T Nation

Geopolitical Catch-all


Nothing will change if you kill him. Some other asshole will just take over. Long term, you need to remove the regime, free the people, and reunite Korea.


Read a really fascinating book once (fiction, but “historical fiction” if you will) called The Assassin’s Gallery that delved into this topic a little bit. It whirls around a plot to kill FDR near the end of WW2 and a scholarly history professor/trained assassin that’s brought in to try to stop the plot, but there’s a good deal of historical discussion and perspective in the book. One of the discussion points in the book that comes up a few times was/is “how often does a politically motivated assassination actually change the course of history?” (the implication being that in many cases, the course of “history” may proceed unaltered because of exactly what you mentioned here). At one point, when the professor is still in the classroom before he’s pulled into the plot, he poses the question to his class of whether killing Hitler in the early 30’s would have actually prevented WW2 or even meaningfully changed the course of things. A fun thought experiment.


It’s definitely an interesting discussion. In Hitler’s case, killing him may not have prevented WW2, but it might have stopped the Holocaust. I don’t know enough about pre-Hitler antisemitism in Germany to opinion one way or the other. I think it’s a special case so to speak.

As it relates to Kim Jung Un, he’s just a run of the mill dictator as far as I can tell. A piece of shit to be sure, but not special. His nuclear ambitions make him especially dangerous, though, imo.


German and Austrian Jews pre-WW1 were the most integrated into their host societies from all diaspora groups, dramatically over represented not only in commerce and finance but also in the army, especially among the officer corps - no wonder all first Zionists were Austrian or German Jews.

During WW1, the Jews in the Pale of Settlement usually celebrated the arrival of German soldiers as the Russian soldiers per the Tsar’s decree were ordered to shoot all Jews before retreating.


What’s the latest in Iran?

Was reading about some large protests specifically against Rouhani in several cities.


Except urban elites, the people in general aren’t seeing any tangible benefits from supposed sluggish economic recovery due to sanctions relief and are having problems paying their bills and feeding their families. Youth unemployment is rampant, and even people with top university degrees have trouble finding meaningful employment unless they’re connected to the regime.

The countryside is ravaged by a massive heroin epidemic and people simply cannot take it anymore.

Also, massive inequality, with these two groups of people worlds apart basically rubbing shoulders in the same city:

Meanwhile the regime is engaged in costly military adventures abroad in which it’s allegedly “winning” while their boys are coming back in coffins.

Unlike the Green Revolution which was primarily a middle class, urban affair, this seems to be a grassroots economic revolt that started in what could be described as the Alabama of Iran.

Supposedly, the IRGC tried to do some astroturfing but it backfired and people have summoned to courage to turn against Khameini himself.

Well see. Naturally, the worst thing Trump could have done was to tweet about it.


Bringing attention to unrest is bad? Will the regime crackdown more if there are tweets?


Yes, if Trump does that.

Helps the regime frame the protests as a regime change orchestrated by the US - the regime media is already delightedly showing the tweet everywhere and calling all those killed in the protests as “foreign agents”.

Iranians are fiercely patriotic and belief that the CIA or whomever is behind this will put them off from joining.


Okay. Is that why the story is under reported? Or is it just because western english-speaking news dropped the ball?

You would think the regime would crack down and propogandize no matter what. That’s kind of what despots do. Your position is he’s giving them more ammo.

Question for you @Loppar. What does an Iran without Komeni or S.A. without the Sauds look like? All of the strife in the ME is a SA/Iran proxy war. Would things get any better if Iran gets a secular republic?

Regime change is going bad all over the ME for the past I dunno… forever. What’s the meddling West to do at this point?


The Green Revolution in 2009 was clear cut - urban, educated middle class kids revolting against the oppressive tyrannical regime, beautiful women getting murdered by the riot police and the IRGC.


Right now, the situation is very confusing. Like I wrote before, the protests begun among the Alabamians of Iran and early, incongruous anti-Rouhani chants suggested this was astroturfed.

But in the meantime, they seem to have taken a life of their own, especially in the northwest of the country.

Here’s a nice string of tweets providing a detailed step-by-step overview from an Iranian-born Bloomberg analyst

How did you feel about Khameini weighing in on Charlotesville and BLM? Did anyone at BLM say “hey great, the Ayatollah tweeted his support for us”.

