Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Zimbabwe, Iran, and Uranium: Oh, Jolly

As a rule, I'm glad to hear that someone with people issues finally makes a friend. In this case, I'm not so sure that it's good news.

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."
George Bernard Shaw, The Quotations Page)
On the other hand, he did have a point. I think this fellow was closer to the mark:
"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."
(George Santayana, "The Life of Reason," Volume 1, 1905, The Quotations Page)
What's generally remembered out of that passage is: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

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 Simplicity

About 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?

No.

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.

Related posts:Background on Zimbabwe:

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Word missing: "Iran's 'peaceful' nuclear program could a boost."

Also, that long bit at the end? Is it supposed to be there?

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Oops. Fixed it. Thanks!

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

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In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.