Iran Election Historical Analogies Misleading & Dangerous
by Paul J. Saunders
Islamic Republic Acronym
Situation in Tehran does not simply mirror 1950s Hungary or 1980s Poland ... or even 1979 Iran
Outrage over the Iranian government's violent suppression and intimidation of dissent has appropriately produced considerable concern in
Many political leaders and pundits have called for more active and vocal American support of the Iranian opposition, typically on the basis of analogies to oppressive regimes of the twentieth century.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these analogies are misleading and even dangerous if used as guides to policy.
The historical cases most similar to present-day
Some have compared
These two analogies are both fundamentally flawed because both countries were American allies over which
Others warn that
This implicitly suggests that the George H. W. Bush administration could have prevented the Chinese government's decision to crack
Either way, there has thankfully been no event on this scale in
The bulk of the history lessons filling editorial pages have to do with America's Cold War and modern policies toward the U.S.S.R. and former Soviet bloc countries. Some mention
Others cite the Reagan administration's support for
Finally, many talk of the
U.S.-Soviet relations are mostly irrelevant to
One of the most wrong-headed comparisons between
Historical patterns can clearly be useful tools for thought and action in shaping policy, but in using them it is essential to avoid becoming locked in to psychologically appealing narratives that can skew expectations.
It is likewise important to remember that history took a long time to happen and that most of the decisive events to which we look back were the final stages of extended processes.
What does this mean for U.S. policy toward
On Iran, the U.S. Needs Handshakes and an Iron Fist
by Mortimer B. Zuckerman
The argument went, civilized dialogue with Iran was more likely if we chose to treat its external conduct separately from its internal character. Such an approach, not threatening the Islamic republic's claim, would give us a better chance of restraining its nuclear ambitions and its support for terrorism. Obama did his bit to press the reset button with grace and eloquence. And what was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response? ...
Diplomacy Can and Will Work With Iran
by Senator John Kerry
President Obama is right to open the door to direct engagement with Iran. Negotiations-backed by escalating sanctions to show we mean business if talks fail are the only way short of war that we can persuade Iran to rein in its nuclear ambitions and begin building a more stable and secure Middle East.
Missing Our Moment in Iran
by Victor Davis Hanson
Last month, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took to the streets to protest a rigged presidential election. Our president was extremely cautious in his initial criticism of the Iranian government's fierce crackdown against the protestors. At first, President Obama said that the United States -- given our history in Iran -- should not be "meddling" in
Iran: Death to Election Fraud
by Rick Steves
Last year, while in Iran producing a documentary for public television, I observed freedom-loving people patiently making do under a repressive regime. Today, the relatively peaceful Iran I experienced is in turmoil.
Iran Election Tweets & Twitters In a Revolution
by Mary Kate Cary
It was a battle to show who could best harness the only real news source on the ground -- the new social media -- to report fast, accurate, and insightful information. Cable and network news lost both the battle and the war. Two of the journalists who won were Andrew Sullivan and Nico Pitney. Sullivan and Pitney looked at the gold mine of information sitting on the new social media platforms and, with two staffers, jumped in. Sullivan and staff cut and pasted the most interesting, useful, and profound tweets into a document he called "Live-Tweeting the Revolution," updated every few minutes.
Iranian Protests a Direct Challenge to Khamenei
by Anna Mulrine
"Flexing muscle on the streets after the election is not right," warned Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the days before the bloodshed. "If they don't stop, the consequences of the chaos would be their responsibility." Those consequences included casualties that resulted from the worst upheaval in Tehran in 30 years, as well as mass arrests last week, with more than 600 protesters jailed ...
- President Obama's Iran News Conference
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- The War Between Civilizations That Never Was
- Hungary 1956, Iran 2009
- Iran Elections: The Silent Revolution
- Iranian Regime Change Is for Iranians to Decide
- The 'Neda Moment' Shows Promise of Social Networking
- Obama's Iran Policy Is a Bomb
- Obama's Choice Is Not to Choose on Iran
- Iran's Crisis of Legitimacy
- Iran Must Void Elections to Restore Peace on Streets
- Will Iran Look More Like Turkey, or Turkey Like Iran
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report