Reza Aslan, who wrote one of the best books I read last year, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, and is very, very hot, has an interesting opinion piece in the LA Times in which he argues that “abandoning our stated goal of regime change could bring about the reforms in Tehran the U.S. has always wanted.”
If the U.S. engaged Iran the way it engages other “autocratic democracies” in Latin America, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet bloc, that would do far more to encourage democratic change than anything tried so far. The lesson to be learned from America’s misadventure in Iraq is that democracy cannot be promoted from the top down; it must be reared from within.
He’s spot-on there, and I like this bit in particular as well: “[T]he longer the U.S. insists that Iran suspend uranium enrichment before diplomatic negotiations can begin, the more sophisticated and irreversible Iran’s nuclear program will become.”
Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts. And if you haven’t yet read No god but God, I can’t recommend it enough. He’s a fantastic writer.