Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Regime Change" We Don't Want to Believe In

In the past week or so, the talk in Washington among journalists and think tank wonks outside the Obama Administration has been bubbling with the phrase "regime change" in reference to Iran. We've seen that movie before, new euphemism notwithstanding, and it has no happy ending.

As much as I would prefer an Iranian president with a name that was easier on the English-speaking tongue (5 syllables is way too long!), I don't think that a Western-inspired, or much less funded, overthrow or a coup, or any of the names we use for the forcible removal of a ruler, is what we want to do. Here's why:
  • the coup d'etat is most un-Jeffersonian and never a good path to democracy;
  • pushing for "regime change" in another country invites reciprocity and, last I heard, folks in the Middle East would like to turn ours into ... ahem ... an Islamic theocracy; and
  • the cure is almost always worse than the disease (think Chile 1973, Brazil 1964, and oh, Iran 1954).
Let's stop there. I like triads. Thank goodness the jabber I've heard does not come from the Obama folks. But, frankly, if they are in the least tempted, this short post ought to help.