Regime Toppling for Dummies

Batman asked some questions in the previous comments section that I'm not going to quote in full, but simply use as an illustration.

"Paul, do you know any Iranians to whom you could pose the following questions?"

I know two Iranian exiles, both with polar opposite opinions. Regardless, I wouldn't want to use exiles as a benchmark regardless. Expats have a tendency to glorify their old country and want to preserve it and hold it up as superior to wherever they currently are. The one thing they won't do of course is actually return to live in their superior civilization. But let's leave the racism and hypocrisy aside for a moment. The real problem is simply that they're unrepresentative even if they all say exactly the same thing without racism and hypocrisy. You really need to get the ones who actually live there.

Next problem is the same problem that the Polish communists experienced. Pre-election polls showed that the commies would romp home and they were actually worried that the West would see the polls as legitimate for that reason. They were flabbergasted by the result. If I were similarly polled in Poland, or Iraq, or Iran, I'd be the biggest supporter of dictatorship this side of the Iron Curtain. Freedom and democracy? Bah. A plot by devious westerners to enslave me. I don't even really trust the polls even in a free environment shortly after liberation (e.g. Iraq in 2003). Until I have seen some evidence of a secret ballot verifying those results, it is tentative at best. The pro-war Iraqi bloggers insisted that they weren't alone. In actual fact they were as clueless as the rest of the world. They'd never seen the results of a secret ballot either. Ali Fadhil told me directly that he didn't find out until 2005 what Iraqis really wanted, when he saw the poll results. He had been mistaken assuming that others were like him. Sarmad also told me that he had told his friend that there would be no religious violence in Iraq - that Iraqis were tolerant of religion. And that he had to admit to his friend that he was wrong.

I saw some video of a supply convoy that had taken a wrong turn a couple of years ago and ended up in Sunni territory and suddenly found itself under attack. This sort of spontaneous attack shows that the problem is widespread. It's not just a few ratbags. It's an entire mindset. The sort of mindset that requires genocide to correct. Although admittedly they managed to pull of de-Nazifying Germany. But that's no guarantee that it can be replicated in the Middle East.

All this shows the fact that no-one can tell you definitive answers, even if they live there. Sarmad ended up being totally wrong. And I was totally wrong about Australia. I had always assumed that the majority of Australians supported thumping dictators and liberating people. I thought it was part of our national psyche. It was supported by the polls showing 90% supported Desert Storm. I had no idea that that would turn to a shocking 50% for OIF. I was wondering what I was missing and had to go and ask them why they didn't care even about women being raped. I wanted to know why they were so sure that we shouldn't be doing anything to help innocent women. It took me some time to realise the simple truth - these people were downright sociopaths. Massive numbers of sociopaths. Looking like ordinary nice people but secretly sociopathic and racist and believing the commies on TV more than hard logic.

So, even when people ask me about Australia, which they often do, I have to explain to them that everyone in Australia is an individual and you can't make blanket statements. If you think Australians are beer-guzzling, sports-loving party-goers, there's probably a lot of truth in that. But it means that I'm not an Australian and you shouldn't be asking me anyway. And then you see shocking reports about Australians working the longest hours out of all OECD countries. Putting a lie to the perpetual party we're supposed to be in. And my Japanese ex-student said that she came to Australia expecting to be surrounded by whites, but found herself in Asia. She is staying in an area that is predominantly Chinese/Lebanese. She's right near a huge mosque. I didn't even know it was there (I'd heard of the Lakemba mosque, but didn't know there was one in Auburn). I can't remember seeing any churches that big anywhere in Australia. And after dropping her off in Auburn, I went to an Indian store there to buy some spicy peas. I tried to speak Hindi to the shopkeeper and he didn't know it. He was probably born in Australia (I didn't ask) and had never bothered to learn Hindi other than what he picked up by watching Hindi movies.

So if you want to know about Australia, I would suggest going to the CIA website. And also check out some opinion polls, which in turn can be verified by election results and simply chatting with random Australians. There's no doubt that Australians are free to speak their mind. Although most Australians are apparently afraid to go up against the very noisy and vicious left-wing scum in the media/university etc. Rare to see much opposition to them, although that in turn could simply be because they don't have the ability to get media attention or organize. But honestly, where do you go to see a pro-Bush or anti-Rudd demonstration? But then again, who would go to one of them when the media even covers up that exact thing happening in Iraq in December 2003? But again, ordinary people will rarely go to a demo. They just vote and answer opinion polls.

Anyway, back to Iran. The information is inherently unavailable and won't remotely be available until after secret ballots. I saw a poll recently saying that a majority of Iranians backed getting invaded. It may or may not be true. However, let's move on.

