Tag: Persia

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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).

DIME was useful for getting officers with around twenty years of military planning and operations under their belts to think more broadly. However, Uncle Sam actually has a larger set of tools, and uses them. To capture these other tools, DIME became DIMEFIL:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 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:

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:4-8, KJV)

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. 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.)

I read the trio in the order listed above and the reading got better with each title.