In an interview with CNN yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticized President Obama’s approach to the turmoil in Iran, saying that he shouldn’t be concerned about being seen as “meddling” in Iran’s affairs. But on Fox News last night, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, noting that he was a McCain supporter, said that he thinks “the president has handled this well”:
KISSINGER: Well, you know, I was a McCain supporter and — but I think the president has handled this well. Anything that the United States says that puts us totally behind one of the contenders, behind Mousavi, would be a handicap for that person. And I think it’s the proper position to take that the people of Iran have to make that decision.
Of course, we have to state our fundamental convictions of freedom of speech, free elections, and I don’t see how President Obama could say less than he has, and even that is considered intolerable meddling. He has, after all, carefully stayed away from saying things that seem to support one side or the other. And I think it was the right thing to do because public support for the opposition would only be used by the — by Ahmadinejad — if I can ever learn his name properly — against Mousavi.
Kissinger isn’t the only prominent conservative to push back against McCain and the neocons. On Tuesday, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said that “for us to become heavily involved in the election at this point is to give the clergy an opportunity to have an enemy…and to use us, really, to retain their power.” Other Republican senators, including Sens. Mel Martinez (R-FL), Bob Corker (R-TN) and John Thune (R-SD), agree that Obama is handling the situation well.