June 26, 2005

How the New Iranian President is Like GW

OK, the fact that this post is by Juan Cole means that everyone who's remotely sympathetic to the president won't take it seriously - but Cole raises some fair points, whether or not the Go Bush Go! chorus chooses to recognize it.

Though actually some of the most insightful things in this post come after his comparison of campaign styles in the US and Iran. It's important to note that while the new president could easily whip-up some anti-American nationalism given our actions in the region, Iran's elections weren't all about us. It's pretty reasonable to think that many of the voters there saw this guy as someone who relates to their values, talks to them in ways they understand, and wants to wipeout widespread corruption. Of course those are all traits that contributed to Ayatollah Khomenei's immense popularity too, and it's because of such connections to "the people" that Islamist political actors often win elections in the Middle East and a key reason why Islamists are among the region's foremost advocates of democracy.

One does wonder though - do results like those in Iran make any Americans more concerned about the president's enthusiastic endorsement of elections as the cure to the world's ills? And if so, what are the implications of that? Not just in terms of Iraq - but in terms of the kinds of foreign policies the US is likely to pursue in 10 or 20 years?

Posted by armand at June 26, 2005 02:44 PM | TrackBack | Posted to International Affairs

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