From the West Wing episode “Swiss Diplomacy.” Continuing blogosphere talk on Iran:
Website that are having continuious coverage:
For more than a decade, we’ve been hearing about the real Iran—the one whose youth is Westernized, desirous of connection with the United States, and tired of living in a theocracy. It’s too soon to know whether the protests today in Iran represent the fruition of the ideas about popular sentiment and the possibility of an uprising. But it is clear that this is a time of testing for the idea that the mullahcracy can be shaken to its foundations by an aggrieved populace. If it can’t, then the regime will prove itself stronger than some of its most heated critics say it is, and the world will have to adjust accordingly. If this is Tienanmen II, and the regime crushes it, there will be no easy approach to regime change. And there will be no pretending any longer that Iran’s regime isn’t a unified, hardline, irridentist, and enormously dangerous one.
Micheal Leeden at The Corner:
John says, inter alia, “this is a time of testing for the idea that the mullahcracy can be shaken to its foundations by an aggrieved populace. If it can’t, then the regime will prove itself stronger than some of its most heated critics say it is, and the world will have to adjust accordingly.”
I suppose this means that we should abandon the Iranian dissidents—who seem to constitute a majority of the “electorate”—if the current wave of demonstrations fails to overthrow the mullahs. I don’t think much of that as a policy. John ought to try that general theory out on, say, Bukovsky and Sharansky. He’d get some strong words on the subject of why America should always support freedom-fighting dissidents. To be sure, there were gaggles of deep thinkers back in the eighties, and long before, who lectured some of the Kremlin’s “most heated critics” on the folly of supporting Soviet dissidents.
Without question, we should support dissidents in Iran. That’s not the issue here. The issue here is whether a popular uprising can up-end the regime in Iran or shake it to its foundations, which is what Michael has claimed. And the model of regime change Michael has suggested, emanating from disaffected Westernized youth, bears no relation whatever to the intellectual and philosophical revolt engaged in by the Soviet dissidents—and no relation to the method by which the Soviet Union fell when it fell.
Stephen Hayes in The Weekly Standard:
Barack Obama should give another speech. Soon, maybe tomorrow. He should address this one to the people of Iran, whose eagerness for a political voice – a real political voice – is obvious in the photographs and reports from the streets of Tehran in the last 24 hours.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supposedly decisive victory over Mir Hussein Moussavi is almost certainly fraudulent. Most reports over the final week of the campaign suggested that either Moussavi would win outright, by earning more than 50 percent of the votes cast, or that he and Ahmadinejad would go head-to-head in a second election next week. Instead, Iran’s Interior Ministry claims that Ahmadinejad won some 63 percent of the vote to Moussavi’s 34 percent. Unlikely.
In my previous post, I wondered whether the Obama administration would need to make a stronger statement about Iranian electoral fraud or consider other measures for dealing with the regime. The strongly anti-Ahmedinejad Hadi Ghaemi, New York-based spokesman for the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, explains why that’s a mistake.
Robert Gibbs’ White House statement may not fully capture the depth of the crime committed against the Iranian people. “But I think it’s wise for the U.S. government to keep its distance,” Ghaemi says. The White House can and should “show concern for human life and protesters’ safety and promote tolerance and dialogue.” But to get any further involved, even rhetorically, would “instigate the cry that the reformers are somehow driven and directed by the U.S., whether under Bush or under Obama, and there’s no reason to give that unfounded allegation” any chance to spread.
A coup that originated with the military rather than the clerical or lay political leaders resolves what I saw the the main flaw with Juan Cole’s reconstruction.
It also dovetails well with Interior Ministry employees’ warnings that Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, who is influential in the military, issued a fatwa authorizing manipulation of the elections.
A coup led by the military is also easier to explain than one ordered by Ayatollah Khamene’i. I had been thinking about the implications of a Mousavi victory, and concluded that, given the continuing conservative dominance of Parliament, the most important changes for Iranians would be a different economic policy and the replacement of someone hostile to the old revolutionary establishment embodied by the likes of Rafsanjani with someone who was actually a part of it.
Laura Rozen in Foreign Policy
UPDATE: Bill Kristol again
Peter Wehner at The Corner on Kristol, adding his thoughts
Lots of posts at The League:
UPDATE #2: No, I can’t possibly cover all the posts on this. But here’s a handful more:
UPDATE #3: James Poulos
UPDATE #4: Bloggingheads with Reza Aslan and Eli Lake