Thursday, December 21, 2006
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
A bad week for Ahmadinejad
I was on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Tuesday evening to talk, ostensibly, about my Washington Post essay on grand strategy. We wound up talking about Iran mostly. You can read the transcript here. Hewitt is of the belief that the U.S. cannot afford even a small risk of someone like Ahmadinejad possessing nuclear weapons. I am of the belief that Ahmadinejad is not that as powerful inside Iran as Hewitt believes.
It's been a good week for my argument. First, there are election returns:
Opponents of Iran's ultra-conservative president won nationwide elections for local councils, final results confirmed Thursday, an embarrassing outcome for the hardline leader that could force him to change his anti-Western tone and focus more on problems at home.Then you've got your student protestors -- Nazila Fathi explains in the New York Times:
The student movement, which planned the 1979 seizure of the American Embassy from the same university, Amir Kabir, is reawakening from its recent slumber and may even be spearheading a widespread resistance against Mr. Ahmadinejad. This time the catalysts were academic and personal freedom.Well, it's going to be tougher for Ahmadinejad to boost economic growth is more foreign direct investment doesn't come through. The Financial Times' Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Roula Khalaf report that this is now a problem:
Iran’s oil minister on Wednesday admitted that Tehran was having trouble financing oil projects, in a rare acknowledgment of the economic cost of its nuclear dispute.The Security Council should be approving sanctions today.
None of this means that Ahmadinejad will disappear tomorrow. It does mean, however, that the president of Iran will be worrying about more than being "insulted" by student protests.posted by Dan on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM
The protest, punctuated by shouts of “Death to the dictator,” was the first widely publicized outcry against Mr. Ahmadinejad, one that was reflected Friday in local elections, where voters turned out in droves to vote for his opponents.
Dr. Drezner fails to note the irony here. The fact that Ahmedinejad's faction lost elections shows he is not a dictator. Moreover, try yelling that sort of rhetoric at an anti-Bush rally anywhere near the president and see how long it is before the secret service pays you a visit.posted by: Mitchell Young on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
did i not read somewhere that the cards were stacked against Ahmed--- by Ayatollah because latter feared former was moving against him? - latter does get to choose which candidates run, no?posted by: cull tech on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
Why are people like Hewitt willing to take great risks, including invading countries and killing many people, to avoid even a small risk that certain enemies will obtain nuclear weapons, at the same time that they denigrate any measures to decrease carbon emissions because it hasn't been sufficiently proven that either (a) the earth is warming, or (b) human conduct is responsible for such warming that is occurring? Frankly, I'm not smart enough to know the correct position in either event, but the positions taken by Bush-apologists seem contradictory to me.posted by: Tillman Fan on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
And Ahmadinejad is not the dictator. That would be Ali Khamenei.posted by: kwo on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
KWO I was noting the irony that in today's United States you would must assuredly get at least a visit from the Secret Service, if not be actually detained, for making a 'death threat' against the president at an event. That is, if you could escape one of the free speech pens that usually are put in place at such events. Somehow in this area, Iranian 'dictatorship' exhibits more freedom of speech than the US.
Oh, here's a poly sci question. Let's say that the Iranian regime actually changes due to the recent council elections, taking a more moderate tack. Would that indicate that it is more democratic that the US? After all, we just had elections were the voters kickedout the party with legislative power, largely because the people were sick of two Americans dying per day for nothing. Yet somehow were are now talking about increased involvement (i.e troops) in Iraq. So, who wins on accountability to voters-- the US or Iran?posted by: Mitchell Young on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
"And Ahmadinejad is not the dictator. That would be Ali Khamenei."
Exactly. Khamenei and the other ayatollahs have long been the real power behind Iran's policies, and Khamenei is concerned about Ahmedinejad having too much power, so this is hardly surprising. The ayatollahs like having Ahmedinejad in there as a pit bull, but not with his fangs too sharp-- they're the ones who make the moves there.
These elections therefore change nothing about Iran's on-the-ground policies.posted by: Cormac on 12.21.06 at 08:49 AM [permalink]
Post a Comment: