Today I came across a recent article writen some time ago by Robert Kaplan, in which he spent some energy advocating the primacy of geography over ideas in all his usual "clear-eyed realism", but concluded with Iran and the battle for hearts and minds:
As with Russia, the goal of containing Iran must be to impose pressure on the contradictions of the unpopular, theocratic regime in Tehran, such that it eventually changes from within. The battle for Eurasia has many, increasingly interlocking fronts. But the primary one is for Iranian hearts and minds, just as it was for those of Eastern Europeans during the Cold War. Iran is home to one of the Muslim world’s most sophisticated populations, and traveling there, one encounters less anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism than in Egypt. This is where the battle of ideas meets the dictates of geography.
Best of all Ian Packer has a remarkable post on the situation in Iran and Obama's remarks about it, in which he urges us to trust the evidence of our eyes:
It’s remarkable how difficult it’s been for writers of many different ideological persuasions to say that scenes like this are shameful. The reason, of course, has everything to do with the wars of the Bush years, at home and abroad, which have left so many thoughtful people incapable of holding onto the most basic thought. But it’s a mistake to let your attitude toward historic events be shaped and deformed by the desire not to sound like a neo-con, or to sound like a neo-con reborn. Trust the evidence of your eyes.