Michael Crowley reports on renewed agitation for regime change in Iran, including from some officials inside the Trump administration:
As the White House formulates its official policy on Iran, senior officials and key allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the new administration to take steps to topple Tehran’s militant clerical government.
The Trump administration should ignore calls for pursuing regime change in Iran, and the reasons for this should be obvious. First and foremost, the U.S. has no business trying to change the government of another country. Interference of this kind in the affairs of another country would be deeply wrong. Just by making the attempt the U.S. would once again earn the hostility of tens of millions of Iranians. Iran is one of the few relatively stable states in the region, and seeking to destabilize or topple their government would just add more upheaval to a part of the world that doesn’t need any more. If there is one thing we should all know by now, it is that whatever takes the place of a toppled regime is frequently no better and often even worse than the government that has been overthrown, but that is almost beside the point. It is very unlikely that a U.S.-backed uprising would be successful, not least since it would be perceived to be an illegitimate effort on the part of a foreign government to meddle in Iranian affairs.
Even if a policy of regime change briefly “worked” (and I don’t think it would), any new government that came to power under those circumstances would face sustained resistance from elements of the old regime and from millions of Iranians that would perceive their new leaders as little more than Western puppets. The civilian population would suffer greatly from the resulting instability and violence. Pursuing regime change in Iran would be an immoral, dangerous policy that the U.S. would almost certainly come to regret, and it would be a disaster for the surrounding region.