The Iranian Election

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I won’t even try to link to all the stories about the possible theft of the Iranian presidential election.  Just google it.  This could get very ugly, and very, very complicated for US foreign policy.

One thing that everybody who believes it was stolen is wondering is: why would the mullahs steal it so implausibly, with Ahmadinejad winning by a huge margin and winning every single region of the country?  It makes no sense, they say.  Maybe the mullahs panicked.

Somehow I doubt that.

I remember the last time nobody in this country could figure out why a Middle Eastern head of state was behaving so oddly.  That was Saddam Hussein, in the run-up to the Iraq War.  Everybody was asking: why in the world doesn’t he just let the inspectors back in?  Why not just come clean?  Is he completely irrational?

No.  He wasn’t.  He had a very good reason for holding out the illusion that he still had WMD.  It was just a reason that had nothing to do with us or the UN or oil-for-food.  It was Iran.  He needed Iran to believe he had WMD.  They were the most immediate threat to his regime; we were a second-order concern.

If it turns out that this Iranian election was stolen, my guess is we’ll eventually find out there was a perfectly rational reason for not only doing it, but doing it in such a facially implausible manner.  It’s just a reason that isn’t occuring to us because we don’t live in the region and we know darn near nothing about it.

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