POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY GIDEON RACHMAN IN THE FINANCIAL TIMES
On the whole, a very perceptive column.
I believe two changes, both quite significant, are needed however.
Concerning the election in Iran, I do believe you have it a bit wrong. Yes, the election made Obama’s wishes more difficult, but no, the election was not illegitimate nor is there yet reason to believe the government is insecure.
You are following the common wisdom of corporate newspapers, a wisdom which seems little more than consistent support for American policy, however wrong-headed it may be on any topic.
"...left a permanent impression of the instability and illegitimacy of the Iranian government."
We have absolutely no solid basis for saying that the election was illegitimate. Several observers, very knowledgeable about Iran, including one scholar whom I heard interviewed at length, say that result was accurate. A lot of poor people in Iran like the current president.
The disturbances in Iran's streets have been at least in part fomented by CIA money. Have you forgotten that Bush earmarked $400 million in his late term for inciting trouble in Iran?
I believe that if I gave those who disagree with the government of any country - including certainly Britain or the United States - $400 million dollars towards subversion and propaganda, we would see trouble in any of them. Many Western governments represent minority opinions.
The story you missed, which I think marked a genuine historical turning point, is Israel's Operation Cast Lead.
Revulsion at the killing of about 400 children is worldwide, and the act further calls into question Israel's entire structure of unwarranted siege, apartheid, and slow-motion ethnic-cleansing in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Even the support of some American Jews is beginning to crumble for what is so clearly a brutal government with absolutely no intention of ever seeking genuine peace with its neighbors.