Freitag, 20. März 2009

The Bush Doctrine: Why it may work in Iran

The Bush Doctrine has not exactly been heralded for an unquestioned success, quite on the contrary the doctrine is largely conceived as a major foreign policy blunder of the past eight years. This common wisdom might, as common wisdom usually is, be premature. In fact, recent years have witnessed interesting developments and some show signs of the lasting impact the exertion of the doctrine may have. Despite early and modest successes – the revolution in Lebanon, modest reforms in Saudi Arabia and Libya's return into the international community – some long-term impacts are now beginning to show. One of the perhaps most important developments includes Iran: The regime has been unwilling to undertake major reforms and has increasingly cracked down on the reform movement, closed NGOs, women rights groups and newspapers and banned more and more liberals from running in elections. Amid growing demographic and economic challenges, the regimes very survival is now at stake and here Iraq's growing success might indeed be bad news to the Iranian regime. Ali al-Sistani is now the most influential and most respected Shiite cleric, replacing Iran Supreme revolutionary leader Ali Chamenei, whose religious credentials have always been a bit murky. Al-Sistani advocates democracy and is far more liberal than Chamenei he commands the respect, religious authority and appeal to challenge the most fundamental principle of the peculiar Iranian regime, namely that in the absence of the prophets religious leaders can build and run a state more effectively than a purely democratic society. And the situation in Iraq is now providing the empirical evidence to support this claim. The only thing that will eventually bring the Iranian regime down is a revolution: but revolutions are by their very nature impossible to predict. But it might very well be that it was George Bush who threw the first domino and that Iran will fall in the end.

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