This excerpt is longer than most, but I think it's important - interesting, at any rate - as background. I'll be back after the BBC.
"Zimbabwe's Mugabe backs Ahmadinejad on nuclear Iran"
BBC (May 4, 2010)
"President Robert Mugabe has backed Iran's 'just cause' on seeking nuclear power, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues his Zimbabwe visit.
"Zimbabwe's leader said both countries had been 'unjustly vilified and punished by Western countries'.
"Iran is subject to a range of UN diplomatic and trade sanctions, although it insists its nuclear project is for energy, not to build a weapon...."
"...Iran's leader also castigated Western nations, saying: 'They want to seize the markets of the countries [Iran and Zimbabwe] and destroy their economies,' reports the AFP news agency...."
"...Mr Mugabe and some of his closest allies are subject to targeted sanctions by several Western nations.
"These include a travel ban and an assets freeze but not trade measures....
"...He [Mr. Mugabe] has criticised it [the Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC] recently for failing to get the sanctions on him lifted.
"They were imposed after the US and the EU accused Mr Mugabe of rigging elections.
"He says they were really a punishment for his policy of seizing land from white farmers."
Ahmadinejad and Mugabe: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?I'm not on the same page as this fellow:
"Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history."On the other hand, he did have a point. I think this fellow was closer to the mark:
George Bernard Shaw, The Quotations Page)
"Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. In the first stage of life the mind is frivolous and easily distracted, it misses progress by failing in consecutiveness and persistence. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in which instinct has learned nothing from experience."What's generally remembered out of that passage is: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
(George Santayana, "The Life of Reason," Volume 1, 1905, The Quotations Page)
History doesn't repeat itself, but I think that when events start following a familiar pattern: it's well to look at what happened the first time.
Iran isn't in the best shape, economically. It's being run by people with strong allegiance to a particular ideology - and an arguably weak grasp on reality. Iran's leaders are looking for allies in some odd places. And, Iran's leaders blame powerful European nations - and the Jews - for their problems.
That may not sound familiar, particularly if you're an American and less than, say, 40 years old. This country hasn't exactly encouraged a study of history in recent decades.
I was born during the Truman administration, and studied history. Take the names off, and what's going on in Iran today is reminiscent of what was going on in Germany between what Americans call the Great Depression, and the start of World War II.
I sincerely hope that the EU leadership, and others in responsible positions, remember that Iran's leadership may not be entirely peace loving and trustworthy.
Zimbabwe and SimplicityAbout Zimbabwe? It's part of a former British colony. Zimbabwe is doing about as well, adjusting to self-rule, as many other African countries. President Mugabe is currently running the place - but he's got competition.
Zimbabwe had a Prime Minister before President Mugabe's rule: the Prime Minister was Robert Mugabe. Same fellow. Under one title or another, he's been in charge since 1980.
A thousand years from now, whoever is making things happen where Zimbabwe is now may be as outstanding as Zimbabwe's namesake, Great Zimbabwe. Today? Not so much.
If Zimbabwe has uranium, and Mugabe thinks Iran will help him keep his job - Iran's 'peaceful' nuclear program could give him a boost. And, in my opinion, we'll have gotten much closer to seeing what the Russian Federation will do if the Ayatollahs decide to nuke Moscow.
Do I think this is a simple matter of how Mugabe and Ahmadinejad hit it off, and what some dude in Moscow does?
Some stories have that sort of 'James Bond / Dr. No' simplicity. This is the real world: where over 6,000,000,000 people in about 200 nations arrange themselves in groups that don't necessarily line up with today's national borders - or what their leaders feel like doing.
Simple, it isn't.
- "Boobquake! I am Not Making This Up"
(April 23, 2010)
- "Iran's Mighty Army, President Ahmadinejad, Nuclear Weapons and History"
(April 18, 2010)
- "Iran, Protests, Internet Blackout, and Nuclear Bombs"
(December 7, 2009)
- "Iran's Supreme Leader and God"
(November 13, 2009)
- "Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program: Oops, Let's Look at That Again"
(October 16, 2009)
- "Journalism in the Information Age, Or Nothing Says 'No' Like a Brightly Burning Motorcycle"
(June 24, 2009)
- "Guinea, Military Rule, and Terrorism: Beware Hasty Judgment"
(December 29, 2008)
- "War on Terror: Zimbabwe Has Trouble, Too"
(June 23, 2008)
- "Holocaust Remembrance Day: May 1, 2008"
(April 30, 2008)
- "Unintended Consequences? The West May be Getting Over Hiroshima"
(January 25, 2008)
- "Jews Flee Iran, Fearing Persecution: Sound Familiar?"
(December 25, 2007)
- "Resolutions "Worthless Papers" - Iran's President Ahmadinejad"
(October 24, 2007)
- "Iran and Russia and Germany and Japan"
(October 19, 2007)
Countries and Their Cultures
- "Zimbabwe's history: Key dates"
BBC (to 1998)
- Yes, I know: the BBC is British
- Zimbabwe was a British colony
World Factbook, CIA (last updated April 22, 2010)
- It's the CIA!
- "Majority Rule in Zimbabwe"
- "Drafting of New Constitution to Begin in Zimbabwe"
GlobalSecurity.org (January 5, 2010)
- "Zimbabwe Opposition Says Ruling Party Not 'Genuine' in Power-Sharing Deal"
GlobalSecurity.org (October 28, 2008)