We are now six days into the Iran protests, and the questions that seized Washington during the 2009 pro-democracy movement have now once again come to the fore. Should the United States try to help Iran’s protesters? Can we help them?
Barack Obama’s answers to those questions were clear: No, not really. His position, the one now echoed by many Western liberals, is based on a deeply misguided premise that the current regime can be reformed or moderated. It can’t — and that premise should be abandoned if we want to do right by Iran.
When you read comments about Iran it’s helpful to mentally substitute the names of other disreputable regimes. On Sunday, for example, former Secretary of State John Kerry tweeted the following about the Iranians who have taken to the streets to protest their theocracy: “With humility about how little we know about what’s happening inside Iran, this much is clear: it’s an Iranian moment and not anyone else’s.”
Would Mr. Kerry have said the same about Poland under Communism or black South Africans under apartheid? Would anyone in good conscience or with any strategic insight have recommended that the correct approach for Washington toward Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski or Prime Minister P.W. Botha was to remain quiet and do nothing?