One of the ways Americans divide themselves up is according to which side they root for in foreign wars and insurrections. In the case of Iran, I think it would be wise for everyone who opposes the Democrats to line up on the side of the freedom fighters supporting Mir Hussein Moussavi. As far as I can tell, the conflict surrounding Moussavi is not going away. Apparently, more than 100 opposition members have been detained and Moussavi reportedly “remained at home Sunday with the police closely monitoring his movements.” Even worse, the Obama administration has decided to line up with Iran's most senior cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called the election a great success and “has once again approved its result.”
Obama appears to be following the typical appeasement strategy which hopelessly believes that doing nothing wins us international support when, in truth, it signals a weakness that allows folks like Moussavi to get ground up by Iranian military and government elites.
I think the smarter option is for us to start wearing green, to use our modest Twitter and social networking tools to support the Iranian opposition, and to encourage those who would put greater military pressure on Iran. It is silly to think that revolutions occur when the public reaches an emotional boiling point. The reality is that revolutions only succeed when governments fail to repress them with military force. Accordingly, the more distractions we can provide for the Iranian military, the more we can expect to see public emotions turn into a beneficial change of regime. Also, I think it is unrealistic to think that axis of evil type governments change only through internal stress.
All in all, I think this is an important time to send a strong message to the protestors in Iran that we support their efforts and will do whatever we can to help them achieve their freedom. We can encourage them by pointing out that they are on the side of justice and winning history. Iran will be a silly, weak, and backward place as long as it abuses gays, women and children with an outmoded religious/political ideology. The starting point for the U.S. is that Obama should stand up and support a second election with international monitors. As a political scientist, I know the polls cannot be that far off - even in Iran.
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