Thursday, July 10, 2008



There has been much speculation regarding the reasons that Iran test fired some medium range, nuclear capable missiles the other day. Some say that the firing came in response to Israeli military exercises in the Mediterranean that looked like a dress rehearsal for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations. Others argue that the tests were a response to the presence of what the Iranians consider the occupation of their neighbor to the west by a hostile power bent on turning its military might in their direction next. Perhaps the test firings were years in the making and came in response to nothing.

Could it be, though, that this latest manifestation of Iranian saber rattling was an attempt to help the electoral prospects of Senator John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?)? Less informed readers might counter with a contention that I have surely lost my senses. Why, the Iranians would much rather have the pliable, naïve Barack Obama in the Oval Office than the stalwart, tough guy, take no prisoners John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) .

More thoughtful readers realize will examine history. As the ‘90s progressed, the mullahs’ grip on Iran was loosening. A large and growing share of Iran’s population had no memory of the brutal excesses of the Shah. Moreover, these young people had little use for the religious fundamentalism of the mullahs, but instead craved modernity and the material wealth that contact with the West could help provide. Unrest grew throughout the country despite, and indeed was exacerbated by, the hebetudinous attempts of the theocracy to suppress it. In short, everything was going our way in Iran; all we had to do was wait, and a new generation would be probably not friendly, but certainly civil, toward us.

Then George Bush came along. His foreign policy, which featured demonizing Iran as a member of the “axis of evil” and invading Iran’s western neighbor, thus putting American troops on Iran’s border, gave the mullahs a rallying point. Even if the typical Iranian had no use for the Ayatollah’s successors, surely he had to support his leadership in the face of a hostile superpower threatening invasion or similar mayhem. Every regime, some might say every government, needs a whipping boy, a bogeyman, and George Bush delivered the mullahs such a rallying point on the proverbial silver platter.

But now George Bush will soon be gone. The Great Satan will not seem so satanic, and perhaps not so great, under a president who talks of diplomacy and exploring avenues of peaceful, if not cooperation, diffusion of outright hostility. Such a situation would serve to undermine the grip on power of the current Iranian leadership. But if the Great Satan were led by a guy who is fond of singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran” and who talks openly of military action to solve the Iranian problem, then the Iranian populace would be cowed, forced to run into the arms of their theocratic leaders for protection. John McCain (Did you know he was a POW in Vietnam?) is the perfect prescription for continued theocracy in Iran, and the Iranian leadership knows it.

Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

Another missed opportunity for the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz gang to find some common ground with Iran was following 911 when the Taliban was on the run in Afganistan. It seems so long ago.

S n R

The Pontificator said...

Great point. They never seem to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.