Saturday, March 04, 2006

A comment from Totten's "head of the snake"

"I heard the same refrain over and over again: “Persians are just like us.” In other words, they are liberal, secular, pro-Western, and fed up with tyrants. “Iranians love America,” the Kurds told me. “They have nothing to do with Ahmadinejad.”

Vanya" says, "I call this the fallacy of familiarity." This often happens when people travel to a new place - instinctively we seek out people like us, people who we can communicate with. There are a lot of secular, educated liberal pro-Western people in Iran, certainly far more than most Americans would guess. But that is far from the whole story. Ahmadinejad was elected in a relatively free election. Yes, he was elected more for his social program than his foreign policy. But there are a lot of poor uneducated Iranians who, while maybe not anti-American, are fiercely patriotic and will still listen to the mullahs. These people strongly resent the educated Westernized elites and to this day tend to side with the religious fanatics against the Westernizers. Ahmadinejad has been a genius at tapping into this resentment. As long as he can keep the Iranian working classes and professional classes at each others' throats the mullahs will be safe."

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