Friday, January 28, 2011

Not Jeffersonian Democrats

There is a precedent for popular revolution as we just witnessed in Tunisia and may be observing in progress in Egypt, Yemen, and perhaps other areas of the Muslim world. There was a people power rebellion against the Shah of Iran and look how well it worked out for America and the West when Pahlavi was deposed. Since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was brought to power with vast support on the street, Iran has devolved into the leading exporter of terror in the world and the source of new nuclear fears across the Middle East. Of course, there are major differences between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the countries currently roiled by dissent. First and foremost is that there is no charismatic figure like Khomeini that the protesters in any particular country are able to immediately rally around and proclaim or even accept as their new leader. Second, the rebels now are largely Sunni as opposed to those in 1979 in Iran who were then mostly Shia. And lastly, in Iran those backing Khomeini were almost exclusively Persian as Iran is a Persian country with only minority presence of Arabs, Kurds, and an admixture of other tiny racial and ethnic groups. What emerges from these seeming pan-Arab peoples' insurrection is any body's guess at this point, but this new dawn does not imply any embrace of democratic values and can only mean new and increasing headaches for the United States.

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