07/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

How Obama Saves Iran (and Himself) by Dithering

If Iranians overthrow the horrid Ahmadinejad, the winner last week of an obviously fishy election, that will be a vindication, the Obama administration will certainly maintain, of the president's rhetorical restraint. If, on the other hand, the nascent rebellion is crushed by force or otherwise, then it would certainly seem that the president's failure to join the side of righteousness is going to haunt him.

It could be similar to the 1950s chorus of blame heaped on the Democrats for losing China when it fell to Mao. This time it will be heaped on President Obama for failing to help save Iran when the opportunity presented itself.

Of course, he's damned, the administration is already suggesting, whatever he does. If he thumps his chest then Ahmadinejad and his lock-step Mullahs will call the uprising an American operation, which offers all the more reason to crush it. And if it is crushed, and Ahmadinejad remains the man we've got to do business with--remember, this president will talk to anyone--it will be all the more difficult if we've doubled-down on our antipathy for him.

The president's posture now is to openly overthink the situation. He's a walking existential conundrum, and letting everybody know it.

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