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What to do with Iran
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/...bia-228170

Interesting discussion on what to do with Iran. Authors can't let go of their TDS, but its still an interesting perspective.

They think the US should warn Saudi Arabia (!).
Tell the Saudis we won't get involved unless directly attack.
Tell the Iranians we aren't doing anything now because we are mature but we have red lines (very Obamaish).
Let the Europeans work around sanctions.
Reinstate the nuclear deal.

"...For generations past, policymakers have often agonized over the possibility that actions they are poised to take will provoke exactly the behavior they are seeking to deter. Under conditions of uncertainty and where outcomes are consequential, the agony is understandable, even admirable. But in this case, hawks who believe a U.S. military strike on Iran will deter rather than provoke further Iranian military attacks and ensure the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf are deluding themselves, members of Congress, the American public, and our allies in Europe and Asia. If there is a way out of the current crisis, we will have to talk our way out of it, and not depend on cruise missiles to convey the talking points."

Authors make some good points. But their judgement is clouded by hatred of President Donald Trump, hatred of Saudi Arabia and an ignorance of what Iran represents. It looks like more of the failed policies of the Obama administration.
On the other hand, there don't appear to be a lot of good options. I agree with them that regime change is not happening. But we can keep the pressure up like we successfully did with Ghaddaffi.
09-28-2019 10:23 AM
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RE: What to do with Iran
The part nobody talks about is Iran's imperial ambitions. They want to restore the ancient Persian Empire, from Kabul to Aden to Cairo to Istanbul. They showed their hand in 1935, when they changed the name of their country from Persia to Iran. The word Iran has no direct translation from Farsi, but loosely means, "Empire of the Aryan People." The message to Hitler, "Send us some tanks and Messerschmidts, and we'll meet you at the Bosporus." The Arab leaders know this and it scares them.

I don't think we reinstate the Iran agreement, at least not without some changes. Basically, inspections are ineffective unless you can inspect anywhere, anytime, with short or no notice. The damage is pretty much already done. We should have structured the return of the frozen funds in tranches, say 10% per year for 10 years, contingent on good behavior by Iran. But that ship has sailed, so we have to make the best we can of the situation.

Iran wanted to get their money back and be able to continue bad behavior. Obama and Kerry wanted a piece of paper. Both sides got what they wanted.
09-28-2019 02:15 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(09-28-2019 02:15 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  The part nobody talks about is Iran's imperial ambitions. They want to restore the ancient Persian Empire, from Kabul to Aden to Cairo to Istanbul. They showed their hand in 1935, when they changed the name of their country from Persia to Iran. The word Iran has no direct translation from Farsi, but loosely means, "Empire of the Aryan People." The message to Hitler, "Send us some tanks and Messerschmidts, and we'll meet you at the Bosporus." The Arab leaders know this and it scares them.

I don't think we reinstate the Iran agreement, at least not without some changes. Basically, inspections are ineffective unless you can inspect anywhere, anytime, with short or no notice. The damage is pretty much already done. We should have structured the return of the frozen funds in tranches, say 10% per year for 10 years, contingent on good behavior by Iran. But that ship has sailed, so we have to make the best we can of the situation.

Iran wanted to get their money back and be able to continue bad behavior. Obama and Kerry wanted a piece of paper. Both sides got what they wanted.

The article claims Iran has no imperial ambitions. I don't know if they want to dominate the Middle East, but I do know they want to strengthen the Shiites across the Middle East (my comment that they are ignorant of what Iran represents) and they are the Mecca of Shia Islam.
(This post was last modified: 09-28-2019 02:56 PM by bullet.)
09-28-2019 02:55 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.
(This post was last modified: 10-01-2019 11:03 AM by Captain Bearcat.)
10-01-2019 11:00 AM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-01-2019 11:00 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.

That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.
10-01-2019 02:23 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
And it would give the Mullahs lots more money to fund terrorism.
10-01-2019 02:23 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(09-28-2019 02:55 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(09-28-2019 02:15 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  The part nobody talks about is Iran's imperial ambitions. They want to restore the ancient Persian Empire, from Kabul to Aden to Cairo to Istanbul. They showed their hand in 1935, when they changed the name of their country from Persia to Iran. The word Iran has no direct translation from Farsi, but loosely means, "Empire of the Aryan People." The message to Hitler, "Send us some tanks and Messerschmidts, and we'll meet you at the Bosporus." The Arab leaders know this and it scares them.
I don't think we reinstate the Iran agreement, at least not without some changes. Basically, inspections are ineffective unless you can inspect anywhere, anytime, with short or no notice. The damage is pretty much already done. We should have structured the return of the frozen funds in tranches, say 10% per year for 10 years, contingent on good behavior by Iran. But that ship has sailed, so we have to make the best we can of the situation.
Iran wanted to get their money back and be able to continue bad behavior. Obama and Kerry wanted a piece of paper. Both sides got what they wanted.
The article claims Iran has no imperial ambitions. I don't know if they want to dominate the Middle East, but I do know they want to strengthen the Shiites across the Middle East (my comment that they are ignorant of what Iran represents) and they are the Mecca of Shia Islam.

