Not so long ago I was in the pundit’s equivalent of the psychiatric ward, as one of a tiny handful of people (generally considered deranged) claiming that the Iranian people hated the mullahcracy, were prepared to rise up against it, were totally worthy of American (indeed broad Western) support, and would win.
All of a sudden, a good-sized gaggle of born-again democratic revolutionaries have entered the bandwagon. In the last couple of weeks, Bob Kagan, Charles Krauthammer, Jim Glassman, Ray Takeyh and Richard Haass have jumped on board. God willing, they will stay and attract others. Welcome, comrades!
So this seems a good time to catch up on bandwagon etiquette. First, explain what got you here; that’s a great way to encourage reluctant “realists” to join our revolutionary ranks. Kagan understands that, and tells us why he changed his mind. After the June 12th election fraud and the huge crowds that filled the streets of every major city in Iran, he notes, only a blind man could fail to see what was going on:
A year ago…there was little sign the Iranian people would ever rise up and demand change, no matter what the United States and other democratic nations did to help them. If the prospects for a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program seemed remote, the prospects for regime change were even more remote. These probabilities have shifted since June 12.
If he had had more space, Bob would undoubtedly have added, by today it should be clear that the mass movement aimed at regime change in Iran is truly that, and extends throughout all levels of Iranian society, most paradoxically to the Shi’ite clerical leaders. Poor Khamenei keeps saying that religious leaders should speak up, by which he means “defend me!” But they won’t; they want him gone, as most Iranians do.