Effect of military campaign on democratic reform efforts too indeterminate to factor into policy considerations
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Critics are likely to argue military action will help those in power in Iran to suppress the opposition, or make the opposition support the regime. However, the regime is going all out to repress the opposition anyway, and a weakening of the regime, following the military strikes, may provide an opening for the opposition. Moreover, experience in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the U.S.S.R., and Burma, among other countries, shows that we tend to exaggerate the likelihood that the opposition will win against brutal domestic regimes. Also, as the head of the reformers made clear to me when I was his guest in Iran in 2002, the reformers do not plan to fold the nuclear program. All this suggests that trying to figure out the vagrancies of Iranian domestic policies should not be allowed to determine our foreign policy when vital national interests are at stake.
The argument that an attack on Iran would reverse democratic reform fails to account for the oppressive nature of the regime already. While it would be hard to conclusively know what the results of an attack would be, an equally likely result is that an attack would embolden the population to rise up against a weakened regime.