Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Half a Story

And if you had five seconds to spare, I'd tell you the story of Iran.

Or at least the other half of a story Joan Goldberg tells. It's the one about how we have to deal with Iran before they get the bomb (I'm sure you've all heard this one before). Goldberg talks about three potential scenarios that might play out in Iran.
Conventional wisdom holds that there are really only two options for dealing with Iran: military strikes (by us or Israel) or the usual bundle of conferences, ineffective sanctions and windy UN speeches that lead to nothing. Oh, and Iran could be barred from the World Cup soccer tournament. By all means, let's pin our hopes on that.

But there is a third option that, alas, has become less and less likely in recent years: regime change from within. Pro-democracy - or at least anti-mullah - sentiment has been building in Iran for over a decade. In recent years there have been huge protests against the regime. Soccer stadiums full of Iranians have chanted "USA! USA!" In 2004, polls of various sorts indicated that anti-regime attitudes were held by up to nine out of 10 Iranians.

Iranians are a proud, nationalistic people and would probably rally around their government - or any government - were it threatened from without. That's one reason Ahmadinejad has been rattling his sabers so much lately: It's an attempt to bolster his unpopular regime.
Here's the part of the story that Goldberg leaves out. The United States invaded Iraq, and they know that we are likely to invade Iran as well. So all this talk about how the Democratic movement might be thwarted by nationalist fervor, well that's sort of already happening. And it's sort of our fault.

I guess I can see why Goldberg would leave that part out, come to think of it.

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