Day By Day

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Illusion of Neutrality

So Obama refrained from taking a strong stand on Iran lest he be accused of "meddling" in the affairs of the Islamic Republic. And, within a few hours after his speech Iranian sources, including the "Supreme Leader", began to level charges that the United States was instigating the uprising. Hopefully, our fine young President learned a lesson from this. Nations do not nurse grudges -- they pursue interests, and if outrage serves those interests it will be expressed. If expressions of outrage would run counter to those interests even the most offensive and provocative statements will pass unnoticed. Regimes are situationally sensitive.

There is, of course, a deeper lesson to be learned here. Neutrality is not an option for a great power. The decision of an American President to act has consequences, but so does the decision not to act. And it is foolish to suggest that the United States has no interest in the outcome of the current troubles. Whatever the outcome or our role in it, the affairs of Iran and all nations dealing with Iran will be affected in unpredictable ways. As Mark Steyn puts it, if you are a nation with global interests "you always have a dog in the fight, whether you know it or not."

Read Steyn's piece here.