Friday, April 06, 2007


Brilliant piece by Spengler in AsiaTimes (one of my favorite commentators) on Iran.


Too much, I think, is made over the tug-of-war within Tehran, and too little attention is paid to Iran's underlying motives. Within as little as a decade, Iran will produce too little oil to export, and its economy will collapse, as I warned in several locations, most recently on December 5 (Civil wars or proxy wars?). Within a generation Iran will have half as many soldiers and twice as many pensioners. Driving down the price of oil to crush the Iranian economy sooner rather than later is a favorite scenario of American strategists - Victor Davis Hanson offers it up in his latest column - and the Iranians know better than Americans that the sand has nearly run through the hourglass. Iran's imperial ambitions, I maintain, express a unique solution to an otherwise insoluble problem, namely to grab the oil resources of southern Iraq, Azerbaijan, and perhaps even northern Saudi Arabia.
I'm still strongly convinced that Israel and the US will not allow an Iranian nuke. At least the current configuration of Olmert and Bush. I'm also equally convinced that while there are moderating forces within Iran, it is a nationalist country (the point of Spengler focusing on the critique within Iran of 300 as a nationalist not Islamic criticism) and all do not want Iran thwarted from perceived national rights.

But Spengler's larger point---not sure about his quick demise of the oil production--is that Iran is corrupt from within. This is the point of Barnett's analogy to Brehznev era Soviet Union. It still mouths revolutionary ethos, but it has no effect domestically. The Khomeneist rhetoric that is. There are of course strong Shia strains in the South, in rural and poorer areas, but overall in Tehran especially and among the young, the revolution has failed. Hence the one uniting factor--nationalism.

What this would suggest is a policy of containment and letting Iran break up from within. This is why I am strongly object to the war-rhetoric coming out of US and Israel.

A related article here by Amir Taheri that suggests a few low-grade confrontations to play the same game as the hostage taking. Such activity is bordering on serious consequences. I think Iran knew exactly what it was doing, showing it could match UN sanctions and had ways and means of retaliation.


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