Skip to comments.Iran's Ahmadinejad Far Weaker Than He Lets On( Victor Davis Hanson)
Posted on 12/28/2006 6:44:16 AM PST by kellynla
The Iraq Study Group, prominent U.S. Senators and realist diplomats all want America to hold formal talks with the government of Iran. They think Tehran might help the United States disengage from Iraq and the general Middle East mess with dignity. That would be a grave error for a variety of reasons - the most important being that Iran is far shakier than we are.
The world of publicity-hungry Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not expanding, but shrinking. Despite his supposedly populist credentials, his support at home and abroad will only further weaken as long as the United States continues its steady, calm and quiet pressure on him.
In Iran's city council elections last week, moderate conservative and reformist candidates defeated Ahmadinejad's vehemently anti-American slate of allies. At a recent public meeting, angry Iranian students - tired of theocratic lunacy and repression - shouted down their president.
By supporting terrorists in Iraq and Lebanon, enriching uranium and insanely threatening to destroy a nuclear Israel, Ahmadinejad is only alienating Iranians, who wonder where their once vast oil revenues went and how they can possibly pay for all these wild adventures.
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearpolitics.com ...
--great post --as are all by VDH--
Perhaps, but kill him anyway
VDH is an intellectual that defines intellectuals, unlike anti-semitic hacks like Chomsky.
I wonder if he does frat parties? I think he'd be a real moneymaker if he was part of a "dwarf bowling" act...
Iranian theocracy is based on an imperialist idea of spiritual supremacy. The only way to validate the ideological foundation of that uni-polar idea is to spread it. Not surprisingly, the Iranian government's bad idea has not found much traction in the world. The only way they've made any progress at all is by spreading around a toxic blend of chaos and cash. For those that recommend talking to Ahmadinejad, I would be interested to hear what they think American officials should say to him, but only after they've read his speeches and letters. He has backed himself and his country into an unapproachable corner. VDH is right on target as usual. Great post.
The United States always maintained open channels with the Soviet Union. After all - unlike with Iran or Libya - we had little choice when thousands of nukes were pointed at us and Red Army troops were massed on the West German border.
But Ronald Reagan nevertheless embraced a radical shift in U.S. policy by actively appealing to Russian dissidents. He used the bully pulpit to expose the barbarity of the "evil empire" in the world court of ideas. All the while, Reagan further enhanced America's military advantage over the Soviets to speed the regime's collapse.
After the fall, courageous Russian dissidents from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to Natan Sharansky did not applaud Jimmy Carter, who had smugly pronounced the end of his own "inordinate fear" of such a murderous ideology. Instead, they preferred Reagan, who had challenged Soviet Premier Michael Gorbachev "to tear down" the Berlin Wall. America came out ahead when we were on the side of people yearning for change rather than coddling the regime trying to stop it."
For starters, Hanson confuses two different issues: Ahmadinejad's administration and Iran's nuclear program. Ahmadinejad's government may well fall in an election or two, Iran's nuclear program preceded his Presidency and will almost certainly outlast it.
Second, a policy of "non-engagement" was practical in the case of Lybia because it is a country with little real ability to influence events outside it's borders. Iran - which has substantial and increasing influence in Iraq and beyond - is a quite different challenge.
Third, Lybia is a dictatorship, the only way to influence its behavior is to influence Gaddafi. Iran has a much more complicated political structure composed of multiple competing power centers operating in a situation in which quot;public opinion" has real if limited ability to influence policy.
A Realist point of view would take into consideration that any "talks" would require concessions, most likely on Iran's nuclear issue. Therefor talks would be a total waste of time and also provides American diplomatic and political legitimacy to those who don't deserve or appreciate it. Any talks would be used by the Iranians to project a weakened and desperate U.S. asking for help strengthening Iran's political clout.
That's an interesting perspective. Can you cite one or more examples of Iranian "public opinion" influencing policy in Iran? By influence, we are talking about political influence - not militant coersion drivin by corruption and Islamic revolutionary zeal.
"When you are weak, act strong. When you are strong, act weak" - Sun Tzu.
Let me know if you want in or out.
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VDH is a great historian but as usual I find people betting on the will of the people to overcome totalitarianism and history shows that the people rarely are capable of doing so.
How many years did we read about such in regards to the Soviet Union? And of course Saddam showed little sign of losing his grip of fear on the populace as is so often the case in such socieities.
Having said that, the wheels of history would change for the better if the Iranian people were able to throw off their oppressors. I'm afraid that won't happen.
"Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick" - Theodore Roosevelt
Sure: the man in the title of this thread, elected by the voters in a race between two main candidates, both of whom were conservative but who clearly had differing agendas - including somewhat different opinion on the role of religion in Iranian society - and different supporters. This was certainly far shjort fo teh degree of "choice" offered in many other countries, but its also far different from the role of citizens in Libya, or even Saudi Arabia.
Its also worth noting that the popularity of Ahmadinejads party declined in the recent election, inculding voting for the islamic body which will chose Irans next supreme religious leader certanly a choice of potnetially great consequence both witin Iran and outside its borders.
Irans citizens backed themselves into a nasty corner when they approved a constitution creating a theocratic state and without any provision for its revision, and its quite possible it with take another generation or two for them to find a way out this trap.
But IMO the fact that Iranians are getting into the habit of establishing the legitimacy of government via regular elections is an encouraging sign that eventually even the role of the theocracy will have be renegotiated on similar terms.
And BTW... it wouldnt surprise me if there was a reasonably stable and tolerant government in Tehran before the same was established in Baghdad.
The emperor may not be naked, but he is wearing only a thong.
Iran Oil Revenue Quickly Drying Up, Analysis Says
Middle East Transparent / AP ^ | 12/26/06
Posted on 12/28/2006 9:48:38 AM CST by Valin
Iran is suffering a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues income could virtually disappear by 2015, according to an analysis published yesterday in a journal of the National Academy of Sciences.
Iran's economic woes could make the country unstable and vulnerable, with its oil industry crippled, Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University, said in the report and in an interview.
Iran: Before it's Too Late
Asharq Al-Awsat ^ | 12/29/06 | Ahmed Al-Rabei
Posted on 12/28/2006 9:48:21 AM CST by Valin
With the current escalation regarding the Iranian nuclear crisis, I remembered the famous story about one political analyst who wrote on the subject of the inevitable collapse of the former Soviet Union. Many responded to his research with the following questions: did you not see the massive military parades in Red Square in Moscow? Did you not see the large-scale missiles and are you unaware of how many nuclear warheads belong to the Soviet Union? How can a continent with so much military power collapse under the rule of an iron-strong political party.
The answers were simple. The analyst stated that he had been to Moscow and had seen the line-up of soldiers and officers and knew the details of the huge military force, however this had no relation to his prediction of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He said, I was certain of this great nations bleak future when I saw long queues of Russians standing for hours to get a loaf of bread or a piece of meat!
Perhaps, but kill him anyway
RADICAL CONCEPT ALERT!!!
Another ironclad example of what happens when a country adopts protectionism and limits free trade.....
Agreed. Hitler was an unattractive bitter loser and his election was a fluke, to some extent. But unfortunately, when someone has a will to power, that seems to swamp just about everything else. And Ahmanutcase has it.
Memo to Pat Buchanan.
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