Iran - A Year Later


One way to see if an argument is worth its muster is to ask whether it addresses the core points of the best rebuttal. Reuel Marc Gerecht's op-ed completely fails this test today. The obvious reason that president Obama decided to keep his support for the Green Movement in Iran muted was ... to help the Green Movement in Iran. His view - shared in large part by Mousavi and Karroubi - was that too strong a US public stand would backfire. It would allow the mullahs to play the Great Satan card more effectively, and marginalize the message of the Greens. Now, it's possible to disagree with that and see Iran as more like the old Soviet Union than a Muslim society with deep - and thoroughly understandable - suspicions about US meddling. But if so, you should make that case. Frankly, I remain unpersuaded that we should treat Iran like Czechoslovakia. I have learned something from this past decade which is that history and culture matter, that rhetorical grandstanding is no substitute for diplomacy and strategy, and that neoconservative projections about the Middle East have been proven spectacularly misguided, ill-informed and counter-productive.

Let's put it this way: Gerecht's op-ed this morning does nothing to change my mind.