Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Fog Over Channel, Continent Cut Off"

That was a famous headline in the London Times many years ago, when the sun never set on the Empire, but couldn't work its way through to London, either.

I continue not to know what to say about the turmoil in Iran. Which is too bad, since cyberspace is chock-full of all sorts of commentary from folks who are quite certain about it all. Well, I'm not. I know who the Bad Guys, are, for example, but not who the Good Guys are. I think I know what the one side wishes to achieve, have however not the slightest idea what the other camp wants. Nor am I convinced there are two camps: perhaps there are five? I could easily write a long post about all the things I don't understand, before explaining how I'd just love the events to vindicate whatever set of political beliefs and especially pet animosites that I harbor. Alas, none of that would make me any better informed.

Also, since we don't know how this chapter of the story is going to end, there's always the danger that if I pretend to know what I'm talking about three days will suffice to prove me wrong - and that would be embarassing. Most pundits normally have at least ten days between pontificating and being proven wrong, by which time no-one remembers any longer.

So I feel for President Obama, who is coming under growing criticism for not knowing what to say. I mean, the man has unbeatable resources and tools at his fingertips, from the CIA and the NSA all the way over to Rahm Emanuel, and still he's at a loss for words. (Obama!)

Searching for a way out of my perdicament, I stumbled across a book review describing a similarly confusing set of events in a faraway land and a very faraway time (2002. A totally different era which no-one living today can be expected to remember). It tells of the coup-that-wasn't-quite in Venezuela, and the reason I'm linking to it is that apparently it took seven years and lots of hard work to unravel the lies of the participants and the obfuscations of the pundits and begin to piece together a reasonable picture of what really went on there.

The Silence and the Scorpion: The Coup Against Chavez and the Making of Modern Venezuela


Anonymous said...

My pet-theory is that underlying it all is a fight of old men against another old man due to the fact that the present Supreme Leader has come by his title of Grand Ayatollah not by the usual ardent road but via a short cut. If I am right then we are witnessing a testing of his power via attack on a proxy.
How a de-throning of the Supreme Leader would influence the nuclear game is probably unguessable

zionist juice said...

funny story related to iran:
one of my lecturer (at tau) got a call yesterday from a radio station in sydney.
and they seriously asked him how the situation is in teheran.

Jack Steiner said...

I don't see any real distinction between any of these "leaders."

Yaacov said...

Well, there's the fact that Moussavi has vastly more blood on his hands, from his period as prime minister back in the 1980s. Ahmedinejad has despicable opinions, but hasn't killed masses of people.

Jack Steiner said...

Well, there's the fact that Moussavi has vastly more blood on his hands

I understand that. What I am "wondering" about is whether there is any significant difference in philosophy. From what I can see there doesn't seem to be.