In an interview with Radio America’s Dateline Washington Rep. Dana Rohrabacher claimed that the Iranian people are protesting because they want a democracy and that President Obama is a cream puff for not interfering in Iran. Rohrabacher believes that the US is missing an opportunity in Iran that they need to be exploiting.
Rohrabacher said, “Well I think that Mr. Obama, if he continues to have these types of attitudes, we’re going to see things get very bad, very quickly. Already the North Koreans have challenged him and realized that he’s a cream puff, if that is what he is indeed going to be as a President, and there was no absolutely no response to their blatant nuclear weapons activity, and now if the Mullahs in Iran are permitted to just roll over opposition something like Tienanmen square, we will have missed a great opportunity, but it also means that we will pay a price for having radical Mullahs, they will be emboldened in the future.”
He continued, “The last thing you want to do is make is sound like these people are isolated that these people in the streets don’t have any backing. The strongest thing the President was able to say was the world is watching. Well, what the heck does that mean? That we are going to watch we’re and do nothing. What we need to do, is make sure, and I have already done this, I have had video taken that was sent all over Iran on the Internet that was distributed by some student organizations that basically I was telling the people of Iran that we’re with them. Be courageous. Don’t let this moment go by. Let’s seize the moment so that we can live in peace between the United States and Iran, and they can live in some kind of freedom instead of being terrorized by these cuckoo Mullahs.”
Rep. Rohrabacher demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of why the Iranians are protesting. They are protesting what they view as election fraud. They aren’t protesting for a Western style democracy. He doesn’t seem to get the fact that even if Mousavi would become president, the leadership and political power players would remain the same.
With his call for action, Rohrabacher is playing into the hands of a regime that is already trying to use American meddling as an excuse to delegitimize and crack down on the protesters. It is a neo-con pipe dream that the US government could facilitate regime change in Iran by supporting the protests. US support of the protests might kill any organic domestic movement for reform in Iran.
Obama is not a cream puff for demonstrating an understanding of Iranian politics and perception. The president is following the correct course of action, because despite what Rohrabacher says the protesters aren’t looking to get rid of Mullahs.
They are protesting a rigged election, and it is possible that protests could grow into a more serious movement, but Rohrabacher’s heavy handed strategy would be the fastest way to kill it.