Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Don't Encourage Violent Overthrow of Iranian Government----letter to Wall Street Journal

To the editor:

In reviewing Kenneth M. Pollack’s The Ayatollah Puzzle, Sohrab Ahmari says “The book’s most compelling section contends, convincingly, that the West should attempt to foment revolution inside Iran by supporting dissidents . . .” 

This is a terrible idea.  It is much easier to overthrow a regime we regard as bad than it is to replace it with something that is better, as we have seen in Iraq, AfghanistanLibya, and (prospectively) Syria.  This is true whether the overthrow is brought about by the U.S. military or by armed insurgents.

Such overthrows have not furthered  U.S. interests and cannot be justified as “humanitarian” on behalf of the local populations.   Saddam Hussein’s regime was horrible,  and Husssein killed a lot of “his own” people to preserve his rule.  But now that he is gone life in Iraq is even more precarious as various factions that he had been able to repress are now free to bomb weddings,  funerals,  and everywhere else innocent civilians gather. 

The U.S. should refrain from encouraging violent overthrows of existing regimes,  no matter how bad.  We should instead root for reformers.   Even very bad regimes can be reformed from within, as we saw in the U.S.S.R. and South Africa.
Given our bad image in Iran,  we should not handicap dissidents who are seeking peaceful reforms by “supporting” them.  With friends like us,  they would not need enemies. 

Paul deLespinasse
Corvallis, Oregon

A version of this letter was published by the Wall Street Journal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are e-mailed to me. I will post excerpts from those I think will most interest readers.