The Islamic Republic -- Now With Nukes

Looks like talks with Iran are rapidly approaching their breaking point and the EU is murmuring about a security council referral. Hmm. You know, I'm kinda conflicted about this. On the one hand, I don't much want Iran to have a nuke. I'm not really of the mind that they'll do a handoff to Hezbollah, but then, the country is unstable and amid revolution lots of nasty things can be done by insane people, so all things considered, I'd prefer them nukeless.

On the other, Iran is really an interesting case of a country. We tend to group that whole region together as run by Islamofascists, but it's really not true. Only Iran and pre-invasion Afghanistan fit that, the rest of the countries are run by tyrants with an opportunistic relationship to Allah, not a real commitment to run their affairs off fatwa. But the Islamic Republic of Iran is, of course, very poorly run. Khomeini, who led the revolution, offered such vague rhetoric and soft plans that he united the professionals, the urban poor, the lower middle class, the technocrats, the leftists -- everyone thought they'd have a part in the product.

One revolution and a few purges later, folks know that the Islamic Republic isn't much interested in modernity beyond what it needs to give up to stay in power. So Iran's society has cracks, lots of them. And its leaders operate in the time-tested way of overwhelmed, underliked dictators -- they try to unite by manufacturing outside persecution. If we get Iran to the security council and slap sanctions on them or bomb a nuclear plant, we delay the day when the society needs to figure itself out and reconcile its own contradictions. And the sooner that comes, the sooner the Islamic Republic is, finally, discredited, not just in Iran but elsewhere.

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