Friday, June 19, 2009
"but from a strong, internally coherent Iranian nation that explodes outward from a natural geographic platform to shatter the region around it.” - Wretchard quoting Totten quoting Kaplan.
aka Tinkers to Evers to Chance
Is the geopolitical setting of Iran as unique as indicated? If so does that explain their impact?
The Russians and Germans have historically followed the pattern of exploding out onto their neighbors. The difference from Iran is that in the European cases it is the lack of secure natural borders that has been used to explain their tendency to expand. So which model is correct, strong boundaries breed instability or weak ones?
China has tended to dominate the hinterlands by expelling minority nomadic communities who wrecked havoc as they traveled outwards. The Huns were only the most prominent of a series of such migrations who could be viewed as slow moving primitive weapons of mass destruction. The Chinese did not care where the barbarian hordes landed as long as they headed outbound.
My expectation is that it will be seen that the Iranians have been punching way above their weight while traveling a self destructive road that denies them the resources that match their pretensions. They can not use their resources and numbers to expand on the Russo-Germanic model (a past model that those two no longer have the demographics for) and they cannot dominate their neighbors or minorities so thoroughly as to use them as weapons to spread destabilization in the Chinese way. The expectation that nuclear weapons will prove a magic bullet to ensure their authority is also flawed.
The Iranians are facing a world where larger and wealthier neighbors have access to equal or superior technology and the surrounding ethnic or imperial communities, Chinese, Indian, Turkish and Arab, will manuever to carve up the resources of the Iranian periphery.