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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iran at the Center of the Universe

The Peacock Throne was once one of the most revered in the East. Even though it no longer exists in name, the mullahs of Tehran appear, by most measures, to have the same ambitions, namely, to rule their part of the world and all of the lesser civilizations therein. 

Today the responsible Europeans and their occasional American ally do not wish to see the mullahs get their hands on nuclear weapons. That is certainly a worthy aim. Persians are wonderful, charming people but they have never done very well wielding great power. It is hard to say why, exactly, besides a sense of lost grandeur they seem to have suffered from the beginning of time. They will get their weapons, and may threaten to use them if doing so enhances their sense of power.

Threats or humiliation will not work to deter these people. Fortunately they have a volatile politics, and some healthy manipulation of it has already worked a bit, but not enough. The only thing to do is to find a way, somehow, to give them all the prestige they seek without the concomitant power. It is too bad our old friend General de Gaulle is no longer around. He might have been able to help.

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“ surtout, pas trop de zèle “

 

 

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