Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wolfowitz on Iran democracy

One of the more startling commentaries on what Obama should do about Iran has come from Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.

Wolfowitz on Iran democracy

0 comments

   One of the more startling commentaries on what Obama should do about Iran has come from Paul Wolfowitz, former Deputy Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld.

    Wolfowitz was a prime architect of the Iraq war, believing democracy would come easilly to that country. In Nov. 2002 he told me in an interview that post-Saddam Iraq (following our ouster of the dictator) would be like post-liberation (World War II) France. In other words, a DeGaulle figure - in this case Wolfowitz' friend Ahmed Chalabi, would return to Baghdad, as DeGaulle returned to France after liberation, and would be welcomed by millions en route. Then Chalabi/DeGaulle  would establish democracy and the Americans could go home.

     This stunning lack of comprehension about Iraq's history, culture and politics, should make Wolfowitz modest about prescribing policy for Iran. But no, this time he compares Iran to the Philippines, where US backing for people power helped oust Ferdinand Marcos.

     If Wolfowitz really thinks there is a comparison between the US relationship with Manila, where we had enormous influence with Marcos and widespread popularity across the country, and the U.S. relationship with Tehran - where an open endorsement of opposition leaders would give a hostile regime the perfect  opening to dismiss them as CIA stooges - then he understands Iran just as well as he did Iraq.

      Obama has already declared support for Iranians' right to express themselves freely, without any violent crackdown. If the regime pulls a Tiananmen Square crackdown, he will have to condemn this strongly, and to recognize that "engagement" won't yield the changes he hoped for.

      But strong US support for Musavi won't help the demonstrators; this is an Iranian struggle that will have to be waged and won by Iranians.   Just as Chalabi wasn't DeGaulle, Khamenei is not Marcos. Read some history, Mr. Wolfowitz, pleade!

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
0 comments
 
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

Trudy Rubin’s Worldview column runs on Thursdays and Sundays. In 2009-2011 she has made four lengthy trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past seven years, she visited Iraq eleven times, and also wrote from Iran, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, China, and South Korea.

She is the author of Willful Blindness: the Bush Administration and Iraq, a book of her columns from 2002-2004. In 2001 she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary and in 2008 she was awarded the Edward Weintal prize for international reporting. In 2010 she won the Arthur Ross award for international commentary from the Academy of American Diplomacy.

Reach Trudy at trubin@phillynews.com.

Trudy Rubin Inquirer Opinion Columnist
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected