Sunday, June 07, 2009

Obama's speech and the Iranian elections

Am I crazy, or was Obama's speech significantly intended to influence the outcome of the Iranian elections? I mean, surely they could have scheduled this speech for sometime other than eight days before the vote (June 4 and June 12).

This question has gotten some attention (i.e. CSM, but it sure hasn't been the focus.

It will be impossible to know with certainly what effect Obama's speech has on the election. Polling in Iran is hardly reliable, and there are plenty of other factors.

If I had to guess, I'd bet that Obama knows well what he's doing, and that his speech could indeed move votes form Ahmadinejad to Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Perhaps not too many analysts on any side want to say anything about the effect of Obama's speech for fear that their analysis will look silly if the other candidate wins. It's possible, say, that Obama's speech could move votes toward Mousavi, yet Mousavi could still lose (I'm pre-emptively defending myself! I make no predictions about the election outcome). Without good polling, though, who knows where the candidates stood before the speech.

After the election, though, there ought to be lots of spin from all sides! (well, not from the Obama Administration itself, which wouldn't, presumably, directly brag if it felt it had successfully influenced a foreign election).

If Mousavi wins, what will the neocons do?! They'd have to find someone new to get riled up about.


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