Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Hard Questions on Iran

My colleague Paul Saunders moves beyond all of the emotion and passion on the continuing situation in Iran to ask the hard questions that people with actual responsibility for policy have to address.

For instance, how much hard information do we have? He asks:
Moreover, Iran's political system is no less complex and is probably less well understood in America than Iraq's was before March 2003. How many American experts, officials or members of Congress have been to Iran in the past 30 years? It is Iran's 66 million citizens, not tough rhetoric or token assistance, who will determine how events in the country unfold.
And he asks a question I keep asking myself when I hear people saying we need to "do something": do what, beyond what we've already said?
If the American people are not prepared to offer real help to the protesters in Tehran's streets -- up to and including military force to ensure that they win -- it is profoundly immoral to urge Iranians to action from the sidelines. Some of the American commentators and politicians now critical of the president gave the same rhetorical "support" to Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili last year, emboldening Saakashvili and contributing to a war that was disastrous for Georgians.

No one advocating support for Mousavi seems prepared to accept responsibility for the outcome. But without doing so, fighting Ahmadinejad to the last Mousavi voter would be far more cold-blooded than anything the Obama administration has done -- especially knowing what we know about the Iranian regime.

The U.S. did "nothing" when the Polish government, acting on Soviet orders, crushed Solidarity and imposed martial law in 1981. Yet the seeds were planted for the disintegration of the entire Soviet bloc within a few short years. As Paul concludes:
Mousavi's backers will prevail in Iran if they have sufficient public and political support, including inside the country's military and security services. If they don't, we can hope that they survive and draw useful lessons to try again another day. U.S. efforts to force the issue are more likely to set back Iran's political evolution than to advance it, and President Obama has done the right thing with his measured comments. If the crisis escalates, it may be necessary to do more, something the administration itself has said. Otherwise, those who truly want to see political reform in Iran would do well to stay out of the way.

56 years ago you guys destroyed democracy in Iran.

You imposed and supported the Shah.

You supported Iraq in her war aims against Iran.

You tried to bankrupt the Iranian government.

Now,you have found religions and support democracy?

This is for Israel, isn't it?
I'm not sure why having the place in chaos is not in our interest. I'm not without sympathy for people's suffering, but after all this is a people who did not seem to mind when their children were sent in waves to run across mine fields during the war with Iraq.

If the world can't have an Iran led by serious, responsible people, with some sort of genuine liberty for the populace (even if not full democracy), then chaos seems the next best thing.
Excellent post.

Anon#2, this is not a people who "did not seem to mind when their children were sent in waves to run across mine fields during the war with Iraq." Many minded a great deal. The dissident movement in iran goes back a long way. Iranians deserve democracy and stability and have more than proven it to the doubters.

Anon#1, actually, an Ahmadinejad victory was was the hardline Israeil right reportedly wanted. he makes a finer, more despisable enemy than Mousavi.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?