Mittwoch, September 06, 2006
Here are several posts put together because they tie in. Again, hat tip to Watching America, which gives a great round-up of non-American news and opinion on US politics and policies, but isn't limited to that.
First of all, the purging of Iran's universities of non-conformist thinkers resembles very much the "Gleichschaltung" of the early days of the Nazi regime in Germany.
What is the significance of this move? First, obviously, it underscores the ability of the government to stifle alternative thought. The government decides, it happens. Secular professors have been "sent" into retirement and a cleric is now head of the University of Teheran, which sat just fine with the students (not). This, accompanied with a crackdown on independent journalists, websites and bloggers - quelle Horror! - points to increasing control over what the Iranian population may see (remember, satellite dishes are increasingly dangerous to their owners!).
Control over the information that the masses see and hear is one of the prerequisites for successful radicalization of those masses. And the radicalization of the Iranian people is what the government wants: Iran is, for the mullahs, still too moderate for their needs. Not for their tastes: for their needs. The key point here is as well the denial of employment for those who do not toe the party line, for those whose opinions are not "correct". This is also a key development in the entrenchment of a fascist government in running any country: alternatives to the government and the government's ideology are not only not desired, but holding alternative political opinions is hazardous to your economic well-being.
And the opposition to these moves is heavily splintered and pursue contrary goals, meaning that there is no organized resistance, virtually ensuring that the fascistic control of the economy and politics (in the widest sense of the word) can be implemented fairly quickly.
Second of all, what is the core of the Iranian ideology, after one has removed the religious aspects? it is geopolitics, i.e.the direct linking of natural resources with political ambitions and foreign policy. In this article the link with one of Iran's erstwhile allies, Venezuala, should be clear. We have countries with massive oil reserves being taken over, as it were, by ambitious and ruthless politicians who appear to be dedicated geopoliticians and who want to create, effectively, a new world order of fascist cooperation.
Sort of like Germany, Italy and Japan before WW2, the Axis powers. President Bush didn't label countries like Syria, Iran and North Korea as the "Axis of Evil" for nothing: this is the rebirth of an obsolete political school, of geopolitics and the concurring belief that it is control over natural resources that determines international standing and political power.
Of course, this leads to my third point. geopolitics almost invariably sees the world as a zero-sum game, which has become, I think, thoroughly discredited in the wake of WW2 and, for instance, the post-war development of Japan as an economic powerhouse with little or no desire and ability to control natural resources.
And the Japanese link is relevant: will Iran follow the example of pre-war Japan and make the same kind of mistakes and miscalculations of judgement that led it to be blind to the potential of its enemies and vastly over-confident in its own? This article points to exactly this conclusion.
But even more to the point, the article points to the role that Ahmadinejad is playing that the Shah of Iran played before his collapse, that of regional hegemon. The gulf states back then rejected this, as they are rejecting this role today: the irony, of course, is that this rejection back then, as the Shah's attempts to intimidate his neighbors were public and helped undermine his authority at home when they failed, helped weaken his authority and helped his downfall.
Is Iran set to repeat history?