Tag: Persia

Trumping Middle East Hands: Iran [Updated]

 

Start from the position that the Iranian people are hostages in their own country to a regime based on an idea, perhaps an ideology, concocted in the 1970s and propounded clearly only after Khomeini’s faction had control in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Consider that there has been popular unrest against the regime. Factor in that the rulers are savvy and ruthless, with an elite military force keeping the regular military and the populace in check, while extending regime influence regionally and globally. The Khomeinists seem to have a strong hand, with some high cards, so how do we set about trumping their hand? Moving towards answers that are feasible takes more than hand-waving and posturing.

The U.S. military has long recognized that it was only one instrument in Uncle Sam’s tool belt, and that military strategy needed to be integrated with plans and actions by the rest of the government. This became called a “whole of government” approach. For many years, military officers, in their advanced schooling, were instructed in consideration of four “instruments of national power:” Diplomacy, Information, Military, and Economy (DIME).

More

Middle East Players: Iran

 

The latest news about “Iran” comes across as more irritation from a region that seems to always be in conflict. Moreover, the news and commentary tend to be divorced from actual history, allowing vague hand-waving, finger-pointing, and shoulder-shrugging. What follows is an attempt at a bit more definite hand-waving over the map, placing Iran briefly in their own historic context, touching on Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey as the other centers of power over the centuries.

It is not “those people.” It is not “that place.” It is not even “Islam.” Don’t take my word for it:

More

My Month in Ancient Greece

 

Wanting to read more this year than last, I kicked off 2018 with a trio of classics: The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, and Anabasis by Xenophon. My better-educated friends are stunned I hadn’t read any of these classics before, but I had the typical public school education. My English teacher would assign hot garbage like The Great Gatsby and I’d go home and read my dog-eared copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

If memory serves, I was assigned Gatsby three times (Lord, I hate that book). Meanwhile, my 10th-grader is reading Rousseau and Solzhenitsyn in her charter school. Not only am I filling my many gaps in the Western canon, if I don’t read, she’ll end up being way smarter than me. (Is “me” right or should it be “I?” I’ll ask my daughter when she gets home.)

More