Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Iran’s future

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, an ordinary liberal in most respects, has an interesting streaming video and audio of his trip to Iran. He posed Iranians six questions about their life, their regime, and the US. In slightly surprised tones, he reports what every sensible person would already believe: that almost all Iranians believe that the tyranny of the Islamic Revolution has made life worse and that the Revolution is now "bankrupt and exhausted".

Still, he does helpfully show that the problem for the Bush administration is how to keep the mullahs from getting the bomb (which would prop up their decaying authority with sheer power) without provoking nationalist support from the previously alienated people. As a liberal, he doesn’t like Bush’s "Axis of Evil" language but that’s because he overstates the possibility that external pressures will renew popular support for the regime. The so-called "reformers" in whom he seems to place such great hope are almost as disliked as the hardliners, and in some respects held in more contempt for their constant capitulations to the regime.

The administration needs to keep stiffening the Europeans’ spines on the nuclear issue so that it is not the US vs. Iran but Iran alienating itself from the world. And it needs to continue telling the Iranian people directly that the US supports their aspirations for freedom and a return to their rightful place in the world, but that such a return is impossible under the present mullahcracy.

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