When I heard the events in Iran were the “Green Revolution,” I was very skeptical. Green is the color of political Islam. It’s the dominant color on the flag of Saudi Arabia and the headbands of Hezzbollah. It’s bad enough these color revolutions are supposed to capture our imagination without occasioning much in the way of inquiry. But a green one in Iran?!?
I’m glad I’m not alone. Abbas Barzegar notes that Ajad probably won the election, and mass demonstrations have been had by both sides. In other words, don’t believe the hype.
Diana West shares my view that Mousavi’s tenure as Iran’ prime minister in the 1980s were not exactly the country’s salad days, particularly from the perspective of the US. I know, I know. It’s democracy! It’s people power! What’s 241 Marines killed in Lebanon when we’re talking about people with faux hawks using Twitter!!! West reports to great effect that in the recent presidential debate in Iran–a first–the supposedly great guy Mousavi faulted Ajad for not executing the British sailors that supposedly drifted into Iranian waters. Be careful what you wish for.
Richard Spencer over at Takimag.com notes that the neoconservatives’ romantic passion for democratic revolution is totally immune to facts and recent events in Iraq among others. It’s a very adolescent and distinctly unconservative impulse that gets carried away by street demonstrations and does not consider what in fact is being sought. Burke’s central and important insight was that change can make things even worse in what is presently a bad regime. Consider the demonic French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the pointless street violence in France every generation or so. This situation is particularly galling because no matter who wins, this is a stolen election because the Islamic authorities must preapprove parties and candidates to even run in Iran.
The whole event, particularly the credulous western response, is surreal. It’s a sign of the way Bush has corrupted conservatism that so many self-described conservatives now think that democracy in the Third World is the be all end all without regard to the content of the leadership or the nature of their claims to legitimacy. It’s as if we’re getting excited by some election in the Soviet Union as a watersheld, where minor issues of emphasis and personality were the only real objects of debate, and such elections (even if hotly disputed) were effectively meaningless.