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The Madness of Regime Change

The Iranian people don't share Iran hawks' eagerness for conflict and regime change, and it would be strange if they did.

Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh are agitating for U.S.-sponsored regime change in Iran, and they are wrong about pretty much everything. For example, they write this about past and current Iranian protests:

Regime change isn’t an abstract and mad idea: It’s what the Iranian people have sought through massive protests in 2009 and again beginning last December, when popular protest hit cities and towns across the country.

The 2009 protesters were not seeking regime change. They were seeking redress of their grievances after a fraudulent election. The protesters sought political reform within the existing system. The more recent protests have been driven by poor economic conditions, frustration with government policies, and anger over corruption, but they have not been seeking to overthrow the regime. Iran hawks consistently project their goals onto Iranians, and then support policies that harm and impoverish Iranians while professing to be their friends. The Iranian people don’t share Iran hawks’ eagerness for conflict and regime change, and it would be strange if they did.

If Iranians wished to overthrow the existing regime, that would be their right, but the best evidence suggests that most Iranians have no such desire. Supposing that most Iranians want to change their government, it would still be none of our business. U.S. interference is the last thing that Iranians want, and given our government’s track record in their country no one can blame them for not wanting the “help” that we provide. Iran hawks imagine that other nations welcome and desire U.S. meddling in their affairs, but this is never the case and it certainly isn’t true of Iran. Iranians can see what comes from U.S.-sponsored regime change from their own history and in the surrounding region, and they would have to be mad to want such a disaster to befall their country.

So let’s understand that the people pushing for regime change in Iran are seeking to destabilize and harm the country against the wishes of most Iranians. Just as many of the same people did when they agitated for regime change in Iraq and again in Syria, they don’t care about the devastation and chaos that the people in the country would have to endure if the policy “works.” A U.S. effort to promote regime change in Iran isn’t going to lead to a transition to a better, more representative government. On the contrary, it is much more likely that it will lead to the creation of a more repressive military dictatorship.



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