The "green revolution" is not exactly like the orange one or the velvet one. The green refers to Islam, and a theo-democracy is not a real democracy. But even neocons have to agree with Roger Cohen that
the frank ferocity of politics here in recent weeks would be unthinkable among U.S. allies from Cairo to Riyadh, a fact no less true for being discomfiting. The problem with Iran caricatures, like Benjamin Netanyahu’s absurd recent description of the regime as a “messianic, apocalyptic cult,” is that reality not least this campaign’s defies them.
How is what is happening in Iran not exactly what the Bush administration wanted to happen in Arab regimes? New technology, massive over-reach by the Ahmadinejad forces, emerging women's voices: these have already precipitated a fracturing of the regime. And what achieved this? In a strange way, the messianic radicalism of Bush sustained the messianic radicalism of Ahmadinejad. Obama's election, as many of us hoped, broke that cycle and allowed for Iran's opposition to re-emerge without looking like a pawn of the US.
The prescient Cohen again:
Why the sudden turbulence? Here we come to the third critical characteristic of this campaign. Radicalism in the Bush White House bred radicalism in Iran, making life easy for Ahmadinejad.
President Obama’s outreach, by contrast, has unsettled the regime. With Lebanon denying an electoral victory to Hezbollah, the oil-driven Iranian economy in a slump, and America seeking reconciliation with Muslims, the world now looks a little different. Moussavi’s attacks on the “exhibitionism, extremism and superficiality” of Ahmadinejad’s foreign policy resonate.
Rafsanjani believes in a China option for Iran: a historic rapprochement with the United States that will at the same time preserve a modified regime. I also think that’s possible and desirable and that Khamenei’s margin for resisting it has just narrowed. So, too, has the margin for the foolishness of anti-Iran hawks.
(Photo: Supporters of presidential candidate for Iran, Mir Hossein Mousavi, gather during a campaign rally at Haydarniya Stadium on June 9, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. By Majid/Getty Images.)
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.