- Many Americans are confusing their issues here. Standing up for the right of the Iranian people to protest is fine and dandy. Asking for the overturn of the election entirely... this might be a bit flawed. First of all, maybe Mir Hossein Mousavi is more moderate than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... but seriously, it's not like he's the shiite Obama. If he took power, it might be more of a Krushchev to Kosygin shift: not the crazy shoe-banging guy, but still not taking down the big red flag. And this whole backing one horse over the other...
- ...could be a flipping disaster! All these people anxious to see the election overturned need to remember that Ahmadinejad isn't exactly unpopular in Iran. They could hold a flipping election overseen by the Swiss and he could still win. Well, won't that be good for foreign relations if we push on this issue too much?
- What no one is talking about needs to be discussed: this could not be happening if McCain had won last year. Since Bush took power, the U.S. has only had a hardline stance toward Iran. And it created a situation that galvanized the Iranian people. Even the most moderate Iranian could hear the Bush rhetoric and say "hey screw off, America, I'm voting for the crazy, mildly militaristic guy who drives you up a wall." McCain was clear in his campaign that he envisioned no change in the general diplomatic approach to Iran. If McCain wins, it's fair to say Iran's population puts aside their internal differences in the interest of defending against American rhetorical attacks. Instead, we've got Obama. And the only thing he does better than give speeches is make incredibly quiet-but-calculating decisions that work in America's favor. Seriously... the guy has been in office five months. he has mentioned a willingness to start talking with Iran (provided some generally-understandable conditions can be brokered) and starts making ovations to the moderate Islamic world. And here we are, not even into July and Iran is a mess! We couldn't have done this with guns. We have appealed to the intellectual spirit of Iranians. They look at us, find fault, but see we're not being unreasonable. In fact, maybe their guy is being unreasonable. Maybe they need to vote him out. They try to. Someone smells fraud. Now they're fighting in their own streets. You think we could have done any other way? Puh-lease. Obama has started - not fully succeeded, but started - to make the people of countries like Iran accountable for the ways they are viewed by the West. And we're seeing a good number of them care greatly about that.
In other words, reform will come organically or Iran will become another North Korea. And, despite all the sound and fury, North Korea is one mistake away from not even having the Chinese fighting for its interests. With no electricity.
There is nothing to be gained from America asserting itself in Iran's current turmoil.