Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Ahmadinejad Really Won

...according to George Friedman. I know George isn’t always right, but this analysis does right true. We’re stuck with a democratically elected anti-liberal, who rules the countryside with his promotion of piety, his opposition to (urban and urbane) corruption, and his tough stand on national security. Listen, I’m not expert, and so if this analysis is wrong, I want to know.

Discussions - 6 Comments

It might just go to show that democratic elections do not a democratic society make. It also shows that the people of Iran were given a choice between an anti-liberal and an anti-liberal. The democratic masses can often be wrong, yet in this case, from what I've gathered, it wasn't exactly a vote between liberal freedom and the existing hard-line regime.

Please Peter, you missed the essentials. In a race where the candidates were hand-picked by an unelected "ruling council," who cares about the correct tally of the vote. Not to mention you overlooked the role of Iranian media, which is completely controlled by that same unelected "ruling council." Thus from start to finish, from center to circumference, this entire race was fraudulent. To even enter into a discussion about correct vote totals is to concede the whole fraudulent exercise to enemies of the democratic process. It was not an open election, it was not a fair election, and the goons of the "ruling council" were in charge of tallying up the vote.

I am now hearing the same thing, that the polls before the election actualy were consistent with the results. Our media is playing up the 'stolen' election, for what purpose I really don't know. Yes, out of the 40 or so candidates that wanted to run they allowed five so this guy claiming victory in defeat can't be an agent of real change. I would say it has the marks of a western intel destabalization, but I can't see that other guy being in on it and he clearly is fanning the flames, mabye his ego is just so great that it falls in line with the desires of the mi6ciamossad group.

Leverett and Leverett echo much of Friedman's analysis while also reminding us that Iran is home to electoral upsets (the reformer Khatami in 1997) as well as landslides favoring a conservative status quo. Of course, Ahmadinejad’s actual margin of victory was probably smaller than the initial numbers suggest, though it’s very unlikely that victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat on election day for the reasons Friedman indicates.

As Peter’s post implies, Ahmadinejad’s dominance of the countryside is key; Huntington’s Political Order in Changing Societies is the book to read on the point that in modernizing countries, the role of the countryside—not urban elites or the middle class—is decisive in determining who rules. In ’97 and ’01, Khatami made headway in the countryside by insisting that efforts at modernization and reform had to be informed and tempered by religion and tradition...perhaps Mousavi was equally concerned with blending the new and the old, though I have the impression that his rhetoric primarily centered on accelerating the pace of modernization.

So Sara is right though there is something to Dan's sentiment--what ever we mean by electoral legitimacy for Iran is something distinct from what that means here since the basic context--the regime--is decisively different. That being said, it seems likely that Ahmadinejad really did win AND that he really did cheat confirming Friedman's analysis but also providing evidence that it was a closer election than the numbers indicate, that Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollahs were nervous about the outcome, and that they have serious concerns about the political impact young pro-Western students (an increasing demographic) have versus pro-Western elites in general. For all the money we've apparently been pouring into opposition and reformist groups they remain pretty feckless and, working on the assumption that a major military conflict between Iran and Israel is avoided, any internal reform of the regime would be slow, incremental, and long term.

People tend to get the government they deserve. If sheeple want a shepherd, they get one. We've got Obama now and the Iranians have their crazy man as well. The world turns.

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