Saber rattling at Iran, the progressive heaven of Detroit, and Minas Tirith in cake.

Iran appears to be moving toward a full-scale revolution. If you want to follow the unfolding events, Andrew Sullivan remains the best media source for first-hand reports and video.

And Stephen Walt makes an important point at Foreign Policy:

[T]his is an especially foolish time to be rattling sabers and threatening military action. Threatening or using force is precisely the sort of external interference that might give the current regime a new lease on life. If you’d like to see a new government in Tehran, in short, we should say relatively little and do almost nothing. I don’t object to making it clear how much the U.S. government deplores the regime’s repressive measures, but this is one of those moment where we ought to say less than we feel.

If you’re looking for a useful historical analogy, think back to the “velvet revolutions” in Eastern Europe. Neoconservatives used to argue that the rapid and mostly peaceful collapse of communism proved that rapid democratic transformations were possible in unlikely settings, and they used that argument to justify trying the same thing in Iraq. (We all know how well that turned out.) In fact, the velvet revolutions were a triumph of slow and patient engagement from a position of strength. The upheavals in Eastern Europe were an indigenous phenomenon and the product of containment, diplomatic engagement, and the slow-but-steady spread of democratic ideals through the Helsinki process and other mechanisms. And the first Bush administration was smart enough to keep its hands off until the demise of communism was irreversible, which is precisely the approach we ought to take toward Iran today.

 

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Pajamas.TV takes a look at Detroit, the poster child for progressive urban policies. I can’t embed the video (grrr), so you have to follow this link to watch it. The piece is 13 minutes long, but makes compelling coffee break viewing.

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If your brain is still sluggish from the weekend’s egg nog bacchanalia, there’s this: A scale model of the siege of Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings, made entirely of candy and cake. I’m no Tolkien fan, so I post this photo purely for the delight of others.

Did I mention that I don’t particularly care for cake or candy either? And don’t get me started on popular music, or Hollywood, or Facebook, or… Hey, you kids get off my lawn!

 

Brian Saint-Paul

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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