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The Soviet Khameini ?

Dr. Barnett has often used the analogy of the Soviet Union under the long rule of Leonid Brezhnev to describe the current Iranian regime:

“This article aptly captures what I saw similarly in the USSR in the summer of 1985: most people simply opt out. They’ve figured out how to make their private lives decent through a thriving black market and off-line alternative lifestyle and in their public lives they pretend to obey so the mullahs can pretend to rule.

This is the dropped-out mentality Gorby ran into in the USSR with his perestroika: basically everyone told him to go shove it cause they weren’t in the mood and there was nothing he could offer them. Thus, the Sovs’ sad decline pushed that train right off the tracks.

Watch Ahmadinejad’s hard-liner-approved reformist successor try to revitalize the masses through such tactics after Ahmadinejad’s crackdown tactics achieve nothing but more opting out in the face of the accelerating economic collapse.

Then watch the real change begin.”

I’m not up to date on the details of the Iranian economy, which is ( at a minimum) riven by underemployment, a youth demographic bulge, systemic corruption and underinvestment in critical sectors. Chances are, the Iranian economy, despite it’s problems and governmental mismanagement, have not reached the craptacular proportions of decreptitude that prevailed prior to the Soviet implosion. Nevertheless, some of the Soviet-Iranian parallels are striking:

Highly factionalized, undemocratic, leadership
Trend toward gerontocratic ruling class
Opaque decision-making process for strategic problems
Power is both centralized in government hands yet diffused at top levels, creating paralysis
Increasing reliance upon (and expansion of) paramilitary security forces to secure rule
Tightening of political censorship and “public morals” campaigns to appease ideological hardliners
Public alienation from and cynicism toward official state ideology
Rising nationalism separate from state ideology that both supports and undermines the regime
Rampant corruption at all levels of society
Diplomatic isolation
Dual centers of power in foreign affairs
Ideological hardliners in key positions to control security services rather than pragmatists
Critical economic questions are repeatedly ignored in favor of factional interests or ideological concerns
Increasing reliance on raw material commodity exports for government revenue

I’d be interested to know how Iranian towns and cities in the interior compare to Teheran in terms of services, material goods, poverty and like indicators.

2 Responses to “”

  1. Lexington Green Says:

    Best of all, Iran does not have a Strategic Rocket Force with thousands of ballistic missiles aimed the good old USA.

    I think the soft kill will work on Iran. It seems that Adjihadjimenhidabad is acting more shrill lately because he is desperate to get the USA to save his regime — by attacking him.

    Napoleon said never interfere when an enemy is in the process of destroying himself. We should be sending tens of thousands of tourists to Iran with duffel bags full of Western goodies to hand out. Embrace the people, asphyxiate the regime.

  2. tim Says:

    For one thing, Iran’s socialistic stupidity is depriving the government of wealth and is shoring up political problems:

    “TEHRAN, Iran — Iranians smashed shop windows and set fire to a dozen gas stations in the capital Wednesday, angered by the sudden start of a fuel rationing system that threatens to further increase the unpopularity of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

    “The government had been warning for weeks that rationing was coming, but the announcement of its start just three hours before the plan took effect at midnight Tuesday startled people and sent them rushing to get one last fill-up.”

    “The rationing is part of a government attempt to reduce the $10 billion it spends each year to import fuel that is then sold to Iranian drivers at less than cost, to keep prices low.”


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