Question: What do these two stories have in common?
Obama's approach to Iran, including his assertion that the unrest there represents a debate among Iranians unrelated to the United States, is an acknowledgment that a U.S. president's words have a limited ability to alter foreign events in real time and could do more harm than good. But privately Obama advisers are crediting his Cairo speech for inspiring the protesters, especially the young ones, who are now posing the most direct challenge to the republic's Islamic authority in its 30-year history.
[Via The Campaign Spot]
WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.
President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Answer: Both demonstrate that the administration's only real focus on any issue is its effect on domestic policy.
The President has scheduled a press conference for today: and while there are pleas from inside Iran itself for more support (H/T Gateway Pundit) the preliminary indications that he'll avoid doing that, on the ostensible grounds that it might help a regime that is right now shooting down protesters in the streets*.
That is, more than having them over for Fourth of July celebrations.
Truth be told, this press conference is for domestic purposes: the White House is watching its control slip over the news cycle, and this will give control back to it for the day, or at least the hour. I wouldn't begrudge it if I thought that it'd do anything useful with said control; or even if the President would just revert back to his campaign-era habit of dealing with foreign policy questions by waiting 72 hours and then repeating everything that John McCain said. At least then we'd see something done, if for the wrong reasons.
All that being said, the Iranian situation is going to keep escalating. A shame that we're apparently not going to influence it in any significant way, but then this administration is singularly uninterested in anything that happens after Election Day, 2012 anyway.
*And then charging their families a bullet fee.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.