June 23, 2009
What should we make of the Iranian unrest? Is it really a revolution? Do the people in the streets want to overthrow what their predecessors did in 1979? Do they want to kick the mullahs out and restore true democracy, human rights and religious tolerance?
It is way too early to say, but we make a mistake when we think all demonstrations are the same. They are not.
We don’t know the intentions of the opposition. All candidates who ran in the presidential election were hand-picked by the theocratic dictators who run Iran. Would they have been selected if they opposed Iran’s nuclear bomb project, or favored a peaceful relationship with Israel, or supported equal rights for women? It is highly unlikely they would.
There is little the United States can do except watch and encourage real democracy. Some of my conservative friends who want the president to issue more powerful statements ought to be careful what they are wishing for. In the end, there might be radical change, or no change at all. The fact is that we just don’t know.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.