Thursday, February 23, 2006

Iran steadily unveiling its North Korean future?

Rooz Online chronicles the continuing brilliant strategy of economic power that is Iran. This time, the propaganda machines are saying that about half the business execs in the country are anti-revolution.

Ahmadinejad's political strategies never have seemed to have found a class enemy they didn't like, so the notion that corrupt figures within the mullahcracy would be replaced with loyal Passdaran and Basij members is no giant intellectual leap. Not, of course, that this is going to do anything to improve the condition of the stock market or keep the business community from pulling a Caracas and effectively becoming invisible as it hides from the State. At this rate, as Rooz suggests, it's going to get to where actually making a profit is criminal.

At which point, one wonders... what will Iran do?
Yes, cause trouble. Duh. No kidding, Spanky. But the Iranian regime's ability to act abroad is directly linked to its legates. It has no meaningful legions it can send marching, and the government doesn't trust half its military in the first place. Iran's influence, in short, is primarily due to its financial muscle.

Oil money or no oil money, if the regime keeps killing the goose that lays the golden egg, it's going to slowly wind up where North Korea is, but without a serious military. At this point, nukes may be all that save it, because it is now in the position of being effectively the sole backer of the Sadrists in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and now Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza. If it can't provide monetary support to those pawns on the board, they become worthless, as geopolitically useless to Iran's government as Cuba was to the Soviets in the late 1980s.

And yet, by its very nature, the zahak in power cannot reverse gears and actually allow the policies that would give Iran a thriving economic base from which to truly project power... if matters continue along the time-proven trajectory, it will be no surprise if shortages follow, just as Venezuela, (Venezuela!) is now suffering oil shortages.

All of which bodes poorly for the Iranian people so long as they continue to demonstrate that they crave freedom, but are unwilling to fight for it. As was once quoted in Transylvania to explain why the Vlachs would not revolt against Ceaucescu, "oatmeal does not explode." The regime is relentlessly unpopular, but so far, a bus driver's strike in Tehran seems as close as the Iranians have managed to come to co-locating a match and a fuse. The Iranians deserve better than the prospect of lingering on in Cuban or North-Korean-style misery, if they will only dare to roll the dice.

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