Jun 16, 2009 12:30 pm


In a superb article one of my favorite columnist, Brett Stephens, points out that Obama would much rather see"regime change" come to democratic Israel than to Theocratic Iran and, hence, can be expected to treat Netanyahu much more harshly than Ahmadinejad. Of course, nothing else can be expected from the man whose most beloved mentor is Jeremiah Wright.

Unfortunately, Stephens goes on:

Someday a future president may have to apologize to Iranians for Mr. Obama's nonfeasance, just as Mr. Obama apologized for the Eisenhower administration's meddling. But the better Eisenhower parallel is with Hungary in 1956. Then as now a popular uprising coalesced around a figure (Imre Nagy in Hungary; Mir Hossein Mousavi in Iran), who had once been a creature of the system. Then as now it was buoyed by inspiring American rhetoric about freedom and democracy coming over Voice of America airwaves.

And then as now the administration effectively turned its back on the uprising when U.S. support could have made a difference. Hungary would spend the next 33 years in the Soviet embrace.

The problem with the analogy is that Iran is not in the Soviet embrace. Ahmadinejad may be in Yekaterinburg, Russia and the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (I suspect Obama or Clinton would have love to stand there too) may be congratulating him on his victory and the Chinese foreign minister may be even mimicking Obama's language expressing"respect for the choice of the Iranian people" but there is zero change Putin will follow in Brezhnev's footsteps and send in the tanks.

Therefore, when all said and done, the fate of Iran 2009, unlike the fate of Hungary 1956, is solely in the hands of the Iranian people. If they show as much courage and the Hungarian did in 1956, they will win just as the Hungarians did. It was not to their own repressive government that the Hungarian people lost in 1956 and the Czech people lost in 1968 but to Soviet tanks.

Of course, it is possible that the Iranian army will follow in the footsteps of the Chinese one. Indeed, the much more apt comparison is with Beijing 1989. Then too, George H. Bush, to his eternal shame, refused to take sides. Indeed, I heard yesterday a pundit (sorry I do not recall his name) say that Bush the elder advised Obama to do the same. I guess some man do not improve with age.

To sum up, to succeed, Iranians must stay the course. The more gumption they display, the more international support they will garner. Everybody loves a winner. Already, a media coverage which begun with"they have no chance" evolved to"maybe." Only Iranian resolve will determine if it will evolve into"a good chance." Freedom has never come easy. Luckily, for Iranians, they have a good chance of succeeding as no outside forces stand in their way.

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