What To Do With Iran?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in The World

I like Bull Moose’s idea…regime change the right way:

Now is the time to move for tough sanctions on Iran. Unfortunately, there is little hope that China or Russia will support cracking down on the mullahs. But, there are other non military tools to get tough with Teheran.

Why don’t Democrats publicly and aggressively call for non-military support for the Iranian opposition and peaceful regime change? Democrats could even find conservative allies in providing aid to Iranian workers and civil rights activists, as we did during the cold war. Can’t Democrats support the democratic opposition to jihadist tyranny?

I do think that the Dems hesitancy to really come out strong against Iran will ultimately hurt them in the fall and beyond. Bull Moose presents one idea here, and it’s a smart one…for 2002. See, if we had used our post-9/11 good will and played it smart, we may have been able to convince the Iranian people to promote democracy and change their system. Hell, we may have convinced the entire Middle East. But we didn’t do that. Instead we wanted to force democracy onto Iraq, and subsequently wasted one of the only opportunities we’ll ever have to convince Muslims that their religion has been hijacked by mad men.

Still, should the Dems come out strong against Iran and call for peaceful, democratic, legal overthrow? Sure. What could it hurt?


This entry was posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2006 and is filed under The World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

18 Responses to “What To Do With Iran?”

  1. Walrus Says:

    Non-military support generally means cash. Western cash – and most particularly American cash – would be the kiss of death. Even public statements of support could do as much harm as good. Castigate the Iranian leadership all you like, but don’t support the dissidents, at least in any direct ways.

  2. Mikkel Says:

    Yes, the Iranian democrats are nearly as nationalistically proud and wary of the West as the mullahs. Even the reformers want the Bomb so they become a major player in world politics. Any overt support will be rejected by most Iranians since our intervention regarding the Shah is still fresh in their minds. I think the best way to give support is to state a commitment to support all democracies — even if it’s not in our geopolitical interests — as long as they are acting responsibly.

  3. Mikkel Says:

    I should add that I do support Bull Moose’s idea to encourage workers and civil rights activists, but expect them to be critical of the US and for them to create an identity we might not like. Of course this is far better than the current regime and eventually I think they would become rather pro-West (Iran is pretty cosmopolitan and educated) so as long as we showed them respect then our long term goals would be met. Unfortunately our foreign policy has always focused on the short term.

  4. Justin Gardner Says:

    Unfortunately our foreign policy has always focused on the short term.

    Agreed. And agreed on your other points too. It’s ultimately tragic, but that’s the hand we’re being dealt. So what to do?

  5. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Wishful thinking that by simply avoiding conflict in Iraq we would be able to “convince Muslims that their religion has been hijacked by mad men.” As if the terrorism witnessed throughout Iraq doesn’t give them extra convincing, or that John Kerry saying the exact same thing Bush says during a stump speech would have any added effect in the Muslim world because he has “credibility.”

    Its also wishful thinking that by simply supporting Iranian opposition we would get peaceful regime change in Iran. The Shia theocracy is not the old withered soviet bloc of the 1980′s. There are millions of Basiji martyrdom-seeking volunteers in Iran, perhaps 12-15% of the population, who would rather kill the other 85% than to see a more western style government emerge there. The mullocracy is not stupid, they have tightened up and will not be deposed by anything less than outright civil war.

  6. BenG Says:

    Mr. Gardner
    Good posts about both India and Iran, and I would like to add they are related;as examples of the failure of our politicians to do what we need done! The administration defies reason. Just think, this guy ran on the promise of being a uniter, a concensus builder who will end years of confrontation and parallesis in congress. Wow,is there amything else they’ve lived up to? Hmm, they did try so hard to end flag burning, same sex marriage, stem cell research, etc. But really, it’s been all about Iraq, hasn’t it? Now three plus years and one re-election after that wrong turn in the road and they simply continue that coordinated sales pitch to the American voters months before the elections. And once again do they try to unite, offer explanation and plans that build consensus? No. They mirror the arguments made by the Iranian president; far reaching historical references to past wars to rationalize why we created a situation in Iraq that we couldn’t ever percieve 3 yrs ago as our worst nightmare! No taking responsibility, just blaming people like me for aiding the terrorists for simply asking WHY. So does anyone actually know what Islamic Fascism is?

