The Pre-June 12 Mindset

As Daniel Patrick Moynihan said: everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. Whatever position one takes on the U.S. stance on Iran and whatever one thinks of our ability to affect events there, we should be honest about what is occurring inside the heretofore Islamic revolutionary state and what the stakes are. Filling a gaping void in much of the coverage Reuel Marc Gerecht’s must-read piece explains what is transpiring — and what could transpire — in Iran:

Khamenei acted so crudely and rashly on June 12 because he’d already seen this movie. What’s happening in Iran now is all about democracy, about the contradictory and chaotic bedfellows that it makes, about the questioning of authority and the personal curiosity that it unleashes. Khamenei knows what George H.W. Bush’s “realist” national security adviser Brent Scowcroft surely knows, too: Democracy in Iran implies regime change.

To say then that there is no difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad now that a revolution is underway reflects a stubborn refusal to see what is unfolding. What started out as a choice between two pre-selected candidates has morphed into a battle for the future of Iran and of the survival of the Islamic revolutionary state. We’re not sure what would come after the mullah’s despotic regime, but everyone on the planet can now seen the true face of that regime, which, if it survives, will only become more aggressive, defensive and brutal in the aftermath of a crackdown.

When the president speaks as if everything will simply pick up where we left off after the dust settles and the blood dries he expresses his obtuseness (both moral and strategic). Either way, what emerges on the other side won’t resemble the pre-June 12 Iran. And that is because, as he suggested, the whole world has been watching.