Iranian Crisis: Is The Obama Administration Too Cautious?

State Department Bears From Gift Shop

Bears From State Department Gift Shop

Opinion by Gilbert Mercier, News Junkie Editor.

Today, strong condemnations concerning the Iranian election and its aftermath, came from Europe. The British, German & French foreign ministers had very strong language, including mentioning  election fraud, to depict the situation in Iran.

The Obama administration is coming short of doing the same. On the Department of State’s web site today, the post title was: “US Encourages Iran To Meet Its International Obligations.” This is not even mild pressure, they could have used “urges” instead of encourages, and still stay within the boundaries of courteous diplomatic language.

It seems that the Department of State is adopting a “wait & see” attitude towards a crisis still very much in flux.

When Hillary Clinton accepted the position of Secretary of State she said she would implement strong but smart diplomacy. Secretary Clinton is not projecting a great deal of strength in the matter, but it could turn out to be a wise decision for two reasons.

First: If the Clerics, the military and Ahmadinejad have ultimately the upper-hand in the current Iranian turmoil, it would make any diplomatic progress over the nuclear program practically impossible.

Second: Aggressively denouncing the election as a fraud and showing support for Mousavi would be used immediately by the Iranian regime to galvanize their supporters (they do have some) by playing on deep rooted anti-American sentiments within the Iranian population.

It could  indeed  be “Smart Diplomacy” to stay a bit on the sideline, as long as it is not interpreted as sign of weakness or indecision.

At yesterday’s  press briefing, Ian Kelly (the Department’s spokesman) was elusive and quite skillful at saying as little as possible. White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, didn’t say much either in yesterday’s press briefing from Air Force one.

However, judging by the statement of Senator McCain ( attacking the Obama administration for not been more forceful in the Iranian election matter) Americans can estimate themselves lucky that  the ” Bomb Iran” candidate didn’t get elected.


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