It isn’t easy to be the pessimist on Iran’s Green Movement. Everyone wants to support the brave protestors and most everyone hopes to see them prevail over an increasingly thuggish regime. I do. But over the last few weeks, Washington DC seemed to have talked itself into something more — a belief that Iranian regime change was actually nigh, and that such regime change from below was actually more likely and easier than a negotiated deal on the nuclear program. I’ve been skeptical in public and private…I’ve been watching Arab regimes survive in the face of popular dissatisfaction for decades, and have seen all too clearly that while Middle Eastern regimes aren’t good at much, they’re pretty darned good at staying in power. Still, over the last few weeks I’ve read countless articles, and been told conspiratorially by many Iran-watchers, that February 11 would be the breakthrough for the Green Movement. And now it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t. So what now?
Today’s fizzle shouldn’t have surprised anyone, even if many hoped for more. We shouldn’t read too much into it, even if expectations had been raised. But the prospects for regime change have seemed to me less likely over time rather than more likely. During those chaotic first days after the “election” fiasco, there may have been the chance for a mass… >>>