Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Waiting Game: The Government and Youth of Iran

I came across this article on CNN today. The article does a good job showing how an Iranian government truly does business. I thought it was an odd play to call out President Obama who is not only extremely popular, but serves as the world's most famous figure as well. A famous figure that to this point has remained fairly restrained in his involvement in the Iran election crisis.

Also Thursday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the declared winner in the disputed June 12 election, told President Obama to stop "interfering" in Iran's affairs, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"Do you think that this kind of behavior is going to solve any of your problems? It will only make people think you are someone like Bush," Fars reported Ahmadinejad as saying.

Obama is walking a diplomatic tightrope in finding the right response to the crisis. Since taking office, the U.S. leader has sought rapprochement with Iran, but this week he said he was "appalled and outraged" by the post-election violence.

I think that Ahmadinejad couldn’t be more wrong in his statement. I think this will bring more and more of the conservative Iranian population towards the middle. Ahmadinejad has continued his antagonistic behavior through two presidents that the majority of the world likely views as polar opposites. What is the common denominator in this situation?

My time in the Air Force has taught me a valuable lesson that I think is very applicable in this scenario. When a squadron is stuck with a horrible commander there is some pain and maybe even a few martyrs along the way. Yet on the outside it looks as though people are just mindlessly following orders and carrying on with business as usual. However the underlings have something on their side that the poor leader will never have, and that is time. The subordinates will basically wait out their time under the current regime and look forward to better days ahead. I see a very similar pattern emerging in Iran. I have watched numerous discussions on MSNBC and other outlets about whether or not Iran is ready for freedom, and the ever-present conservative population that supports Ahmadinejad. But that is not the point. The point is that the majority of Iran’s youth are not supportive of the Ayatollah and the current regime. As the youth continues to grow older and continues to be inundated with new information and connections with the world (unless the government continues to limit information rich technologies such as the internet) they will, in essence wait out their poor leader. Whether that time frame is a two year tour in the Air Force or the lifespan of a radical regime the concept is the same.

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