17 June 2009

Some cautionary thoughts re Iran

It's interesting to view what seems to be a widespread, if not universal, sympathy for the protestors in Iran. Both the political left and the political right seem to applaud the people's effort to regain control of their democracy. Pundits ponder whether the current political leadership will be overthrown and replaced by one more receptive to Western ideology.

Here's the question: How will we react if/when the scenes above are repeated, not in Iran but in Egypt? I suppose there aren't enough people to do this in Kuwait, but how about Saudi Arabia? If hundreds of thousands of young, conservative, Islamist youth march through the streets of Riyadh and demand a "democracy" in which they can elect their own leaders rather than be ruled by King Abdullah, will the West be supportive?

Will the champions of "democracy" still applaud if the surging crowds have anti-Western antipathies? I don't know (but I doubt it). We'll just have to wait and see...

Photo credit here and here.


  1. Would a hard line Islamic revolution even demand "democracy"? I would like to think that the two are generally incompatible but the truth is that it could happen. However, supporting the "revolution," if that is what it is, in Iran because we support Democracy does not mean that 1) we should blindly support any and all groups waving the banner of democracy 2) we can't support democracy while discouraging the use of democracy to implement a repressive regime. In a liberal democracy the majority rules but there are also important and I would argue inalienable rights that are integral to democracy.

  2. I think we as a nation should applaud the democratic process as a positive step forward, regardless of who "wins". How we deal with a newly elected government is another matter. President Bush handled it rather well with Hamas, declaring that Hamas was still a terrorist organization and would not be recognized as a legitimate government until they renounced violence.

    As sad as it is, I agree with A. Fischer. I don't think extremist Islam is any more compatible with Democracy as it is other religious view points. Allah Akbar.

  3. It seems to me thatas the majority of the voters and protesters are young in Iran, and tech savvy, that they are likely much more pro-Western and pro genuine democracy than those now in power. As for Saudi Arabia, it would be hard to imagine a more repressive regime.


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