Friday, September 24, 2004

Pushing Regime Change in Iran

Michael Ledeen, Stephen Green, and The Key Monk have all weighed in on regime change in Iran. They make good and valid points. I guess my question to them is, what does more constructive engagement look like?
All three note that Bush should not engage in military operations. All three note that Bush has made public calls for freedom and democracy. I ask what else he can do. Given Carter's abandonment of Iran to the mullahcracy and Bush Sr.'s inaction after a Shiite coup attempt in neighboring Iraq in '91, what credibility do we bring to encouraging the opposition?

Note Green's comment:
""Beyond the government itself . . . there's little wrong with Iran in need of fixing. Prior to the Khomeini Revolution, Iran was a mostly-functional member of the Semi-Decent Nations of the World. It can be again."

No offense, but this sounds like everyone's description of Iraq, pre-Saddam. It's great that Iran was Semi-Decent 25 years ago. Why won't they face the same problems as Iraq? A smaller scale perhaps, since they haven't been on the Oil for Palaces program, but still a concern. Wouldn't the counter-insurgency be worse in Iran, as the mullahs have more pull than Saddam did?
The idea of Nuclear Imams is scary, but I fail to see what the practical 'soft power' engagement format looks like.