Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections on Foreign Policy- What should we do about Iran?

For the past week, I have stared at video and reports from Iran with amazement. Mostly, it is because it is not coming from traditional news sources, but rather from (extra)ordinary people in the middle of it all. Currently, I am waiting in anticipation for the rally that is to take place at 4pm Tehran time. Earlier today, Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme religious leader of Iran, gave a speech calling for an end to the protests over the Presidential election that took place last Saturday. Twitter and Facebook have given a humanized face to these protesters. This is something that I have not seen from any news agency in a very long time. I admire these people for speaking out against what they consider an unfair and illegal election and hope they are successful in their goals of a new one.

I have come to view this situation with a unique perspective. I am not a layperson. I have a BA degree in International Relations specializing in Political Science. I interned at Americans for Democratic Action the summer before my senior year. I know how things work in Washington, DC. Still, I would not call myself an expert, at least, not yet. I will be starting my Master's this fall in Political Science and specializing in International Studies. Iran has been, at best, politically erratic for the past thirty years, especially when it comes with dealing with the United States. This is why as a government, the United States, must tread very carefully. It was thirty years ago when US citizens were taken hostage in Tehran. This was a direct result of the US openly supporting a corrupt regime. Now, President Obama must not appear to take sides in Iran's presidential elections. This could prove very dangerous for the United States and it's allies. North Korea is also stretching it's arms to see how far it can reach. With the incarceration of Laura Ling & Euna Lee and the threat of sending missiles toward Hawaii, North Korea is becoming increasingly unstable. Many believe it is because Kim Jong Il is dying, and his replacement, his son Kim Jong Un, must prove his mettle. With lack of better information, it seems that this theory is the most appropriate one. Still, the US should not view the situation with Iran as separate from the situation with North Korea. My instinct says that these are intertwined. If elections are not re held in Iran, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains in power, then North Korea will find a dangerous ally. At best, the situation would become explosive. At worst, well, you can use your imagination. The US government, for the time being, must continue to remain silent and not take sides in the internal affairs of Iran. It would be dangerous and very costly to do so. At the same time, US citizens should continue to help protesting Iranian citizens to spread news about what is going on there. We are all humans in this world. We should do what humans do best: help each other.

Below is a link to Nico Pitney's liveblogg on Huffington Post. Stay informed... It is critical.

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