Something is definitely happening in the Washington-based Iran debate, because there’s a lot to agree with in this Thomas Jocelyn post at The Weekly Standard.
Something is definitely happening in the Washington-based Iran debate, because there’s a lot to agree with in this Thomas Jocelyn post at The Weekly Standard. Jocelyn provides a much-more-sophisticated-than-usual take on the proposition that the Iranian regime is just going to blame whatever the opposition does on shadowy western puppetmasters. Some observers take that line and conclude, well, if we’re going to get blamed for it anyway, we might as well do some stuff in support of the opposition. But Jocelyn’s take is that the current generation of Iranian protesters doesn’t harbor nearly the degree of anti-Americanism that its parents do. While Jocelyn doesn’t give any advice to President Obama on policy, he writes that the president “shouldn’t assume that increasing America’s rhetorical support for the protesters will make the regime’s efforts to brand them American puppets successful.” A good point to consider.
I don’t really want to argue with this so much as I’d like to suggest broadening its focus. While we don’t know what exactly success would mean for the opposition, governing Iran, to some degree, is presumably part of the picture. And there the opposition would have to govern more than just the people who already support it. There are millions of Iranians who voted for Ahmadinejad. They’re not going anywhere. Same goes with the revolutionary generation. One of the biggest mistakes that revolutionaries make is failing to expand their constituent base once in power. And there all I’d suggest is that it’s probably better not to say anything that could make the United States into an obstruction to the opposition’s attempts, once in power — and, yes, we’re a long way from there — to win over its opponents. There will already be enough internal problems for any successful opposition to contend with, as well as actual substantive disagreements with the United States and other countries, to add to the burden.
That said: Trita Parsi told me last week that the prudent course for anyone seeking solidarity with the Iranian opposition is to stay “two steps behind” the Iranians. It’s good advice. What it should mean, when followed rigorously, is that the American position changes as the Iranian opposition’s positions change. Jocelyn is happier with the administration’s later statements than its earlier ones. I take it from Trita’s op-ed the other day that he thinks it’s time for Obama to start condemning the regime as it continues its violent suppression of the opposition. We’ll hear from the president shortly, but all this should signal that the administration’s rhetoric has some room for maneuver.
Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole
John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,
MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals
BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks
MA-Sen: Brown Wins
BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie
MA-Sen: 66 to 19
BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary
MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown
BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to
MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown
BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,
MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’
Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of
Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation
Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of
Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket
Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.
No Experience Necessary
Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?