Why Not Kill Dictators with Kindness?

A year ago in Tehran, I noticed a defiantly goofy graffito inscribed on the wall of the old U.S. embassy building, the compound where the American hostages were held in 1979: ON THE DAY THE U.S. WILL PRAISE US, WE WILL MOURN. This was an official slogan--in Iran, as in America, graffiti are the work of miscreants, but in Iran the miscreants run the country--and it was an unintentionally revealing one: the mullahs are terrified of better relations with the U.S. Without the Great Satan, they have no excuse for, and no way to divert attention from, the dreadful brutality of...

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