Monday, February 14, 2011

No, We Cannot Pick And Choose Which Regimes Get Overthrown

Michael Barone points out that--with all due respect--there are other governments we would have preferred being overthrown over Egypt:
Most Americans cannot help but rejoice to see a distasteful authoritarian regime toppled. The spectacle of masses of people rejoicing at the prospect of freedom and democracy cannot help but be heartening.

But on reflection most of us would probably prefer to have seen a victory of people power in Tehran or Pyongyang than in Cairo. Mubarak's Egypt was an ally of the United States, at least somewhat helpful in our own efforts in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East, and a nation at peace, albeit a cold peace, with Israel.

In contrast, the mullah regime in Iran is developing nuclear weapons to threaten Israel and other American allies within missile range. Kim Jong Il's criminal regime has nuclear weapons and has committed at least two acts of war in recent months against democratic South Korea.

The people of Iran did take to the streets in opposition to the mullahs' election-rigging in June 2009. But Barack Obama and his administration gave a cold shoulder to this green movement, and there was no regime change.
Well, cheer up Mr. Barone--there may be some protests in Iran on Monday:
Iranian opposition Green Movement protesters are planning to take to the streets en masse Monday, despite an official government ban.

Dubbed the 25th of Bahman protests, activists plan to take to the streets in cities across Iran to show “solidarity with the Egyptian people,” although many have speculated that demands for human rights and democracy within Iran will also be voiced.

Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Moussavi and Medhi Karroubi are rumored to be attending the rally in Tehran, although they have both have had their communications with the outside world silenced by the regime in recent days.

An unidentified correspondent for PBS in Tehran noted:
What will happen Monday, history will record in less than 24 hours. The atmosphere is filled by suspense over the call for demonstration. Certainly the city is not calm. There were chants of “Allah-o akbar” across Tehran. People expect something to happen. Publicly, Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Mousavi have called for a demonstration in solidarity with the people of Egypt. Nobody thinks or believes this is about Egypt or will remain focused on Egypt. No wonder that their request has been rejected as illegal
We will know if soon enough whether those protests happen.
The next question of course is whether, if Iranians do turn out and demand human rights and democracy for Iranians, Obama will comment this time.

Maybe after getting his message straight on Egypt he will be more forthcoming.

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