Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Bush and ahmadinejad (Gary Sick)

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I hesitate to weigh in on this subject with so many interesting and insightful contributions already posted. However, since I've been doing a series of interviews, I have had to develop opinions on all aspects of the Iranian elections. Since everyone else is doing it, here are my own questions, comments and evolving views.

Ahmadinejad seems to have been the beneficiary of a populist revolt (in addition to a little polling station assistance from his friends in the Revolutionary Guards and Basij). A friend of mine compares this to the election of Communist mayors in Italy during the Cold War -- who were elected not because of ideology but because they were seen as separate from the existing corrupt power structure and more efficient. (That proved to be correct in many cases, but these were mayors, after all, not presidents.)

I think the populism of Ahmadinejad can be compared with the Chavez and Peronist movements, but I wouldn't want to press that too far, partly because I don't know enough about Latin America....

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