According to the Washington Post "U.S. officials say Obama is intent on calibrating his comments to the mood of the hour." I think I understand the American Presidentï¿½s calibration better than I understand this overly-calibrated statement from the Post reporter. I also think those who chastise Obama for not saying enough or doing enough have to make a serious argument regarding exactly what should be said or done before their chastisement has any validity. So far they havenï¿½t done so. That an American President stands on the side of freedom, consent, and justice is true and in saying "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," may be a rather elegant reminder that we stand for the laws of nature. Now we can dispute some of this, pull in some Lincoln, or John Quincy Adams, and so on; but by and large itï¿½s not a bad statement, and his comments might well be called prudent rather than "calibrated." But, again, all this is rather clearly disputable. What is not disputable, as a general point applicable to all cases, is that in giving the American view that we side with freedom and justice over injustice and force, we must not give the impression that we mean to interfere in all such cases. I have never thought, for example, that the Americans should have interfered in the Hungarian Revolution (or the Hungarian-Soviet War) of 1956. American interest was not necessarily involved. And the Suez Crisis, and our interests in that, should also be noted. That the American Congress can pass tough-sounding resolutions makes sense; they canï¿½t act, they are less responsible, so they can say anything. Statesmanship is less in play.
While the above is disputable, the one thing that is not is how bad the news reports from (or on) Iran have been, especially since the "Supreme Leaderï¿½s" speech on Friday shutting down the possibility of all reform of the current regime. CNN has been on during most of the day since that speech, and although I have been doing other things I have also paid some attention: CNN knows very little and yet gives the impression that it knows more. The so-called news reports are almost entirely dependent on internet reports, bloggers, amateur video, etc. (almost always anonymous) and then commentary of one kind or another. There is never any confirmation of reports. They keep repeating that their reporters in country are not allowed to report, must stay in their hotels, and are at a great disadvantage. So what? This is a reason to stop doing your job? This is the time to use your in-country contacts, telephones, e-mail, or just sneak out of your room and see something with your own eyes, etc. Is any of this being done? As far as I can tell, Iranian women have more cojones than CNN reporters. Shame on them.
The impression that CNN gives is that the country is in the midst of a revolution, that regime change is just around the corner. I hope this is true, but I doubt it. This turmoil is a good sign, but I have yet to be persuaded that it will succeed. I wish it would. Iï¿½m always on the side of freedom.