Friday, October 02, 2009

American imposed regime change in Iran – a particularly ridiculous and odious notion

Joe Klein offers a little push-back to those advocating American imposed regime change in Iran:
This is a particularly ridiculous and odious notion--not that the Iranian regime isn't disgraceful and badly in need of a thorough, internal cleansing. It is ridiculous because the vast majority of Iranian dissidents have no intention of overturning the Islamic Republic, but want to reform it. They are joined now by a significant slice of the theocracy, which is appalled by recent events and have no desire to live in a military dictatorship quietly dominated by the Revolutionary Guards. They have made it clear that they are opposed to foreign economic sanctions, to foreign interference of any sort. Mir Hossein Mousavi came out against sanctions a few days ago, on the ground that they would hurt ordinary people more than they would hurt the regime.

What makes the call for regime change particularly tone-deaf and odious is history. Iranians--all Iranians--are extremely aware of past US meddling in their country's internal affairs. There was the CIA involvement in the 1953 coup against Mossedegh. There was also the not-so-covert US support for Saddam Hussein, including the provision of chemical precursors for the poison gas Saddam used in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. The Iranian opposition knows that any association with the Great Satan will fatally taint their movement; they know that Barack Obama's low-key strategy has made life particularly tough on those, like Ahmadinejad, who feast on American bellicosity and overreach.

Finally, there is the question of standing. The idea that the U.S. has any right to push regime change anywhere, much less in a country that has taken no direct bellicose action against us, seems a neo-colonialist vestige. Two of the three similar situations that Kagan cites--the Philippines and Nicaragua--are banana republic examples from a different era; the third, Poland, was not achieved by U.S. actions, but by a global movement (of which we were a part) led by the Catholic Church. It should be understood: we are no longer in the coup business, Thank God. The era of self-delusional US imperialism, camouflaged by high-minded freedom slogans, should be safely put in the past as well. We should, of course, promote democracy wherever we can. The era of us imposing it must end.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the vast majority of Iranian dissidents have no intention of overturning the Islamic Republic, but want to reform it."

Here we have a guy who knows NOTHING about what is going on in Iran. The vast majority of the Iranian people do NOT want reforms anymore, as the recent events have proven to everyone that reform is IMPOSSIBLE with this regime.