Obama's too quiet...on Iran...
He reminds Jeff Jacoby of the first George Bush....
Is Barack Obama channeling George H. W. Bush?
Twenty years ago this month, the first President Bush refused to condemn China's communist rulers when they unleashed a violent assault on pro-democracy demonstrators in the streets of Beijing.
For weeks Bush had refrained from encouraging the student-led reform movement that had blossomed around the country. "Clearly we support democracy," he said, but it wouldn't be appropriate for an American president to endorse the protesters' pleas for more freedom. "Exactly what their course of action should be," he demurred, "is for them to determine." Even after the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Bush — unwavering in his commitment to engagement with Beijing — would say nothing that might offend the Chinese government. "Not the time for an emotional response," he told reporters. He even spoke respectfully of the Chinese troops. "The army did show restraint…. They showed restraint for a long time."
In reacting to last week's rigged Iranian election and the protests that erupted after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway victor, the Obama White House seems deliberately to be taking a page from the elder Bush's 1989 playbook.
"The administration has remained as quiet as possible," the Washington Post reported on Monday, even as images streaming out of Iran showed the mullahs' basij thugs beating and bloodying unarmed protesters. Vice President Joseph Biden told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that while there were "doubts" about the election's fairness, the administration was "going to withhold comment" until a more thorough analysis could take place. But even if he election results were fraudulent, engagement with Iran's theocratic regime would go forward. "The decision has been made to talk," Biden said.
Not until Monday evening did Obama himself finally address the crisis in Iran, and when he did it was Bush-on-Tiananmen all over again — halting, mealy-mouthed, passive. "I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be," he said, as if that isn't precisely what the mullahs rigged the election to prevent. "I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television," he continued, without a word of censure for the despotic government committing that violence, let alone a demand that it stop.