I think the article is wrong on that point.
10-01-2019 03:23 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
At some point I would be willing to nuke their facility (it is probably hardened against conventional weapons) rather than let them have nuclear weapons. Although I would prefer Israel take care of it.

And I would let them know that if nuclear materials got out and were used by terrorists, the price for them would be far worse.
10-01-2019 04:47 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-01-2019 04:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  At some point I would be willing to nuke their facility (it is probably hardened against conventional weapons) rather than let them have nuclear weapons. Although I would prefer Israel take care of it.

And I would let them know that if nuclear materials got out and were used by terrorists, the price for them would be far worse.

Bullet we have weapons that could take that out without using a nuke. The question is do we want to reveal them yet?
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-01-2019 05:36 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 04:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  At some point I would be willing to nuke their facility (it is probably hardened against conventional weapons) rather than let them have nuclear weapons. Although I would prefer Israel take care of it.

And I would let them know that if nuclear materials got out and were used by terrorists, the price for them would be far worse.

Bullet we have weapons that could take that out without using a nuke. The question is do we want to reveal them yet?

Letting them have a nuke is worth revelation. We don't want capital R Revelation.
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-01-2019 07:30 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 05:36 PM)JRsec Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 04:47 PM)bullet Wrote:  At some point I would be willing to nuke their facility (it is probably hardened against conventional weapons) rather than let them have nuclear weapons. Although I would prefer Israel take care of it.

And I would let them know that if nuclear materials got out and were used by terrorists, the price for them would be far worse.

Bullet we have weapons that could take that out without using a nuke. The question is do we want to reveal them yet?

Letting them have a nuke is worth revelation. We don't want capital R Revelation.

Sent you a PM. Our policy is not to use a first line defensive or offensive weapons system until it has been exceeded in ability by a succeeding system. But I'm sure we have some with better backups ready to go which would provide an effective non nuclear option.
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-01-2019 02:23 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 11:00 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.

That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.

It did work with Spain, Greece, Chile, South Korea, and arguably South Africa. They were all dictatorships or police states where the US maintained trade relationships. The trade relationships strengthened the opponents of the regime and eventually forced free elections and a transition to Democracy.
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-02-2019 08:58 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 02:23 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 11:00 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.

That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.

It did work with Spain, Greece, Chile, South Korea, and arguably South Africa. They were all dictatorships or police states where the US maintained trade relationships. The trade relationships strengthened the opponents of the regime and eventually forced free elections and a transition to Democracy.

There were substantial restrictions with Chile and a boycott of South Africa. South Africa didn't move until the boycott started to hurt the upper class there.

And Spain, Greece, Chile and South Africa had westernized leaders. South Korea was dependent on us for their survival.
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-02-2019 11:08 AM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 08:58 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 02:23 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 11:00 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.

That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.

It did work with Spain, Greece, Chile, South Korea, and arguably South Africa. They were all dictatorships or police states where the US maintained trade relationships. The trade relationships strengthened the opponents of the regime and eventually forced free elections and a transition to Democracy.

There were substantial restrictions with Chile and a boycott of South Africa. South Africa didn't move until the boycott started to hurt the upper class there.

And Spain, Greece, Chile and South Africa had westernized leaders. South Korea was dependent on us for their survival.

I don't know what "Westernized" has to do with it. Pinochet was "Westernized," but then again so was Hitler. Pinochet was pretty brutal with his political opponents. What were the trade restrictions with Chile?


I think the difference with China is that there is a highly centralized authority that runs everything. Chinese culture places high value on deference to authority. China has always had highly centralized authority, and any opposition is grass roots and at the fringes of the empire. Every Chinese empire that fell started to unravel at the fringes first.


Iran is different than China, because the central authority isn't as powerful or as organized. So they can't dominate everything.
10-02-2019 06:07 PM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-02-2019 06:07 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 11:08 AM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 08:58 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 02:23 PM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 11:00 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  I know several Iranians from work. One of them is a very good friend and we talk about this frequently.

In his opinion, the Mullahs are definitely 100% working on a nuclear bomb. They know that the difference between Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il/Un is that Kim has nukes.


He also thinks that the West seriously underestimates the opposition that the Mullahs face from the Iranian people.

