Obama Boxes Himself In to False Choice on Iran

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2009 11:30 AM CDT
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama talks a lot about "false choices," and he's usually just blowing smoke rhetorically, but now he's got one regarding Iran, writes Fred Barnes in the Weekly Standard. “The president thinks he’s stuck with a dilemma,” Barnes writes: “Either support the democratic forces” or “preserve his chance to negotiate” with the regime on larger issues such as nuclear weapons. “The two options aren’t mutually exclusive,” Barnes says. “The choice is indeed false.”

Obama needs to take a page from the Reagan playbook and understand that confronting authoritarian regimes unflinchingly engenders respect and is a stepping stone toward fruitful negotiation. “Obama has sought neutrality between a discredited regime and democratic protesters,” Barnes writes, helping no one but the regime. “The president should know better. In dealing with dictators, honey is rarely more effective than vinegar.”