  7. Republican Mike Says:

    I agree with Jimmy. The reality is very different from the wish. The wish is that the Iranian people are free to choose and overthrow as they see fit. The reality is that they live in an oppressive government that will kill/behead/jail anyone they see fit.

    Curious question: Did the people of Iraq not want freedom? The Evil U.S. has removed a killer dictator and the Iraqi people now live in a free society. What’s the problem?

    I hope the Democrats pursue your strategy. Makes the November elections a lot lees in doubt.

  8. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    BenG’s definition of uniter: A republican who does what the democrats want. I hate to break it to you Ben, but the country is simply divided. Our elected representatives reflect that. I don’t want to see a withdrawal of troops from Iraq if it means leaving a vacuum for a terror-state to step in. If that makes me a “divider” then so be it.

    …we created a situation in Iraq that we couldn’t ever percieve 3 yrs ago

    If the major criticisms of the Iraq campaign are:
    1) Saddam had no links to terrorism (though this is demonstatively false, assume this is true for the sake of BenG’s argument)
    2) There were not enough troops in Iraq and we didnt plan to occupy the country for this amount of time,

    Ask yourself why terrorists would flood into the country of their own free will and attack an army which surgically removed a rival regime and planned on leaving 30 days later.

    I’m sick of this “we created the situation in Iraq” crap. We tried to do what both the American and Iraqi peoples wanted to do, remove Saddam’s regime as swiftly as possible and get the hell out of there. It was the terrorists that decided to make this a holy war, they are responsible and we now are in crisis-management mode and have to decide how we want to go about continuing the fight. If you criticize Bush because he should have expected this outcome, fine. But you could at least recognize what we are up against instead of denying that Islamic fascism exists.

  9. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    If you want to know what Islamic fascism is, BenG, then I suggest you go to the library and read chapter 9 of the Koran. Imagine all the commandments therein were spoken to you from God Himself, vocally, in your own language. Also, click on my name for an simple illustration of “Islamic fascism”.

  10. Kevin Says:

    Jimmy, Your post above explaining how this isn’t our fault is complete bullshit. We took a managably bad situation in Iraq and turned it into a quagmire and if Bush had the brains to realize things weren’t working after the first few months and made the necessary changes. Many of us wouldn’t be here bitching about him so much.

    Republican Mike, if other Republicans are in as much denial as you are, your party will be absolutely crushed in November. I’m not a Democrat , I’m just someone who’s watched your party wield all the power in government for 6 years and accomplish nothing.

  11. Kevin Says:

    I got sidetracked by the Iraq comments and forgot this was about Iran. Any move by us to support Iranian Dissidents would deligitimize those disidents. They hate us a lot worse than they hate each other. I’m not exactly a scholar on Iranian demographics but am I correct in thinking that the Mullahs draw most of their support from the over 45 crowd. If that’s the case, patience and containing their proxies (Hez., Syria) would seem like the best policy to me. That and doing something to bring down the global price of oil.

  12. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Kevin:

    if Bush had the brains to realize things weren’t working after the first few months and made the necessary changes…

    I essentially agree with you; above I said: If you criticize Bush because he should have expected this outcome, fine. Why do you accuse me of bullshit? Just because Bush was short-sighted doesn’t abrogate moral responsibility away from the terrorists who massacre people on a daily basis in Iraq.

  13. Kevin Says:

    Jimmy my issue with your arguement is this. Terrorists existed in the Middle East before we went into Iraq, both inside and outside of Iraq. They were a pre-existing condition. To do what we did in Iraq and not realize that this would present an obvious opportunity to those terrorists is creating this problem. We walked into the gun powder room and decided to make sparks.

    I don’t abrogate moral responsibility away from the terrorists. They were immoral scum before we went to Iraq, they continue to be immoral scum. Nothing would please me more than to find out that we’ve wiped them out of Iraq, beaten them in Lebannon and captured/killed Bin Laden. But the truth in Iraq is, they haven’t changed their tactics or aims, they simply took advantage of the new arena we provided them. In other words, it’s not Bush’s fault that terrorists exist and are being bastards all over the world. It is his fault that Iraq is now their playground.

