Quote Of The Day (Part Deux)

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 9, 2010


In at least 3 respects, the lessons from Sharansky and Reagan might be relevant here. First, it is a standard part of the playbook of dictatorial regimes to accuse their dissidents of being tools of the West. While Western governments need to act with prudence and be mindful of local conditions, the tiresome canard of being “American agents” should not deter principled support for human rights activists. Second, Reagan demonstrated that nuclear negotiations do not have to be separated from human rights, but can be linked together, particularly when both are connected to the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the regime. Third, Western support — even just rhetorical support — for dissidents can be encouraging and even game-changing in assuring them that they are not alone. Hence the joy among Sharansky’s fellow inmates on learning of Reagan’s words; hence the chants of Iranian protestors “Obama, Obama — either with us, or with them!”

Will Inboden. Longtime readers will not be surprised to find out that I think point 2 is especially noteworthy.

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