protesters in Iran on Friday, "Their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. In spite of the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it."

Clearly, the Iranian president is playing our president's interest in "change" against him and against our American values. "Change" is not a founding principle of this country and when the Iranian president suggests that an American response to the actions against freedom-loving Iranians threatens relations with Iran, we should quickly answer that it is Iran's actions against its people that threatens relations with Iran, then back those words up with additional diplomatic action. We should be clear about what is important to us as Americans, and that while we want "change," we will not change our values.