Monday, February 11, 2008

Regime Change is a Pathetic Notion

Yossi Alpher, a former senior adviser to Isreali Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, and co-editor of the bitterlemons family of online publications, published an excellent new opinion editorial in The Jewish Daily Forward on February 6 in which he argues against the U.S. policy of regime change in Iran. He concludes:

"If Washington does agree to sit down at the negotiating table with Iran, it cannot permit itself to be perceived by Iranians as entering the talks with dirty hands. It cannot appropriate tens of millions of dollars to encourage Iranian civil society efforts, however admirable, that are understood by the regime as subversive, and perhaps here and there encourage dissident Iranian Baluch and Kurds to oppose the regime (while reassuring Iran with a smirk that regime-change is not official American policy), and still expect to engage the Tehran regime in dialogue on a level playing field.

"Whether talking to this regime will produce useful results is, of course, not clear. But it is certainly a more pragmatic option once we rid ourselves of the pathetic notion that, with a little push, or even a big push, the regime will collapse.

"If and when the theocratic regime in Tehran is replaced, its demise will, like the Khomeini revolution 30 years ago, be the result of domestic developments, not outside intervention. In the meantime, containment will be an easier task if we approach Iran without illusions."