I know this is a baseball blog, and I've completely avoided any mention of politics thus far (Steve made one little promo for Obama at one point...). But this is one I have to say:
People have to understand that Iran may be the Islamic Republic, but it does not have the close ties to other Islamic nations that that official name would suggest. Iranians are not Arab (the name "Iran" comes from the same root as Aryan), and despise most Arab nations. Through Hezbollah they've gained influence in Lebanon, and they sponsor Hamas in Palestine. But are we really afraid of offending Hamas further? I think their opinion of us is pretty well set -- no matter how much Obama tries to suck up to them during his Mid-East trip (at the cost of our Israeli friends, putting Mr. Netanyahu in a difficult place). The US government supporting protesters in Iran is not going to offend Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, or most other Islamic countries -- only the extremists who despise us anyway.
It's time for Mr. Obama to show what he truly aims to promote in the world: American principles or American image. He won the presidency with a popularity contest strategy fit for a high school class election. Now it's time to be a real leader. The reform candidate in Iran may still be in favor of their nuclear program and certain other disagreeable policies, but he would still be a great improvement over (and I apologize if I spell this wrong) Ahmedinejad.
Flag-bearers of freedoms should be supported by the US throughout the world -- whether it's oppressed protesters in Iran or Aung San Suu-Kyi (again, sorry if I spelled it wrong; I'm doing this whole thing off the top of my head) in Burma (yes, I know it's called Myanmar ever since the military junta took over and imprisoned the rightfully-elected president (Aung San Suu-Kyi).
To tie this in to sports for the sake of this blog, the Iranian national soccer team saw 8 of its players -- including its captain -- wear green bracelets in support of the reform candidate during the World Cup Qualifying Match against South Korea. When the second half began, the bracelets were suddenly gone. Little doubt that Ahmedinejad -- who is a huge soccer fan -- and his regime played an active part in removing the symbols of protest.