Emily L. Hauser@emilylhauser
Also going to repeat that in all our talk about leaders & diplomacy, we mustn’t forget the Iranians – they voted for this. #Iran
#pt @emilylhauser which is why “threat” of the deal includes its making real a more complex view of the Iranian state
In other words, if Iranian voters demanded and received moderation, then to that extent at least the Islamic Republic (IR) is objectively or functionally democratic, is to that extent a mixed regime, a regime that we must view as at least potentially susceptible to evolution, already in part via suasion under the rule of public reason (unspoken but essential precept of “liberal democracy” as we justify it for ourselves).
By completing a deal, we therefore co-effectuate the realization or authentication of an objectively liberal-democratic tendency or potential in the Islamic Republic. We do not, of course, completely liberalize-democratize the IR. We offer it a partial and reversible, but all the same real and indispensable, for the moment undeniable, validation. Andrew Sprung grasped the notion as a political strategy, or diplomatic-political alternative to use of arms:
Want “regime change” in Iran? Empower the elected leader who wants to deal and was elected b/c he wanted to deal.
“Regime change” is, however, a sword that cuts both ways. For a brief moment during the last decade, the American regime became a regime changing regime, in the classic and unavoidable mode of becoming more like the enemy in order to fight the enemy. The widely perceived failure of the resultant policies set that change in reverse, however:
#pt @emilylhauser furthermore, *American* people also voted for a deal, twice – for better or worse, this is a meeting of democratic demands
And so we receive a partial but undeniable democratic validation in return.
On this level and to this extent, at least, the American liberal-democratic regime remains functional. Though neither of our last two presidential elections was a referendum on an Iranian deal in isolation, of course, there can be little doubt that the Obama candidacy, and the re-elected Obama presidency, represented the collective preferences evident in the will to negotiate, formed at great cost and through hard experience, as borne out in multiple opinion polls – generally reflecting two to one proportions in favor of compromise with the IR – and also as reflected most recently in the broad refusal to back military intervention in Syria, and in broad indifference regarding particular outcomes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and well beyond.
#pts @emilylhauser and symmetry extends to prior point as well, since for Iran deal realizes a more complex view of US/West than “satanic”
“Heroic flexibility” as endorsed by the Supreme Leader, now as ever, remains something of an oxymoron, or the best face possible from a religious-moralist and revolutionary point of view on the obvious contradictions entailed in reaching an agreement with the Great Satan, or, as contemporary Khomeinist ideologues apparently describe the West, “the global arrogance.” Symmetrically for Iran, reaching a deal with the West, and especially with the US, and specifically for the sake of the material welfare of the Iranian people, is consequential movement away from Islamic-revolutionary purity and simplicity. It does not end, but it points to the end of, to an alternative other than, a national career of martyrdom. It represents for now an opening or, as Obama put it famously, an un-clenching.
The unclenching should also should remind us that what Hawks most fear, or claim most to fear, the rise of Iran as a hegemonic power in the Middle East, would be a multi-sided process that would necessarily subject the Islamic Republic to change. That the IR might gain a kind of revolutionary second wind is conceivable, but any close consideration of its geopolitical predicament suggests insuperable constraints on its expansion, at least this side of the arrival of the Mahdi.1
Stabilization, cooperation, normalization, getting a haircut and finding a job in the world just like all of the other adults, is apocalypse for the party of apocalypse, not just in Iran.