In his recent Philadelphia Inquirer editorial, "Obama's Immoral Silence," Charles Krauthammer condemns President Obama's cautious approach to the events unfolding in Iran after what appears to be an illegitimate Presidential election. At first glance this seems to be a reasonable argument. All of the unrest and bloodshed calls out for a response of support, especially after what we have seen and heard about the current Islamic regime and their puppet, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
However, there is more at play here than meets the eye. President Obama as a student of American history knows all too well the consequences of U.S. interventions in the past. The fact that he has purposely stayed out of the fray and is still being accused of meddling by the current Iranian regime points out the stigma of American-Iranian relations. Obama knows that our support (along with Great Britain's) of a coup in 1953 restoring power to the Shah deposed a popular leader, Mohammed Mosaddeq, who wanted to nationalize Iranian oil and limit foreign interventions, and has not been forgotten. The Shah's western friendly 25-year rule laid the groundwork for the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Also, President Ronald Reagan's administration through their envoy Donald Rumsfeld sold biological and chemical weapons to Iraq and their leader Saddam Hussein to be used against Iran during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
Is it any wonder that Iran is suspicious of America and her intentions? Krauthammer, from his righteous perch, writes: "Our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe." Sounds good. But in truth what have been our fundamental values? What has been our motivation where we have intervened with money or military force? In 1953 Iran it was oil, in the first 1990 Gulf War it was oil and in the second 2003 Iraq war it was oil and control of the region.
It could be argued that in Vietnam (1964-1972) we fought for the opium (a big business in the US.) I remember seeing the 2007 movie American Gangster and being appalled that opium was being smuggled into the US in soldiers' coffins.
Besides our contention of trying to find Osama Bin Laden, why are we in Afghanistan? They produce 90% of the world's opium. Is there a connection? President George W. Bush had a chance to destroy the opium crop in Afghanistan in 2002. He chose not to. Why? The CIA made a similar decision during the Vietnam War leading to an increase in the heroin trade in the USA.
In conclusion, I believe that US history shows that our intentions have not always been honorable and we have been looking out for our own self interests which are often based on greed and fear.
I believe President Obama is showing incredible courage and restraint in sticking to his guns and not giving in to his critics. He is walking a fine line while speaking of concern for the situation but not inflaming the Islamic regime or allowing them to use Iran's dislike for America as a weapon against the protestors. Of course Obama is for freedom in Iran. But it would be foolish of him to take this opportunity to interject moral posturing from a country with blood on its own hands.