Mousavi is a great example of a very boring leader who nonetheless inspires a mass movement by dint of modesty, tenacity and courage.
Obama is also a revolutionary leader, and he too seeks to change the nature of his country. He has shown great tenacity in imposing various financial schemes and national health care in the face of considerable popular opposition, he has shown surprising deference to foreign leaders who do not wish us well, and shows every sign of wanting to diminish America’s power in the world. Nobody knows if he will succeed, but his is certainly an ambitious enterprise.
Unlike Mousavi, Obama lives in a free country and, at least at the moment, is prevailing because he has the support of the political and cultural elites even though most people want him to stop. Mousavi has the support of the people who want the regime to go away, but his country is a tyranny and so popular support is irrelevant to the tyrants, at least for the moment. Mousavi is boring, yet inspires a mass movement. Obama is exciting, yet no longer inspires a majority of his people.
A series of paradoxes, n’est-ce pas? And we don’t — indeed we can’t — know what will happen. Yet the future of the world may well hinge on the success of those two men. In yet another paradox, it seems that our best chance is for the Iranian revolutionary to win, and the American revolutionary to lose.
Meanwhile, Mubarak of Egypt is dying, and when he passes, that huge country may enter chaos. The frightening Mohammed al Baradei (you remember him, the faux inspector from the UN) is running for office in cahoots with the Muslim Brotherhood. Should he become the effective leader of Egypt, things will get worse. And Turkey is right there, Islamist Turkey, a Turkey that wants women bundled up and the West very far away until it is once again dominated by triumphal Islamic power. A Turkey ruled by a man who wants to be Caliph.
A very few people can change the world right now because the world is off its previous orbit and the new one isn’t yet stabilized.
Meanwhile again, a Latin American anti-American alliance, very much in league with Iran, is being assembled to the south. And nobody cares. Colombia and Chavez’s Venezuela are in a phony war that may become a shooting war most any day.
Meanwhile a third time, the Chinese are making dramatic strides in seapower. Everybody knows they think of themselves as the rightful rulers of the universe. Many of them believe we are a spent force. So that’s another set of glowing embers.
One cannot know the future, but great leaders must anticipate the worst-case scenario, and prepare for it.
We’re not. Our guy is showing off his basketball skills for wounded vets and mocking his opposition. Something about fiddling as the flames get hotter comes to mind…