From a reader:
Jonah, This is what puzzles me. Iraq’s government appears to have a fragile hold on its country while Iran appears to be firmly in control. This seems to confirm the pre-1989 view of the relative stability of democracies and dictatorship best expressed by Jean-Francios Revel in “Why Democracies Perish.” But after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, we were led to believe what Natan Sharansky has written in “The Case for Democracy,” that dictatorships are vulnerable political structures. Who’s right? Revel or Sharansky, if I may put the question that simplisticly.
Me: Personally, I think it’s more both/and rather than either/or, but I’m running out for a lunch and a hike. Back in a while.