21 June 2009
The Mullahs will win

I am sure I am not the only one who finds the protests against Iran’s stolen election exhilarating.  They raise the possibility of an end to an appalling regime and the beginning of a liberal, tolerant and progressive Iran and, by extension, a liberal, tolerant and progressive Middle East.  Which would be nice.  It’s just that I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Let me explain.  Ask yourself: what brings down an ideologically-driven tyranny?  In the case of Hitler’s Germany, Hussein’s Iraq and Pol Pot’s Cambodia it was invasion from abroad.  In the case of the Soviet Union (and by extension the Eastern European satellites) it was time.  The ideology had exhausted itself.  And that’s it.  Street protests, as China, Burma and Cuba have demonstrated, just get a lot of people killed.

Ah, you say, but what about Marcos or Apartheid or the Shah?  Just not ideological enough.  And the end of Apartheid - I suspect - had an awful lot to do with the end of the Cold War.

By contrast the Iranian theocracy clearly has a long way to go before it burns itself out.  Which is why it will survive.

So, why do ideologically-driven tyrannies last so long?  Ideas I would guess. Most people are not prepared to kill unless it’s for a cause.  But if you give them the cause…

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  1. It is not only ideology that dies. From the beginning of TIME, many civilizations, Nations and Mighty Empires(Roman and Persian), they are now known as history.
    Every thing in this universe is mortal.

    Posted by cisco certification on 14 July 2009 at 09:14am

  2. Apartheid was taken down from the inside. After they got rid of the Transvaal Nats (John Vorster etc) and the internationalised (Cape) Nats took over in the 1970s it was just a matter of time. If you want to look at one specific, clearly identifiable person who was very clearly part of taking it apart: Pik Botha.
    PW never knew what hit him until it was too late.

    Posted by Ghecko on 31 August 2009 at 03:28pm

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