Excellent op-ed by Iranian-American journalist Shirin Sadeghi on how America must deal with post-election Iran.
It's unclear whether Mousavi will seriously challenge the results, as much of a sham as they are. Seems like Ahmadinejad will get to continue his march of pettiness and arrogance, and lead the Islamist Republic into a new generation of oppression.
In order to set things straight henceforth, certain tragic realities must be realized: namely, that US policies in the past have helped endure the authoritarianism that has continues to plague the nation -- supporting Saddam, Iran-contra and Bush's boorish macho posturing.
I know this is uncomfortable for the Fox News/Weekly Standard/National Review crowd, but the rest of us interested in a realistic plan for a better future know that overcoming evil requires some self-awareness and not merely finger-pointing.
When people are scared, authoritarian nuts like Ahmadinejad thrive. All the tangibly damaging stances the US has taken toward Iran, while obviously not solely responsible, have only made leaders like him more legitimate in the eyes of average Iranians -- and who's to blame them? If a bully labels you and two others among the "Axis of Evil," and then invades one, killing about a million people, you're more likely to accept a hardline leader you think might protect you from it.
Obama has taken fire from the wingnut crowd for not being more vocal against the Iranian election. Fortunately, Obama's too smart to take their bait, and is absolutely doing the right right thing by not appearing to meddle in Iran's affairs -- a decision that would only exacerbate the situation. People like Stephen Hayes don't understand that, because to them, only evil people think America can do any wrong.
Obama's reaching out to the Muslim world, and particularly Iran, is an enormous and underappreciated step in the right direction. The youth in Iran has caught on to the shamelessness of the current regime, and in order to drain the rest of the authoritarian swamp, the United States must continue to engage with the people and not present itself as the schoolyard bully ready to pounce on any opportunity for aggression.