There was an interesting op-ed in today’s New York Times by Reuel Marc Gerecht. Gerecht is one of the more respectable neocons in that he actually is knowledgable about conditions in the country that he excoriates as “virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic,” in this case Iran, and also speaks the local language. He basically makes the case that Iran’s government is teetering, which might well be true, and calls for the White House to provide $50 million for satellite dishes and associated gear so the Green Movement can communicate, unite, and eventually bring about regime change.
Two problems with the analysis. First, direct support from the US or any western government would de-legitimize the opposition and give the regime a club to use against it. Far better to enlist some third country NGO to do the job, if indeed the job is doable. Successful interference to create a viable opposition might also have unintended consequences depending on who comes out on top when the dust clears.
Second, the Greens do not differ in most foreign policy positions from the current regime. They would not embrace the US and Israel would still be the main enemy. They would continue the country’s nuclear program and, being free of the religious restraints imposed by the Mullocracy, might even make the rational decision to acquire a nuclear weapon. All of which would be a disappointment to the neocons, no doubt, and makes one wonder why the United States should get involved at all. In the past, tinkering with foreign regimes that we do not understand very well has had bad results. Look at the various pastel revolutions in eastern Europe and note where they have wound up, for example. If we have learned anything over the past nine years it is that you get involved in someone else’s quarrels at your peril.