May 04, 2006

Enough Rope

Victor Davis Hanson on dealing with Ahmadinejad:

The good news is that Iran, like all ossified societies in the current era of globalized communications, is unstable. The eighth-century theocrats in charge there could find their own citizens questioning whether a bomb is worth international ostracism and the threat of military strikes.
That's the big question, isn't it?

I remember interviewing Michael Ledeen on the NARN a while ago. His position is that Iranian society has changed much since 1979; while the cosmopolitans in Teheran benefitted greatly from the Shah's (forced) westernization and favored liberal, western democracy in the wake of the Shah, the peasantry in greater Iran had not - and they were sympathetic to the fundamentalist mullahs. This, says Ledeen, has changed.

I certainly hope so. It was a broad swathe of Iranian society that put Khomeini in power, it'll take a similarly broad swathe to remove his heirs (and puppets, counting Ahmadinejad).

At the same time, what's happening now in Iraq must be of great concern to the Iranian leadership. Jawad al-Maliki, the new Iraqi prime minister, for example, is a nationalist. He, like other Iraqi Shiites, has shown he is not willing to be an Iranian pawn. As Ahmadinejad promotes death, how will Iranians react to images from Iraq of life-affirming free citizens in a new democracy?

In other words, will Iraq's new liberality prove more destabilizing to Iran than Ahmadinejad's agents can to Iraq? As Iraq's 300,000-strong army emerges as a well-trained and equipped force, one suspects the answer is yes.

One must hope.

As well as one must hope that:

  • ...our country can resist the temptation to cut and run, and
  • ...people can start to see that as regards putting pressure on terror-supporting dictatorships like Iran, Syria and Saudia Arabia, the "neocon" agenda of building democracy can be seen as a success (if not at the moment an easy one).
Notice: George Bush has been relatively silent during the crisis; Ahmadinejad is the one losing his composure on center stage. Nearly daily he shouts to the cameras about wiping Israel off the map or unleashing his Islamic terrorists throughout the globe.

In the brief present window between Iran's enrichment and its final step to weapons-grade production, we must keep calm and give Ahmadinejad even more rope to hang himself. As his present hysteria grows, exasperated Europeans or jittery neighbors in the region may even prod the U.S. to take action - indeed, to be a little more unilateral and preemptive in letting the Iranians know that their acquisition of a nuclear weapon will never happen.

For now, our best peaceful weapon in the little time that we have left is, oddly, our own quiet and hope that a democratizing Iraq stabilizes, and in turn destabilizes undemocratic Iran. So let the loud Ahmadinejad continue to make our case why such a psychopath cannot be allowed to become nuclear. Meanwhile, give confident multilateral internationalists their long-awaited chance at diplomacy, and prepare for the worst.

My big question: given that one of our most successful weapons in toppling the Communists in eastern Europe in the eighties was the covert support sent to labor unions in the East (the unlikely-sounding alliance between Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II with Layne Kirkland of the AFL-CIO, one of the great unsung collaborations of the era, in supporting the Solidarnosc union movement in Poland), why is the US not funnelling money and support to Iranian trade unions - they being among the people most dismally affected by the Mullahcracy, and the ones (besides those in power) with the most to lose from Ahmadinejad's cataclysmic vision?

Where can a guy go to help an Iranian union?

Posted by Mitch at May 4, 2006 12:14 PM | TrackBack

Mitch - very good question at the end.

"My big question: . . . why is the US not funnelling money and support to Iranian trade unions"

Probably because of intense idealogical opposition to the labor movement by the Bush administration.

For example, the CPA in Iraq under Bremmer kept in place Saddam's law restricting unions and recently took away their right to independent existence.


The local Steelworkers union brought in two Iraqi union members last year to talk about it.

As for Iran -

Here is your best place to start:

Here is their most recent report on Iran:

Looks like the Day of Action was a few months ago.

In Solidarity

Posted by: RickDFL at May 4, 2006 01:33 PM

Rick, Your own link says the Iraq union members who visited the US were demanding the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. I can't imagine why the Bush administration might not be supportive of them.

As for your comment, "Probably because of intense idealogical opposition to the labor movement by the Bush administration." Yes, Reagan -- supporter of Solidarity -- was very pro union.

Posted by: chriss at May 4, 2006 02:30 PM

Mitch quoted:

"Notice: George Bush has been relatively silent during the crisis; Ahmadinejad is the one losing his composure on center stage."

Composure and deer-caught-in-the-headlights aren't the same thing, Chachi. It's the look he gets when something bad happens and "My Pet Goat" isn't right at hand.

Posted by: angryclown at May 4, 2006 03:15 PM

Ahmadinejad did not shout that Israel should be wiped from the map. He was quoting the Ayatollah Khomeni who once said that someday the regime controlling Israel and Palestine will be gone and that the people of Iran should be patient.

Posted by: Teena at May 5, 2006 07:04 AM

Gee Teena, do you think quoting the Ayatollah Khomeni might be an endorsement of his ideas?
But since you went and made the incredibly stupid, Doug-like statement "Ahmadinejad did not shout that Israel should be wiped from the map."

Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's hard-line president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state, state-run media reported Wednesday.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denounced attempts to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.

"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad told students Wednesday during a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism."

"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury, any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said.

Posted by: Kermit at May 5, 2006 07:55 AM

Clown, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy.

Posted by: Bozo at May 5, 2006 02:13 PM
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