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The State of the Opposition is Strong

Abbas Milani, TNR

A couple of days after June’s stolen election in Iran, Flynt Leverett and I were both guests on “The Charlie Rose Show.” Mr. Leverett was waxing eloquent about how Ahmadinejad could have actually won the election. His supposed evidence was a May poll, conducted by phone from Turkey, before the presidential campaign had even begun. Apparently he did not read the entire report of the poll, merely a summary, published in a Washington Post editorial. Much of the full report contradicted his conclusions. Moreover, anyone who believes that Iranians today will reveal their real electoral

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Adios, Monroe Doctrine

Jorge Castañeda, The New Republic

 

The ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has provided Latin America with a revelatory moment. Beginning with the Monroe Doctrine--and extending through countless invasions, occupations, and covert operations--Washington has considered the region its backyard. So where was this superpower these past few months, as Honduras hung in the balance? More or less sitting on its hands. The fact is that the United States is no longer willing, or perhaps even able, to select who governs from Tegucigalpa, or anywhere else in the region for that matter. Looking back at the history of the hemisphere, this

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And the Rest Is Just Noise

Jonathan Chait

American liberals have a habit of withdrawing into cynicism and ennui at the most inopportune moments. The 2000 presidential election, and subsequent recount, was one such moment. The most die-hard reaches of the left, deeming the Democratic Party hopelessly corrupt, rallied to Ralph Nader’s fulsome populist denunciation of Al Gore’s subservience to the corporate agenda. Among more moderate quarters, an attitude of wry detachment prevailed. (“G.O.P.-lite, Democrat-lite,” sighed Frank Rich, “For the 95 percent of the country unwilling to go for Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan, that is the choice, it always has been the choice, and it

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Speak No Evil

John B. Judis

The lines most cited in Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech were those about evil: “Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism--it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.”

These lines won approbation from both liberals and conservatives. Former Clinton aide Bill Galston praised them as an example of Obama’s “moral realism.” According to neoconservative Bob Kagan

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The Great Satan Myth

Abbas Milani

The Iranian regime has never found itself more vulnerable. And, with this vulnerability, it has never leaned more heavily on its own narrative of history. This narrative, of course, has a central antagonist, a character conjured as the “Great Satan.” As this Koranic moniker implies, the Islamic Republic ascribes supernatural qualities to its adversary: From far away in Washington, D.C., the Great Satan has the power to send hordes of stooges to shout in the streets and the remarkable ability to manufacture every ill in Iranian society.

The power of this narrative is that it goes beyond these

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