The Mullahs have little support in Tehran. Tehran is a HUGE city (15 million) that is actually fairly liberal (even by 2000-era US standards) and highly educated. There's 5 real universities with over 100,000 students in Tehran. There's also many liberals in the other bigger cities (Isfahan, 3.4 million; Mashhad, 2.8 million; Tabriz, 1.6 million; Qom, 1.2 million). In a country of 82 million the urban liberals are outnumbered, but they're still a force to be reckoned with.

They don't have much support from ethnic minorities. The country is only 61% Persian - there's significant areas dominated by Azerbaijanis (16%), Kurds (10%), Turkmen (2%, related to Turks), and other groups.

The Mullahs actually do have some surprising support from religious minorities. Although the state religion is Shia Muslim, almost 10% of the population is Sunni. Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are also officially recognized by the government and have reserved seats in the Parliament. The religious minorities have their own government-funded school systems and are given considerable autonomy. The government's propaganda loudly claims that they treat minorities better than the Saudis (which is certainly true), Israelis (which may be true), and even better than the USA (which is a gross exaggeration but is widely believed).


My friend claims that the Mullah's biggest strength actually derives from US sanctions. With sanctions in place, all economic activity runs through the Iranian government. If there were no sanctions, Iran's liberals and minorities would be free to make contracts with the outside world. This would allow the opposition to build wealth and power, and challenge the Mullahs. I don't know if that's true, but he has pretty good judgement on other things and hates the Mullahs with a passion.

That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.

It did work with Spain, Greece, Chile, South Korea, and arguably South Africa. They were all dictatorships or police states where the US maintained trade relationships. The trade relationships strengthened the opponents of the regime and eventually forced free elections and a transition to Democracy.

There were substantial restrictions with Chile and a boycott of South Africa. South Africa didn't move until the boycott started to hurt the upper class there.

And Spain, Greece, Chile and South Africa had westernized leaders. South Korea was dependent on us for their survival.

I don't know what "Westernized" has to do with it. Pinochet was "Westernized," but then again so was Hitler. Pinochet was pretty brutal with his political opponents. What were the trade restrictions with Chile?


I think the difference with China is that there is a highly centralized authority that runs everything. Chinese culture places high value on deference to authority. China has always had highly centralized authority, and any opposition is grass roots and at the fringes of the empire. Every Chinese empire that fell started to unravel at the fringes first.


Iran is different than China, because the central authority isn't as powerful or as organized. So they can't dominate everything.

You mentioned Chinese culture. That is why westernized is a factor. The values and motivations in Europe are different than China and Iran. So what influence and reactions generated by economic pressures or military actions have different effects.

We've been open with China and they have become more totalitarian. Kindness to Iran means terrorism is easier for them. The people go along.
10-03-2019 08:12 AM
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RE: What to do with Iran
(10-03-2019 08:12 AM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 06:07 PM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 11:08 AM)bullet Wrote:  
(10-02-2019 08:58 AM)Captain Bearcat Wrote:  
(10-01-2019 02:23 PM)bullet Wrote:  That philosophy didn't work with China. It strengthened the bad elements.

It did work with Spain, Greece, Chile, South Korea, and arguably South Africa. They were all dictatorships or police states where the US maintained trade relationships. The trade relationships strengthened the opponents of the regime and eventually forced free elections and a transition to Democracy.

There were substantial restrictions with Chile and a boycott of South Africa. South Africa didn't move until the boycott started to hurt the upper class there.

And Spain, Greece, Chile and South Africa had westernized leaders. South Korea was dependent on us for their survival.

I don't know what "Westernized" has to do with it. Pinochet was "Westernized," but then again so was Hitler. Pinochet was pretty brutal with his political opponents. What were the trade restrictions with Chile?


I think the difference with China is that there is a highly centralized authority that runs everything. Chinese culture places high value on deference to authority. China has always had highly centralized authority, and any opposition is grass roots and at the fringes of the empire. Every Chinese empire that fell started to unravel at the fringes first.


Iran is different than China, because the central authority isn't as powerful or as organized. So they can't dominate everything.

You mentioned Chinese culture. That is why westernized is a factor. The values and motivations in Europe are different than China and Iran. So what influence and reactions generated by economic pressures or military actions have different effects.

We've been open with China and they have become more totalitarian. Kindness to Iran means terrorism is easier for them. The people go along.

Iran is more Westernized than you think.

We brought a ton of the Shah's soldiers to the USA for training and education in the 60s and 70s. Most of them love the USA. They lost to the Mullahs, but they're still around and they've passed their values to their kids & grandkids.

Everyone in Iran has been watching US tv since the 80s on Iraqi or Turkish OTA channels. It's illegal, but everyone does it.

Iran's culture is not like China at all. It's not even like Iraq. It's more similar to what the Czechs and Poles and Yugoslavians were before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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