Second issue is about a very hot issue: US 75 million dollars help to promote democracy in Iran.
Five bloggers including two Americans, one Finnish and two Iranians joined this discussion. We are delighted to have one of Shah’s Minister’s contributions, a leading intellectual and non blogger, from Belgium.
We can see people are really divided on this issue and have different approaches to US help to promote democracy. It is very interesting that most contributors have referred frequently to recent US interventions in Iraq, Eastern Europe to support their arguments about US budget to promote democracy in Iran.
1-Useless & Counter Productive: No to an Iranian Ahmad Chalabi!
Dr.Houshang Nahavandi, former Minister of the Shah, leading writer, prestigious French Academy’s prize winner believes that creating a few new radios labelled made in USA not only won’t weakened Islamic Republic but can straighten it. He says US has a lot of information but this information does not help to understand Iranian society. He adds US gets her information from Iranian who got educated in US and working in American governmental institutions. They say to Americans what they want to hear. He concludes Iran does not need Ahmad Chalabi to change! We can read in Persian his interview in Washington Prism.
2-Very Useful: Propaganda against Propaganda
The Spirit of Man a Canada based Iranian blogger considers this help vital to promote freedom & democracy in Iran. In his words:
“Iranian people are under constant media brainwashing of a religious regime which is trying to impose its own version of story on the people. Indeed, like I have always said, EDUCATION is one of the major factors to liberate Iran from the rule of tyranny and fortunately VOA TV & Radio Farda services provide this to the ordinary Iranians in a fair manner…. They seem to forget that it was the US support and pressure which helped Ukraine and Georgia to become democratic. And they should remember that no one can talk on behalf of the majority of Iranians. Most Iranians wish to see the clerical establishment to be gone completely and replace that with a democratic and freely elected type of government, be it the constitutional monarchy or a secular republic.”
Ahoo, a US based Iranian, is another blogger who has a positive approach to this project. She writes:
“A lot of people in Iran wrongly hold U.S responsible for the revolution. In general a lot of Iranians hold America responsible for what ever goes wrong in Iran! America should spend this money on propaganda. And it better be a strong propaganda. It takes a lot of work to neutralize what Tehran’s regime has done in the past 27 year.”
3- Maybe Positive Maybe Not: Planning Matters
Mary Jones, a US blogger based in Morocco and founder of Demologue, says:
“Although I do not believe that the $75 million requested by Secretary Rice to support Iranian dissidents will be effective in speeding the arrival of liberal democracy in Iran, I do agree with the principle behind the funding…..It is my opinion that this method of spreading democracy is ineffective. I cannot think of an instance where American support clearly led to the democratization of a country. In the cases of Russia (which is slipping back into authoritarianism) and Ukraine, American support was only effective because there was a strong native structure pushing for democracy. Thus, I support the idea of giving money directly to credible local activist groups, because I believe that local activists, rather than foreign NGO's, are the most effective force for democracy in any given country.”
Sampsa, a blogger from Finland, shares his opinion with us:
“In the past, US has had little success in propaganda war. People in Afghanistan and Iraq feel that their intelligence is being insulted with news they know is not correct.”
Christian Alexander an American blogger thinks: 1- contrary to Ahoo ( who shared her idea in second section) most Iranians are not anti American; 2- contrary to Spirit of Man he thinks history has shown disadvantages of this kind of help; 3-Positively he thinks that free media can be helpful. Blogger writes:
“I think that what is especially important in the case of Iran is the historical role the U.S. has played and how its interactions with the Iranian political system has been used by successive generations of policy makers. For the last several decades the common political war-cry has been one of staunch opposition to imperialism and foreign dominance. Increasingly, it seems that the Islamic regime use of this tactic as a justification for oppression has become worn out. However, misappropriated aid could re-legitimate this accusation and re-invigorate an anti-American form of nationalist sentiment in the population. On a positive note, I think that one can certainly look towards the increase in access to media sources as having a positive effect on the political situation in Iran. Scholars have already noted the liberalizing influence satellite television and Internet access has had, despite attempts by the government to ban or censor both. It seems that the development of media access therefore would be a good use of money.“
As we saw different contributors have different readings of history and events. Most consider money can be helpful to support democracy in Iran but according to previous experiences they are not optimistic the way that US government will handle that. Read More