Iran's Green Revolution Could Change the World
The ideological victory will also be priceless. The death of the Shiite wing of radical Islam will provide a body blow to the Sunni wing, as the two cooperate and are both threatened by a popular revolution debunking the notion that theocratic governance is in any way desirable. A free Iran will also be a country of moderate Muslims, providing the counter to extremism we have longed for. The Green Revolution will provide a compelling rebuttal to the propaganda from the extremist media monopoly that has plagued the region until recently.
In the U.S., defections from the Iranian-sponsored extremist apparatus and captured files from the regime's offices will provide the West with a mother lode of information about our vulnerabilities and how foreign terrorists and intelligence services operate. The intelligence community will also get to pore over thousands of regime documents detailing their support for terrorists such as al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This information will prove priceless in identifying and tackling the networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
If we're honest about the lessons of the Green Revolution, the U.S. will realize that the promotion of human rights and democracy is the correct strategy and that allying with oppressed people isn't simply a feel-good suggestion, but a moral and strategic imperative. The knowledge gained about the use of "soft power" in confronting tyrant regimes could cause U.S. policy to dramatically improve, perhaps even fostering a bipartisan consensus about the importance of supporting similar movements in the future.
It's also worth mentioning the alternative reality should the Green Revolution fail. There will be another Israeli offensive into Gaza and possibly Lebanon, as the terrorists cannot give up their addiction for blood. Iran will either become a nuclear weapons state or be bombed by Israel, giving Ahmadinejad the excuse he's always wanted to enact his apocalyptic end-times vision. Most of the Middle Eastern countries will go nuclear and Iranian allies like Syria, Venezuela, and Sudan will as well. And there is no telling what the regime will do once they are emboldened by their new arms. An escalation of support for terrorists in Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf, and around the world is a given.
According to one report based on a CIA source, President Obama has instructed the intelligence community to not get involved in helping the Iranian people in any way, shape, or form. He did not hold a single high-level conference call or meeting on June 14 when an estimated one to two million people gathered in Tehran. Secretary of State Clinton and Vice President Biden are trying to convince him to come out more decisively in favor of the opposition.
One of the above scenarios, one filled with good news and the other depicting a dark and frightening future, will come to pass. This may be the most important month of President Obama's first term. The range of overt and covert options available to him is endless. For the sake of the Iranian people and the world at large, let us hope that President Obama doesn't have a Bush 41 moment and let this opportunity pass.