I’ve held off on blogging about it. There’s not much I could add that others haven’t said, and said better.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it a great deal. For 30 years, the people of Iran have chafed under a regime that did nothing to fulfill the promises of the ‘79 revolution. That’s a very common problem with revolutions. Most fail, not in overthrowing the regime, but in establishing the institutions needed to form a stable government.
Our own revolution is a poor template to use for most nation states. We threw off the yoke of a distant power. Those that sided with the British were for the most part, somewhat tepid in their support. And they had a safe haven to move to, Canada, when the revolution succeeded. And most of the institutions of a successful government were in place here. We already had a tradition of several hundred years of common law to build upon.
But in any event, it is clear that a huge swath of the population of Iran has felt betrayed by their government. This started as a protest over the rigged elections. And why? Because the Iranian people just may have noticed that their neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, after being invaded by the Great Satan, suddenly got to have free and open elections. But Bush was Evil.
Where this will go, no one can say. Should the protesters succeed, they will still have to deal with a huge chunk of the population that has just seen its rice bowl knocked over. Remember, there are many thousands of folks who either made their living via the regime, or were granted some level of power or prestige by it. They will not be very happy in whatever replaces it. That’s a big part of why revolutions so often go awry when trying to establish order. They must use repressive measures just to stay afloat, and in the process, risk becoming the very things they sought to damn.
In any event, I am concerned that our government has taken such a weak position, instead of reminding the whole world that we stand for freedom, and stand with any and all who seek to popularly depose an illegitimate regime.
I don’t know how things will turn out. No one does. But I can certainly pray that freedom and liberty just may gain another toehold in the Middle East.