: David Warren has visions of sugarplums dancing in his head at the thought of the mullahs’ collapse:
…when the world’s first, most successful, and longest-lived, “Islamist” totalitarian regime finally dies, the prestige of Islamic political fanaticism everywhere will be catastrophically undermined….
If the ayatollahs fall, the international Hezbollah terrorist network will be orphaned; the Syrian Baathist dictatorship will lose its main foreign ally and prop; the North Koreans will lose their principal weapons market; the nuisance of Iranian subversion will be removed from Iraq and Afghanistan; the last serious Russian influence in the region will evaporate; France will lose its chief remaining means to sow mischief against U.S. interests; and the U.S. will lose its only credible rival as a military presence in the Gulf.
It is moreover just possible that the world oil market will go into long-term glut, from the collapse of political obstacles to free trade. This would have various economic implications, debatable environmental ones, but two indisputable strategic effects: the permanent elimination of Saudi Arabia’s oil weapon, and the gradual removal of the oil crutch upon which the region’s economies lean. The very need for productive enterprise, to feed swelling young populations, will force free-market reforms that will change the nature of Arab society.
And this is before calculating the power of example, if Iran — flanked, Allah willing, by other successes in Iraq and Afghanistan — can establish a secular democratic constitution. The desire for it is overwhelming, and after the fall of first the Shah, and then the mad mullahs, Iran may have exhausted the alternatives. The prospects for a democratic constitutional order are better in Iran than in any Arab country, from the Iranians’ willingness to do it themselves. They do not require a foreign liberator.