It only took about eight days of violence in the streets in Iran to bring E. J. Dionne to the position a lot of us were in last weekend:
If the Iranian regime simply suppresses its political adversaries, it will be impossible anytime soon to resume diplomacy as if nothing had happened . . . That’s why Obama had to toughen his rhetoric. He sent a clear message on Saturday when he called on the Iranian government “to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people” and warned that it could not expect “the respect of the international community” if it failed to “respect the dignity of its own people and govern through consent, not coercion.” The president, in concert with our allies, is now telling the Iranian regime that it will pay a price for repression. The bottom line of American policy must be that no matter how committed we are to negotiation, we are also committed democrats.
I would prefer if Dionne, and or the president, spelled out what that price for repression is.
In this case, I suspect abstraction hinders deterrence.