I hope Iran policy makers in Washington and Europe are reading histories of that world-changing year, 1989. I hope so because the time has come to do nothing in Iran.Easy for you to say, Roger. You're not in the mullahs' line of fire. And if it turns out you're wrong and the "nuclear clock" wins the clock race and the result is a honking big A-bomb dropped on and demolishing a teeny Jewish entity, your "intertia option" will have paved the way for what I like to think of as the "Holocaust option."
As Timothy Garton Ash has written of the year Europe was freed, “For the decisive nine months, from the beginning of Poland’s roundtable talks in February to the fall of the Wall in November, the United States’ contribution lay mainly in what it did not do.”
That inaction reflected the first President Bush’s caution and calculations. Its effect was to deprive hardliners in Moscow of an American scapegoat for Eastern European agitation and allow revolutionary events to run their course.
The main difference between Moscow 1989 and Tehran 2009 is that the Islamic Republic is still ready to open fire. The main similarities are obvious: tired ideologies; regimes and societies marching in opposite directions; and spreading dissent both within the power apparatus and among the opposition.
Yes, the Islamic Republic has not arrived at a Gorbachevian renunciation of force. It is not yet open to compromise, despite calls for moderation from prominent clerics and now, it seems, from some senior army officers. It is still, in the words of the opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, sending its Revolutionary Guards and Basiji militia to chase “shadows in the street.”
I don’t know how long this situation can endure. Anyone who claims to be able to tell the Iranian future is lying. But it seems clear that the “political clock” has now outpaced the “nuclear clock.”...
You remember the Holocaust, don't you Roge? It was in all the papers (even, at some point, in the New York Times).