Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Grasping At Straws

And Breaking Backs

In international news, weird stuff continues to happen regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. Just weeks after their stunning capture of British Royal Marines on the high seas, the incomprehensible dog and pony show that followed, and the eventual release of those folks, for no visible or logical strategic or psychological gain, The President goes and orders this sort of thing.

They're shaking down women for dressing too liberally.

(Now, while right-wing-faerie-dust-sniffing punditry may yammer about how awful this is, and how it proves how crazy Iran is, I would just like to offer this reminder that Saudi Arabia remains -at this time- our 'ally' in the GWOT, and they are far, far, far worse to their women over there in that wealthy little piece of real estate.)

But here's what this tells me: Ahmedinejad the Beard is grasping at straws to stay in power. His statments about the US & Israel? Provocative. Encouraging an us vs them mentality already acutely felt in the Islamic Republic due to the fact that they are surrounded by Sunni-run nations. This also plays to his base, the hard line folks. The capture of the Royal Marines (which SAWB and I spoke of not making any real sense) was an attempt to keep the nation unified against outside enemies, and keep minds off the fact that a nation so rich in resources is going through economic problems. Now this, the re-introduction of codes of behavior that were relaxed under his predecessor. Another play, strictly to his base, and one that will piss off the most dynamic demographic in Iran: those young folks whose support allowed his predecessor's reforms to take shape.

The bullies may yet be at the helm if the Islamic Republic, but as the Iranian people have proven several times in the second half of the 20th Century, they ain't a population afraid to rise up and get rid of a government that's pissing them off.

Even if they have to do it at the ballot box.

5 comments:

Dante said...

"Now, while right-wing-faerie-dust-sniffing punditry may yammer about how awful this is, and how it proves how crazy Iran is, I would just like to offer this reminder that Saudi Arabia remains -at this time- our 'ally' in the GWOT, and they are far, far, far worse to their women over there in that wealthy little piece of real estate."

Ooooooh, moral relativism. That's always a strong argument. Saudi Arabia might be worse to its women but as it stands they're not particularly keen on being a breeding ground for terrorist. They are also not actively seeking to build a nuclear weapon as far as we know. And did I mention they kiss the US's posterior at any given opportunity? Just because someone is our ally does not mean that they are not just as crazy as Iran. Austrailia is one of our biggest allies and that's about as crazy as you get. Have you seen the Wiggles? Fortunately the Wiggles aren't attempting to build a nuclear device or train terrorists so we can let it go for now as long as they keep cooperating with us.

liberalandproud said...

Where is Bin Laden from again? Wait, it'll come to me . . . Oh yeah, Saudi Arabia.

And I think you've got the hiney kissing thing backward. Seems to me the Bush family has been kissing royal Saudi hiney for some time now.

dadvocate said...

I can't think of too much serious to say about this, just a lot of bad jokes about why women should cover their heads and why some should. Although, I don't have a problem judging potential allies on the basis of how they threaten world peace and our national security rather than their dress codes. True, the rights and treatment of people around the world should be a concern, but we can't/shouldn't(?) force our cultural and social values down others' throats. Isn't that what tolerance and diversity are all about.

As the father of four children, I can testify to the terror that the Wiggles instill in hearts everywhere!

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Dante: it is not moral relativism on my part that right wing punditry will give the Saudis a pass while holding up abuses such as this as the 'reason' we don't get along with the Islamic Republic.

As far as who is a breeding ground for terrorism, go look at who attacked us on September 11th, tell me the nationality of 19 of those terrorists. I'm sure it won't be Iranian.

Go look up the term "Wahabbism," and see if you can find out where that particular ideological cul-de-sac comes from, and who it has inspired. I'm sure it won't be Iranian.

Now, don't get me wrong, there's some bad news bears coming out of the Islamic Republic. They ain't frens of ourn by any stretch.

But the bigger fish we should be tryin' to fry ain't Iranians.

DADvocate: You are right, in that realpolitik should govern far more of our foreign policy than dress codes. But it is our support for repressive regimes that has given rise to the governors of the Islamic Republic, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and let us not forget Iraq.

It is far easier, and cheaper, in the long run, to mold the people on our payroll to modernize and liberalize their nations than to continue to support tin-pots. Revolution comes to all places, and it is not in our democracy's interest to be on the opposite side of the pro-democracy movements. Sometimes, a popular revolt nationalizing their industries is a hit we can take financially, especially when the new government has to lease those industries back to us to keep them operating.

I just wonder how much realpolitik we are actually involved with when dealing with Iran.

It is like a foreign policy brain fart on the parts of many past Administrations: we could have had Iran democratic and modern and within our sphere of influence long, long ago. Like 1954.

I can only dream of what the Middle East would look like today if we had not reinstalled the Shah...

But the point is this: the Iranian people have proven that they are willing to overthrow repressive regimes, and they have been tired of their rulers for a long, long time. I'm hoping they will be game once again, and that this time, our government will end up letting it happen on its own.

dadvocate said...

But it is our support for repressive regimes that has given rise to the governors of the Islamic Republic, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and let us not forget Iraq.

You're correct. Saddam couldn't have survived without U.S. and other Western support during his early days. Foreign policy is a constant tightrope act in many cases. We need to support and promote democracy, equality, etc. as much as possible.

But pushing some societies into this too fast can be a great mistake. Our concepts of government, morality, equality, freedom of religion are very threatening to some peoples. When and where we feel changes are needed we need to try to put the needed changes in the best context possible according to their culture and try to keep the pace/pressure at a tolerable rate.

These changes often breed extreme violence as illustrated by the American Revolution, French Revolution, the assinations of Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and other.