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Agree--except on Iran

Reader comment on item: Middle East Provocations and Predictions

Submitted by Dan Simon (United States), Sep 11, 2015 at 18:37

I agree with nearly all of your analysis, and especially your prescription of an intelligently self-interested US foreign policy that recognizes the value of Western liberal values but accepts the need for pragmatic alliances where necessary. However, I can't accept your take on the leadership of Iran. For apocalyptic religious fanatics, their behavior is just too similar to that of the commissars of the old Soviet Communist Party. In virtually every respect--their guiding beliefs, which teleologically justify their absolute rule; their use of the trappings of democracy and parliamentary government to mask their ruling party's shadowy totalitarian control; their cautious-yet-relentless use of subversion, proxies, terrorism and other unconventional, surreptitious means to extend their global empire; their willingness to impoverish their own people to fund their foreign power-grabs; their self-enriching institution of a virtual command economy; their exploitation of a hodgepodge of seemingly incompatible movements and ideologies such as anti-Semitism and radical leftism to further their own ends--they are dead ringers for their Soviet predecessors.

The Soviet leadership, as well, was once thought to be willing to wage apocalyptic nuclear war to destroy its enemies. But in retrospect, they were clearly far too enamored of their own power and privilege to put it all at risk. I'm confident that the Iranian leadership is similarly too focused on their own ambitions to be distracted by millenarian religious fantasies. I'm also confident that--like the Soviets before them--they are far less formidable and more precarious in their position of power than they sometimes seem, and that as soon as the West takes the trouble to undermine them in earnest, their empire, too, will come crashing down in surprisingly short order.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

You write: "I'm confident that the Iranian leadership is similarly too focused on their own ambitions to be distracted by millenarian religious fantasies." I did not write anything contrary to this.

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