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June 20, 2009

Iranian Digression

It’s now just over a week since Iran’s Presidential election, widely expected to show popular discontent with the incumbent, managed to do just that; but in ways that were unpredictable and potentially destabilizing. Even more significantly from my point of view, the past week’s events can be seen as a remarkably accurate metaphor for the systemic malaise plaguing our species.

From a strictly logical point of view, the fact that Iran’s President Ahmadinejad is an outspoken Holocaust denier who had received his government’s official endorsement for that view should have prepared us for the enormity of the claims surrounding that same government's report of his “re-election” a day later. While it was clear to all that the claims had to be bogus, what was left unresolved was whether they reflected ineptitude or contempt on the part of the power structure's "supreme leader".

As for the much debated political wisdom of Obama’s muted response, it’s still too early to know whether those who claim it’s just right, or his right-wing critics, who claim it’s craven, will prevail for reasons that are both similar and quite straightforward: not enough is known in the West for accurate predictions.

Similarly, does yesterday’s announcement by the “supreme leader” represent an accurate prediction of victory or wishful thinking? Can he rapidly crush the demonstrations? If he can’t, his grip on power may continue to weaken; even so, any new government that emerges will still be Islamic and predominantly Shiite, and thus hardly pro-American.

One truth most seem to (silently) agree on: thanks to Dubya’s war on terror, the US has neither the military nor the economic strength to intervene in Iran (or even North Korea, for that matter) thus we are reduced to a spectator role.

Given the present state of global affairs; that may be the safest course, but even that is uncertain.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 20, 2009 09:49 PM