Monday, June 22, 2009

Let the Pot Boil in Iran

Iran is seething, fermenting, building to a climax, or whatever you want to call it when something's got to give. That country has all the symptoms of an allergy to autocratic rule, and those in power have no cure. Sooner or later, whether it be days, weeks, months, or years, the ayatollahs will be displaced and some kind of representative government will emerge.

Obama is getting some pokes from conservative republicans like Lindsay Graham who believe the U.S. should speak out in support of the Iranian dissidents. As usual, their instincts stink. For the moment at least, power in Iran is held by a government that is generally perceived as illegitimate because it conducted a fraudulent general election. The smart thing is to let the internal pressure build in Iran and not give its government any reason to claim U.S. provocation is creating the dissention. Israel, similarly, should pipe down about Iran.

With a very youthful and technologically savvy population, a high unemployment rate, and a history of more moderate Muslim practice, Iran is ripe for a counter revolution that will put the ayatollahs back on the sidelines. Let's just sit back and see what happens. If the current government is bent on repression, the cork will stay in the bottle awhile longer.

I like seeing the pictures of protest in Iran. This situation is providing a wonderful object lesson for those in countries populated largely by Muslims. Until the present time, many of these countries have been moving toward more religiously-dominated governments. But if Iran's religious rulers put down legitimate dissent, Muslims around the world may react by becoming increasingly reluctant to elevate religious conservatives in their own countries.

We need to leave Iran alone for awhile. No matter what happens there, the outcome is likely to be good if it is internally-generated. Obama has got it right. Let the pot boil on its own.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Iran's leaders should know that the whole world is watching, but there's nothing to be gained by inserting ourselves into someone else's argument.

Ron Davison said...

I would like a model for tipping points - times when intervention would help. As a general rule of thumb, I think that some critical mass of the population would make the request when that happens. And then it pays to listen to confirm that the help they want accords with what we want to and are able to give.