Well, we lead; we condemn the sham, corrupt election. We do what we have done throughout the Cold War and afterwards, we speak up for the people of Tehran and Iran and all the cities all over that country who have been deprived of one of their fundamental rights. We speak out forcefully, and we make sure that the world knows that America leads -- and including increased funding for part of the Farda, Iranian free radio.
Wow, that'll really show them. I'm sure Ahmadinejad is praising Allah right now that he helped install his buddy Obama in the Whitehouse, so he can avoid the wrathful words of a President McCain.
Seriously, though. What good would these words do, beyond make the Iranian protesters look like they're on Team America? Would the Mullahs start shaking in their sandals? Would more Iranians risk their lives if they knew the American president backed them with tough talk? And if they did, wouldn't that add legitimacy to the idea that these protesters were on Team America?
Stupid Is as Stupid Says
I am continually amazed at how simple-minded conservatives are. It's as if all the problems in the world would go away if we resolve to be tough and adopt a tough posture. And underlying that is a basic level of fear; as if all we have to fear is our own fear, which can be overcome with tough talk and empty posturing.
But tough talk is meaningless. It literally achieves nothing. And if anything, it can backfire if our enemies take our tough talk too seriously and resolve to take actions against our talk (e.g. North Korean nukes). Or conversely, the rest of the world will realize that our tough talk is empty bluster and ignore everything we say; thus diminishing our power.
And as others have said, this isn't about us. We don't need to take a position on this, beyond a basic statement that we support democracy. Were this coming from an ally like England, perhaps some tough words might make them think twice about stifling democracy. But we've already gone about as far with Iran as we can without actually declaring war and bombing them. That's been our standard position for several decades now. And that's part of the problem: We've got nothing left to threaten them with beyond words and bombs, and I don't see how bombing the shit out of them would help anything right now.
This is a domestic dispute within Iran, and the more we try to insert ourselves into this, the worse it'll be. And as I've always said, I don't believe in meddling with the internal politics of any country, and think the best solution to tyranny is to keep selling our shit to them. That's how you have real influence in the modern world. Not with bombs, and definitely not with tough talk. And as Hilzoy suggested, we should consider ourselves lucky that we didn't get stuck with another president who didn't understand this.