Monday, July 05, 2010

Five year blog anniversary

Five years of writing this blog.

And looking back at the first day of this blog I can see that five years ago, much has changed, but much has not. I put up three posts that day:

Welcome to the Institute of Deep Thinking

On Nuclear Proliferation and Iran

I'm proud of my country and I want to restore the image that I'm proud of

It was a different world then. George Bush was still pretty high in the polls, having won re-election the year before, and this was before Katrina exposed the ineffective cronies he'd put in charge of key agencies. The Iraq war was only two years old and the White House was still expressing optimism that victory was almost won. Afghanistan was on the backburner, an afterthought. There were almost daily threats of a new war against Iran. The economy wasn't great, but it wasn't bad and housing prices were going up at a dizzying rate.

Some of what I wrote then turned out to be too optimistic, but then I did make a statement then that turned out to be very accurate. From the second post five years ago:

In Iran today, over 60% of the population is under 30—people with no memory of the Shah and who took no part in the revolution but have instead come to resent the strictures of an Islamic society. As the years pass, this number will grow. The revolutionary rhetoric of Ayatollah Khomeini is as dead to them as the rhetoric of Lenin is to Russians. And like the Russians, Iran’s internationalist revolutionary fervor (where they actively tried to incite Islamic revolution in neighboring countries) seems to have passed with the aging of that generation, bled dry by the Iran-Iraq war. The mullahs have their hands full just maintaining internal control, and it is hard to see why they would start a nuclear war which would devastate their country and destroy what hold they still have....

Going back to the Soviet Union, it fell because of a policy of ‘constructive engagement.’ People saw our freedom, and wanted it for themselves. If anything, the survival of Cuba and North Korea, almost alone among old line anti-capitalist Marxist states (recall that China and Vietnam have had the foresight to develop private enterprise) is indicative that failure to engage the people of these nations strengthens the regime instead of undermining it. I pointed out in I-2 that Iran has a similar internal structure, where young people want change and the old line revolutionaries want to preserve the status quo. Engage the people who will be the future, and a future of freedom will arrive one day, and the people will earn it themselves, and treasure it all the more.

Obviously as we've seen in the past year that younger generation in Iran did want something else. Only our foreign policy wonks didn't expect that. Maybe I should have sent that post to the CIA.


sandyh said...

Engage the people who will be the future, and a future of freedom will arrive one day, and the people will earn it themselves, and treasure it all the more.

Your insight is just as sharp today as it was back then, Eli. Congratulations for five years of continuing to probe the issues that shape our nation and world.

Eli Blake said...

Thanks. Looking forward to tne next five. Been spending far too much time on Facebook lately, need to recommit to blogging.