Saturday, July 18, 2009
Defining the conflict in IranJuan Cole summarizes the two major opposing viewpoints contending in Iran's political crisis today. There is a real democratic element of the reformers' view. But the reformist leaders are not calling for a Western-style separation of church and state or the abolition of clerical authority. I would much rather see the United States be open to dealing with the messiness of more-democratic regimes than to actively favor authoritarian governments just because they may be more convenient to deal with in the short run. But an Iranian government controlled by the reformers wouldn't necessarily be more convenient for American foreign policy in the short run. Cole writes:
The reform movement and its allies among pragmatic conservatives have developed a narrative about Khomeinist Iran. They allege that it is ultimately democratic, and that the will of the people is paramount. It is popular sovereignty that authorizes political change and greater political and cultural openness. Precisely because democracy and popular sovereignty are the key values for this movement, the alleged stealing of the June 12 presidential elections by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for his candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is intolerable. A crime has been committed, in their eyes. A social contract has been violated. The will of the people has been thwarted.Tags: iran
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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