"First, considering that the Clergy is losing power to military rule"

The clergy IS the military. One Clergyman in particular - the Supreme Ayatollah. There is no evidence that his rule is under threat. That would in effect take a military coup. And that is actually what you should be hoping for. More chance of that ushering in a decent ruler than "peeling off the clergy".

Sistani is irrelevant. He has no military capable of defeating the Iranian military. This all comes down to guns. It always comes down to guns. All of your questions belie the fact that you haven't bothered to do the simple military calculus. The same one that you mentioned yourself a couple of weeks ago - about the US doing conventional warfare still. And that the battles were always lopsided, but still there. What you said then was *exactly* correct. And it's the exact opposite of Bruce and his 2nd Amendment fantasy. I'm surprised that Bruce didn't learn about combined arms warfare while he was in the military, but the short story is that goons with guns lose. Every. Time. Unless you can provide a way for the Iranian military to change sides, fairly safely, you aren't going anywhere.

"Will the people of Iran support open military rule"

The people of Iran don't matter a damn. They are easily defeated by men with guns. As they were in 1999. As they always will be. It's sad. But that's reality.

"I assume Iranians living in Iraq are free to organize and oppose the Khamenei's rule"

There's plenty of exiles with their pathetic organizations. Only one guy has an army, and it's a massive army.

"If it does and oil prices take a dramatic plunge, would it cause the Iranian and Venezuelan regimes to implode on the Soviet Union model, or would Khamenei cling to power by brute military force more like North Korea and Cuba?"

This is the silly thing. As you can see in North Korea, a properly organized dictator can ensure that the people will starve to death without rebelling. The Soviet Union collapsed because a nice guy (Gorbachev) managed to hide his true ideology until he reached the top of the dictatorship. Actually, that nearly happened in Iran too. The guy set to replace Khomenei showed his hand just a little too early and ended up in jail instead of being a Supreme Ayatollah who would usher in democracy.

"I could easily draft an extremely simple, seemingly uncontroversial amendment to the Iranian Constitution to make it MUCH more democratic"

I can't even get a referendum in Australia to get a Bill of Rights guaranteeing freedom of speech. The Ayatollah is not the least bit interested in your opinion. He doesn't even care if women are raped. Why the hell should he care about democratic changes from a - wait for it - American?

If you care about the Iranian people - which you clearly do, as I do - don't bother trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. There may be a spontaneous uprising one day. Romania got one of those. But you won't be able to predict it or usher it in. It's also not very likely. Romania is the only one that actually worked. All the others were more like the British leaving India, or Gorbachev granting freedom. Or Bremer passing control to the Iraqis. If you've got nice people in charge, you can get "independence" or whatever it is you think you want. But if you've got nice people in charge already, you don't really have much of a problem anyway. And when you've got someone nasty in charge, as is the case in Iran, you need someone with bigger guns to take him out.

This is not unique to Iran. When the Nazis took over Europe, and when the Soviets took over, the people actually living there had no chance whatsoever. Even though 99% of France objected to a FOREIGN enemy having taken over their country, it didn't matter a damn. Their opinion was worthless. Their opinion only becomes relevant if they're given control over their armed forces via democracy (which is the case now). The Iranians are in a similar position. Their opinion doesn't matter a damn. That could all change in less than 24 hours after US planes appear in Iranian skies though. No-one knows. US planes dramatically change the military equation. The impossible becomes probable. The Northern Alliance LITERALLY walked into Kabul. Please don't give the Iranian people false hope - the eternal carrot at the end of the stick - or delude yourself. Just get those damn planes in the sky! Before the good people of America lose access to them as the decent Australians already have.

And Canada - you have planes too. With fully trained pilots. I can point Iran out to you on the map if you like. Can't miss it. It's between the place you turned up to already and the place you failed to turn up to. Don't wait for American approval to send your planes over Iran. Show some balls and do it with or without their help. Stop being some tag-along and show some leadership. Call in some favours from UK and France if you need extra firepower. Hey, maybe that bilingual thing you have going may actually be of some use after all. Maybe millions of people learning the world's dumbest language for decades wasn't the incongruous waste of resources I previously thought it was?

BTW buh - learn to difference between "Anglophone" and "Anglophile". I'm the former, not the latter. Not that I'm anti-British - far from it. It's just that I don't have any particular loyalty to England. Or even Australia for that matter. I am only loyal to a certain ideology, and anyone can have that ideology, regardless of whether it is the protestors of June 4th 1989 or the Romanians in December 1989. They are my family. My blood. My life.

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