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May 21, 2009

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In the Q&A portion of Clinton's Landon Lecture, he discussed how the current President of Iran was chosen.

Clinton explained the two tier nature of the government, where the religious heads can block moderates, and noted the current President appeared to be a rational choice given the restraints of the system.

There is always the "that player sucks ... oh he's on our team now ... he's great" technique, of course.

http://ome.ksu.edu/lectures/landon/past.html

What is a "regime" anyway, and how is it different from "leader" or "country"? Iran and Venezuela have "regimes", but Israel doesn't. I think "regime", as I've heard it used, is as much a euphamism for "this country hated Bush" (not "this country is anti-American" -- the two are profoundly different) as "extreme".

Well, I think one can separate leader/regime from country fairly easily.

It's the leader vs. regime distinction that is a bit trickier. But I suppose it has to do with the consolidation of power.

For example, a monarchy has a leader, but a parliamentary democracy with many career civil servants has a regime.

But the terms are often used interchangably (not improperly so necessarily), and you're right that there may some connotations involved.

That leaves out about all constitutional monarchies of the Scandinavian or British style or even the (purely formal) Japanese theocracy and there are clearly catholic regimes while the church itself is an absolute monarchy (with the supreme leader being elected somewhat democratically).
I think 'regime' originally was a neutral word (it's even used as a purely technical term in technical chemistry btw) but now has become a synonym of 'illegitimate and/or authoritarian rule'.
There is also the now rather cliched saying about one person's terrorist being the other's freedom fighter (which brings us back to the undoubtedly terrorist founders of Israel that became respected men of state).

""which brings us back to the undoubtedly terrorist founders of Israel that became respected men of state"

David Ben-Gurion was a terrorist?

I assume you're referring to Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, but they were the enemies of the founders of Israel, and were militarily put down by the to-be-government. As political figures after the founding of Israel, they remained on the fringist extremes for eight governments in a row. It took them thirty years to get elected to office.

I suppose this will now open up yet another tedious Israel: Threat Or Menace? thread, so thanks for that.

Cue the comparison to the Nazis in 5, 4, 3, 2....

'What is a "regime" anyway, and how is it different from "leader" or "country"?'

Its a noun-verb pairing: we kill leaders, overthrow regimes, and invade and occupy countries. SATSQ, if you've been paying attention for the last 50 years.

"Oh, no, wait . . . that’s not Chavez, that’s staunch American ally and brilliant democratic leader Alvaro Uribe in Colombia."

Or, closer to home, Michael Bloomberg.

I think of a "regime" as something like the constitutional framework for a national government. A change of governing party within such a framework is not a regime change; a radical break with that framework and its replacement with a new one is a regime change. 1688 was a regime change in England; 1710 was not.

"Regime" is to "Country" as "Compound" is to "Home".

Brett,

I think more accurate would be: as "Compound" is to "Estate".

Saudi Arabia is moderate? Using what criteria exactly?

Using the only criterion that matters : the business interests of its ruling class are intertwined with the business interests of the Bush family.

What I intended to say is that 'terrorist today' does not preclude the same person to become (sometimes even righfully) a respected statesman at a later time (Mandela even switched fron non-violent to violent and back). I even think that Arafat (despite being personally corrupt) could have made the final turn if he had been allowed to.
The Nazis stayed terrorists, just shifted the violence from the state to the (non-state) left after the failed 1923 putsch for tactical reasons. After 1933 they had no need to blow up enemies* since they could use more 'subtle' means.

*In Germany and before about 1938

What is a "regime" anyway, and how is it different from "leader" or "country"? Iran and Venezuela have "regimes", but Israel doesn't. I think "regime", as I've heard it used, is as much a euphamism for "this country hated Bush" (not "this country is anti-American" -- the two are profoundly different) as "extreme".

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