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June 19, 2009


It's premature to speculate about a Moussavi government's foreign policy. However, it seems likely that he will at least be open to some sort of detente with the US, since most Iranians are and since he said he was during the election campaign. The fact that he used to be a revolutionary is not a big deal: so were Michael Collins and Deng Xaiopeng. (I'd add Sir George-Etienne Cartier, but few Americans would know who I'm talking about).

The man is beyond parody, so much so that it seems silly to point out that his weird simplification of "Islamic radicalism" complete ignores the fact that Iran and Sunni radicalism are totally separate entities (and it was the latter that attacked the USA on 9/11), and loath each other.

I'd add Sir George-Etienne Cartier, but few Americans would know who I'm talking about.

Posting rules!!

I find myself amused by this gross insult.

It is of course more courteous and kind, generous, and flattering to your reader to simply include whatever information or allusions you find pertinent and useful, without explication or explanation. Those who know will be most pleased with themselves, those who don't know but know how to find out can be pleased with themselves if they choose to do the research, and the rest can watch TV.

John Quiggin perhaps misquotes Auberon Waugh, but doesn't really care.

Impertinent allusions may be even better.

In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring.

Man, I can't help thinking the regional consequences of an Iranian reformation--if that's even in the cards--would be a lot more complicated, if not disastrous. Iranians =/= Arabs, and it's my sense that a lot of Middle Eastern players have enjoyed Iran's containment.

I read Krauthammer's column trying to find some nugget in it that made sense. After the third read I gave up.

He has always had a tendency when looking at the ME to conflate all of Islam into one homgeneous mass, which of course it isn't. And for some ridiculous reason he believes that Islam in a democratic society is somehow going to be radically different than Islam in a non-democratic society.

The Iranians are not radical Islamists as a group. In fact, I don't perceive either Hamas or Hezbollah to be examples of radical Islam. Much of Saudi Arabia, that's radical Islam.

But Krauthammer is representative of much of the writing from the Right these days, Juvenile, absent of any awareness of reality and about as non-pragmatic as it can be. Unfortunately, those on the Right who have real ability to make a difference through tgheir positions, like being members of Congress, fall into the swame juvenile category.

Daniel Larison

I hope Mousavi and his supporters prevail...it's because I think that the Iranian people deserve to have a voice in their government.

Does this mean that if Ahmadinejad "prevails", there are no Iranian people who have a voice in their government, even the 30-60%+ who voted for Ahmadinejad? A pure tyranny, with no popular support, would be a diplomatic concern of the US. It could not possibly be stable.

But this is not the case. Ahmadinejad does have the support of a large percentage of the Iranian people, and the support of many of the most important institutions, including the Supreme Leader.

If Moussavi and his supporters do prevail, I can imagine the situation being comparable to a scenario in which Al Gore had prevailed in December 2000. Civil War, which I doubt even Khamenei could calm.

But with Khamenei's leadership and the cancellation of the rally. it looks over. Rafsanjani & Moussavi will now wait for another chance, or use other means. It is tragic that they, and irresponsible voices abroad, so excited the young supporters for their private purposes with the talk of illegitimacy and stolen elections that deaths were probably inevitable.

Bob, I think Pithlord simply intended to (gently) lampoon the habit many Americans have, of trying to learn all they can about countries half-way around the world, while learning nothing about their largest trading partner (the one from which they import more oil than any other country, yes, that country).

Krauthammer knows Iranians aren't Arab, but knows that his audience doesn't know that and that "Arab spring" is rhetorically powerful even if it's nonsense.

The big take-home lesson from what's going on in Iran right now is that treating the country as if everyone except the exiled pro-Democracy (and generally pro-Shah) crew were hardened radicals was absurd; that even within those that support and continue to support the revolution, there are people we should ally with. We disasterously lost sight of this in 2002 with the Axis of Evil policy (it's not really fair to term meaningless name-calling policy, but whatever).

Now Krauthammer's willing to treat the whole region as some hive mind.

I find it far easier to understand Krauthammer's words (and those of the others ranting about how "weak" our government has been in this situation) by remembering one little thing. For them, the demonstrators, and their fate and the fate of their nation, are totally irrelevant -- not even real even. All that matters is domestic American political positioning. Anything happening beyond our shores is relevant only to the extent that it impacts the one and only thing that matters.

Krauthammer was waxing somewhat too enthusiastic. This doesn't make him "Crazy".

Diagnosis as insult isn't a civil or meaningful kind of politics.

You don't get it. Charles Krauthammer doesn't see our invasion of Iraq as a failure. Sure, establishing democracy there was slower and messier than he originally anticipated, but so far as he is concerned, we have now succeeded. What this means is that he still believes in Iraq as a model of freedom and democracy others will emulate, and a positive example for us to repeat in the future. Seriously.

"we have now succeeded (in Iraq)"

It is a not inconsiderable feat to have 'succeeded' in destroying Iraq as a meaningful adversary for Israel, which is what that statement implies.

That was one of the three purposive pillars of the invasion. The other two were: to provide a land-base in the region from which to 'exercise USer influence", and to seize power over the distribution of Iraqi sweet crude.

I still anticipate the eventual dissolution of Iraq into three, perpetually feuding Bantu-stans: one Sunni, one Shi'a, and one Kurd. I persist in the belief that that is/was one of the primary objectives.

Krauthammer's wrong in that the Lebanon invasion in 2006 and the Gaza blockade just hurt things.

Egypt and the Saudi Arabian govenrment aren't for democracy but at least they don't proclaim they're going to wipe Israel from the map or want nukes. Although they probably will after Iran gets them.

But yes democracy and freedom are happening in the Middle East and you're being ideological if you think having a friendly Shia government next door in Iraq didn't help the climate in Iran.

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