But things are different now. The Iranians do not expect any help from the outside world. Bush did not help them, to his shame, and nobody thinks Obama would lift a finger for Iranian dissidents. They’re on their own, just as the Lebanese voters were a few days ago. I think many Lebanese decided that they’d better take a stand against Hezbollah before all hope for freedom was lost. Many Iranians may well reason the same way.
If violence breaks out, what will the West do? Probably nothing, except express concern, and call for sweet reasonableness. Good luck with that! What should the West do? Support freedom in Iran. Nothing would so transform the region as a free government, dedicated to good relations with the West. Such a government would end the profligate spending on terrorism and devote the country’s resources to domestic concerns. Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Taliban, and the other jihadis, would be dramatically weakened. Syria’s Bashar Assad would suddenly find himself without his big brother in Tehran. If you want to dream of peace in the Middle East, a free Iran is at the heart of your Utopia.
Finally, for those who unaccountably continue to believe that the most important thing in the Middle East is the Arab-Israeli conflict, the best chance is once again a free Iran that worries about Iranians instead of Palestinians. There is no chance of peace so long as Tehran runs the terror movements. But if the terrorists have to raise their own money, find their own weapons, and train their own killers, things might get a lot easier.
I think that Ledeen’s comment about Lebanese voters is probably right. Anyone who isn’t blind must see that US allies threatened by aggressive dictatorships, as well as oppressed populations in those dictatorships, are now on their own with no chance of receiving US help. Certainly most Israelis understand this, though it’s not clear whether their corrupt political class does. Nor are Japanese, Taiwanese, South Koreans, Australians, Georgians, Venezuelans and others likely to have any illusions. Interesting times ahead.