Uprising in Iran

Elections in Iran on Friday returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a second term as president. Supporters of challenger Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a conservative reformer, have taken to the streets in protest. Violence has broken out, and people have been shot to death by police. Remarkably, the Islamic republic’s leading cleric, Ali Khamenei, has called for an investigation of the election results. So have other members of the Iranian ruling class.

Regardless of the outcome, the United States needs to stay out of this. Mousavi’s supporters and Iran experts are clear about this. Given the history of U.S. intervention in Iranian affairs since World War II, and the anti-Americanism that was a theme of the 1979 revolution, any effort by our government to promote the opposition is guaranteed to backfire and to help unify and expand Ahmadinejad’s support. This is why Mitt Romney’s remarks this weekend have been self-serving and irresponsible. Obama’s balancing act — expressing doubt about the election’s fairness without taking sides — is the right move for this moment in the chess game. Continue reading “Uprising in Iran”

Advertisements

So there’s not enough money in politics?

Barack Obama’s campaign, with its record-setting war chest, is likely to change the nature of campaigning in a way most of his supporters may have trouble appreciating. The role of big-money donors in campaigns is likely to become greater, and balancing them with a legion of online donors may not be enough to maintain more […]

The myth of Obama’s “apostasy”

Historical myths and simplifications about a monolithic “Islamic world” are a besetting problem in the U.S. media, and I think professional historians should be concerned — especially when a member of the profession is responsible for sowing confusion in the first place, as in this case. The story, in brief, is that the world’s Muslims […]