Honestly, Iran cannot be a secular republic - that’s too far off. But the fact is Saudis want them all dead and if they became more secular they would want them even more dead, if that makes sense.

For the Saudis and their ISIS guys, they’re takfirs (infidels) plain and simple and have to be killed. This is a war that’s been going on for the last 1300 years and shows no sign of abating. Of course the opposite also stands and Iranians would have no greater pleasure than exterminate the desert Arabs.

And when it comes to Saudis, all parts of the Iranian society are on the same page, according to the University of Maryland poll. Soleymani is the poster-boy for the anti-ISIS fight.


A UK arms deal too. Lost my temper at that one and emailed my MP and the foreign office on that particular outrage. Didn’t expect much in the answer, and got less than what I did expect.


If the Khomeni regime falls, it’ll be quite a slap on the, already crumbling, Obama record on Iran.

The tweets from Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes and Kerry indicate more than a little upset at Trump weighing in.

Very hard to follow what is going on at the moment, and the EU calling for equivalence doesn’t strike me as an admirable tone to take. The U.K. hasn’t overly impressed either, and Johnson seems more restrained that I thought possible from him.


No fucking way. The people rioting aren’t the urban middle classes from 2009. These are Iran’s “deplorables” or rednecks. That’s why, unlike in 2009, the protests are much nastier with more looting, destruction and casualties.

Very poor and very conservative - they’re rioting over spiraling food prices. It seems that this is way there was some initial reluctance from the IRGC and the police to engage with these protesters as they’re traditionally recruited from the same social group. It’s easy for them to kill supposedly rich urban kids who are “counter revolutionaries” and who have “strayed into heresy”, it’s another thing to kill your social and economic equals.

There are some excellent analyses by Iranian expats, and of course they’re completely ignored by Western pundits and talking heads.

But allegedly the main culprit for the protests is the State 2018 budget who’s big on cutting handouts and entitlements (well, for Iranian standards at least) and is derisively called “neoliberal”


I’ll read the links and get back to you, I’m happy to plead ignorance on it and am happy to defer to better on the ground knowledge.


As a rule of thumb one should always disregard articles about Iran that weren’t written by Iranian emigrants.

This is a rare example when an Iranian was given access to the MSM and is pretty much in line with what I’ve been writing here for years.

Unlike during the first decades of the post-revolutionary Iran, the rich now heedlessly flaunt their wealth. Until the mid-2000s, the gentlemen’s agreement among the embezzlers held that they keep a modest appearance at home and launder their money in Dubai and Toronto. In the most famous case, Mahmoud Reza Khavari, the former managing director of Bank Melli, made off with hundreds of millions of dollars and became a real estate mogul in Toronto. That generation cared about appearances and never dropped the veneer of fealty to the ideals of the 1979 revolution. Their millennial offspring, on the other hand, hardly care. Wealthy young Iranians act like a new aristocratic class unaware of the sources of their wealth. They brazenly drive Porsches and Maseratis through the streets of Tehran before the eyes of the poor and post about their wealth on Instagram. The photos travel across apps and social media and enrage the hardworking people in other cities. Iranians see pictures of the family members of the authorities drinking and hanging out on beaches around the world, while their daughters are arrested over a fallen head scarf and their sons are jailed for buying alcohol. The double standard has cultivated an enormous public humiliation.


Sound advice.


Is it true Komeni already fled? I head reports about ‘unmarked jet’ on the radio morning news.

Doesn’t look like this revolt will topple the regime.


“Iran’s “forgotten man,” the member of the working class who seemed invisible”

This reminds me of working-class “red” America. Whereas Iranians have little recourse other than demonstrations, working-class Americans voiced their displeasure by voting for Trump.


Shit’s going down


Let’s play a game of ‘who’s more corrupt’. I wonder if any of the below is true about Larijani… and what flavor or corruption Ahmadinejad is into.

"In a videotaped statement, Ahmadinejad spoke about Larijani sarcastically saying, “I have no children spying for the West, I have no brothers who are actively smuggling goods, and I do not steal land to raise my cattle.”