  14. Republican Mike Says:

    So much for your “peaceful, democratic, legal overthrow?” solutions. If only these dictators would just be nice. Give me a break.

    Iran’s Ahmadinejad Calls for Purge of Liberal Teachers
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,212122,00.html

  15. Justin Gardner Says:

    Mike,

    Yes, I think it’s disgusting. But there are far more oppressive regimes that we actually support.

    But to the point of invasion…did we invade the Soviet Union or did we play a mutual game of determent? “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Seems like Reagan knew how to fight the long war…so why is this long war any different?

    I’m of the opinion that we’re stoking the fires of radical Islam by liberating countries but killing thousands upon thousands of innocents. We should target these fringe Islamist groups with surgical force, but we should target entire countries with the power of our ideas. That’s what wins these long wars, not brute force.

  16. sleipner Says:

    Funny how conservatives always seem to discuss terrorists as if they were this unified block of a certain definitive number of Islamic fundamentalists, who, if we can find and kill them all (or just torture them in a secret prison somewhere) would be gone forever.

    The truth is far far different than that. There are many times MORE people in the world today who are willing to commit those atrocities we call “terrorist activities,” and that is due to our failed, nay, suicidal policies in Iraq and the incredibly naive and criminally negligent pigheadedness of this president and his yes-men.

    The reason why fundamentalism and terrorism is on the rise, is because they have SEEN what Americans are like (or at least the Americans who are currently screwing up the Middle East) and they want no part of this “democracy” thing we keep trying to ram down their throats.

    What we really need to do is back off and lead by example. Help out, but don’t coerce. No one wants to have some self-important jerk telling them Mommy knows best, so just do it my way or I’ll spank you, especially if it’s a stranger with nothing in common with you. Even more so if that stranger is someone who broke into your house, stole all your valuables, beat up your family, raped your wife and daughters, and is telling you this with electrodes attached to your nuts.

  17. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Funny how conservatives always seem to discuss terrorists as if they were this unified block of a certain definitive number of Islamic fundamentalists, who, if we can find and kill them all (..some bullshit…) would be gone forever.

    Really? I thought it was liberals who think, as John Kerry so eloquently put it during the 2004 debates, “…the real war on terror is the fight to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.” As if terrorism would have become a thing of the past if the “Al-queda” organization was killed at Tora-Bora. Have you missed all of Bush’s rhetoric about a world-wide fascist movement recently? Where have you been?

    There are many times MORE people in the world today who are willing to commit those atrocities we call “terrorist activities,â€Â? and that is due to our failed, nay, suicidal policies in Iraq…

    Great. Another “root causes” guy. If Bushitler and the neocons hadn’t invaded Iraq, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened right? Nice scare-quotes around “terrorist activities.” Why do you even bother to consider them atrocities; why not call them “acts of rebellion by the revolutionary minutemen” or something.

    they want no part of this “democracy� thing we keep trying to ram down their throats.

    Too bad 94% of the Iraqi people disagree with you.

    No one wants to have some self-important jerk telling them Mommy knows best, so just do it my way or I’ll spank you, especially if it’s a stranger with nothing in common with you.

    Its interesting how you seem to have a revulsion to this “democracy thing” and you look upon the poor, brown people of the world as petulant children who need more progressive parents to lead them from over here in our ivory tower. You are elitist scum.

  18. sleipner Says:

    I have no idea how you read from my post that I want US to be their parents – I specifically said I want us to STOP acting like parents slapping down a child and leave them be to make their own decisions about their countries and their lives.

    Though anyone with half a brain and a calendar wouldn’t blame 9/11 on the invasion of Iraq, also no one with half a brain should have blamed 9/11 on Saddam. I do blame the president for the current fiasco in the ME, as he had decided to invade Iraq long before 9/11 ever occurred, and his cowboy diplomacy and failed policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel have literally blown up the powder keg that everyone knew the ME to be. About the only correct decision he made was to invade Afghanistan, and that has been so screwed up by him and our Iraqi quagmire that we have effectively lost the war there as well.

    I have nothing against democracy, in fact I wish we would get back to it in America one of these decades. However, I believe that if the countries in the ME want democracy, great, more power to them. If not, that is THEIR DECISION TO MAKE!!!!!

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