The president of the United States should be the leader of the free world.
In the past week, we have discovered he is not.
That mantle has been firmly grasped by Gordon Brown, the prime minister of Britain.
As it became clear to any fair-minded observer that the mullahs had stolen the June 12 Iranian election to retain the presidency for the radical Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new Obama administration offered very shallow support for democracy.
In President Obama's first statement on the election last week, he simply said that he was “deeply troubled” about the post-election violence, offered no support for democracy, and failed to condemn the regime’s use of violence.
Obama made clear it was up to Iranians to determine their own future.
Later, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told the media: "This is a debate inside of Iran for Iranians."
The message was clear from the end of June 12, when balloting ended, that the U.S. government planned to offer no opinion as Ahmadinejad, with the backing of the supreme ayatollah, would prevent former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi from claiming Iran’s highest elected office.
On Friday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave his official blessing to Ahmadinejad and warned of stern actions against protesters.
As the U.S. sat wringing its hands, Obama’s counterpart in London was blunt and clear about the situation in Iran.
"We are with others, including the whole of the European Union unanimously today, in condemning the use of violence, in condemning media suppression," Brown said in Brussels after an EU summit.
"It is for Iran now to show the world that the elections have been fair . . . that the repression and the brutality that we have seen in these last few days is not something that is going to be repeated."
"We want Iran to be part of the international community and not to be isolated. But it is for Iran to prove . . . that they can respect these basic rights," he said.
Compare those statements with the tepid Obama White House, claiming it doesn't want to appear to be “meddling” in Iran’s internal affairs.
The fact is that Khamenei already is accusing America of meddling.
And when thousands of fanatics came to hear Khamenei condemn the protests, they chanted: “Death to America, death to England and death to Israel!”
The inclusion of England in the hate chant, which included only the United States and Israel until last week, is telling.
During his rant, Ayatollah Khamenei called Britain "the most treacherous" enemy of Iran.
The Iranians have set their sights on Britain because they know they have a cream puff in the White House. Britain poses problems because it can push for EU trade sanctions against Iran.
Brown didn’t roll over when the ayatollah attacked. He hit back. On Friday, Brown’s Foreign Office summoned the Iranian ambassador and sharply critiqued Iranian attacks on Britain and the election process.
After demonstrating weakness, an embarrassed Obama administration slowly and reluctantly has ramped up its criticism of the tyrannical regime in Iran.
Still, Sen. John McCain slammed Obama for his weak response.
McCain said: "He should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election and that the Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.”
The Obama administration’s actions are odd and raise many questions.
We face a madman, Ahmadinejad, at the helm of a maniacal regime that manages a sham democracy. This same regime has sworn itself to acquire nuclear weapons and use them against Israel.
Given the opportunity to simply support democracy, Obama decided to take a pass.
The unanswered question is why Barack Obama has been determined to coddle this crazed regime in Tehran.
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