Too young to have pondered it much at the time other than having a hearty contempt for Jimmy Carter's wimpishness and impotence. But in retrospect, I'd have been shocked if the Shah's overly rapid social-political liberalization of Iran (forced upon him largely by Carter) hadn't led to revolution, and an Islamist takeover was logical because Iran was (and is) deeply and overwhelmingly Muslim, and Muslim zealots were the single largest faction among the Shah's foes (others such as the communists and middle class democrats were overly cloistered in their sophisticated urban enclaves and underestimated the broad sentiment in favor of Islamism, especially in the rural areas). Many Iranians clearly want more representative government and more personal freedom, but Iran remains a seriously Muslim country, as witness prominent reformers and protestors justifying their actions and condemning the government's in the name of Islam. And Islam sets Allah's purported will above the citizenry's right to have all the laws of their liking. So I'll be very surprised if they do away with the theocracy, though they clearly desire for it to be less confining.
posted on 06/21/2009 9:57:44 PM PDT
So I'll be very surprised if they do away with the theocracy, though they clearly desire for it to be less confining.
Iran (Persian) has a long history of conflicts between secular rulers and religious rulers. This is simply the latest conflict. I am not saying the the mullahs will necessarily fall from power. I am saying that it is very difficult to predict the future. If you had told me in 1987 that the Soviet Union would collapse in a few years, I would have found it unlikely, but perhaps possible. But it did happen.
Whatever the result of the present conflict, it is clear that the clerics have serious problems at home. They have spent the last 30 years exporting terrorism all around the Middle East. But now it is clear that they don't even have control of their domestic politics. Change is definitely on its way in Iran. We will have to wait and see how rapid and how deep the change will be.
posted on 06/21/2009 10:14:31 PM PDT
("That if gold rust, what shall iron do?" --Chaucer)
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