The Impact of the Iranian Uprising on Other Repressive Governments

As I wrote the other day one of the most consequential stories of the early 21st century will be the struggle of the rising nations of the world with modernity and all that it entails - free markets, the global information revolution and of course the other part of what of what the West has been exporting - political freedom, rule of law and democracy. 

As the "world watches" what is happening in Iran, I've been wondering how these extraordinary images are going over in Caracas, Riyadh, Beijing, Moscow and the corridors of power of other less than democratic governments.   The events of the past week have raised the issues of political freedom and liberty in ways that are not always easy for the West to do.   My sense is that whatever the outcome in Iran - and we have to hope for the best each day - these events, coupled with the rise of Barack Obama in the US, are putting some issues on the global table that may be uncomfortable indeed for many important nations in the world today. 

Much has been written about the how events unfolding in Iran are crossing some kind of internal Iranian Rubicon.  Fareed Zakaria has a new essay to this effect.  But there is a strong argument to be made that the world is crossing that Rubicon right along with the Iranians, and that we wiill all be in a new place together after these extraordinary set of events.   I won't argue that we will begin to see street demonstrations in other parts of the world now, but there can be no doubt that the inconvenient and of course critically important issue of political freedom has been introduced into the great global conversation in a way it has not been for a long, long time.  And where that takes us is still to early to tell, but we do know that this new place almost has to be better than where we've been.