Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iran's Tiananmen Moment?

The Ayatollah Khameni has warned that bloodshed will ensue if protesters take to the streets this weekend. He has announced that there was no fraud in the election and is clearly dismayed about the upheaval.

That has led commentators to ask whether this will be Iran’s Tiananmen. It could be. There is clearly a lot of dissatisfaction with the way things are going. This ranges from a sputtering economy to the lack of power the people actually have in the government. Today, people could still take to the streets despite Khameni’s threats and spark a showdown with the regime.

But in asking whether this is a Tiananmen moment, few observers seemed to remember what happened in China after the killings. Democracy stalled. Today, China is a place of substantial economic liberty, but not political liberty (though some strides have been made). People in China do not enjoy the same rights that people in the west do.

The point here is to keep in mind that just having a brutal confrontation with the Mullah’s will not guarantee democracy.

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