Short on funds, the Iranian government tripled the domestic price of gasoline. Demonstrations protesting the price hikes spread across the country. Remarkably, the demonstrations were spearheaded by working and lower class Iranians — formerly the pillars of support for the regime — rather than the middle classes who had led earlier demonstrations., The security apparatus appears to have panicked and the new police force charged with restoring order shot its way to the current calm. A record number of the protesters were killed by their own government. Several consequences now seem clear:
*Government revenues have been decimated by U.S. sanctions.
*The decision to raise the price of gasoline was made by a committee composed of all the branches of the Iranian government. Yet the decision badly miscalculated the consequences, indicating how out of touch the government is with the lives of ordinary Iranians.
*Those “ordinary” Iranians have been badly hurt by the U.S. sanctions and by the mismanagement and corruption of their own government.
*But it is their own government that the protesters have blamed for their hardships.
*Confronting armed security forces with shoot to kill orders is not something to be done lightly or often. These demonstrations will die out. But they indicated the depth of anger on the part of the people.
*In short, this is not a formula for domestic tranquility and is not sustainable.
Now, please see what Professor Daniel Brumberg and Karim Pakravan think
While he was a daring and hugely successful battle commander, General Mattis failed as a Secretary of Defense. He did not manage to leave a mark on the Pentagon and did nothing to prepare the armed forces to fight the next war, rather than the last war for which they have been continually preparing along with vast expenditures of taxpayer dollars.
Three readers, who asked to remain anonymous, sent critiques of the recent mailing by Gramm and Early on Income Inequality. Their critiques seem to devastate the central point that the two were making, that income inequality is considerably less than estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
When U.S. incomes are adjusted for taxes paid and government transfers received, inequality is dramatically reduced.
U.S. unemployment at 3.7% (August 2019). U.S. stock markets at record levels. Yet something is dramatically wrong with the economy — in the U.S., in Japan, and in the E.U. Low to negative interest rates and exploding inequality suggest a paradigm shift is on the way.
China has mastered the elements of technology that give it the capability for continuous monitoring of the communications, social relationships, physical movements, and more of its population. Simultaneously, President Xi is totally committed to maintaining the rule of the Communist Party and preventing its demise (see the Soviet Union). His system of rule is massively repressive of any fundamental dissent or any attempt to organize its citizens, no matter how small the group. The combination of these three factors suggest that China is approaching true totalitarian rule. The first actual state in history — aside from states in novels — to do so.
Germany has consistently been the world’s most successful exporter while importing relatively little. The result has been that Germany’s current account surplus has been higher than that of any other country. For example, in 2017, Germany’s current account surplus was $296 billion versus $195 billion for Japan and $164 billion for China. Yet despite Germany’s impressive export performance, its economic future appears grim. Its population is shrinking and its economic growth rate is diminishing. Its infrastructure is increasingly decrepit and its export reliance on automobiles and machine tools is no longer sufficient to propel growth. Its largest export market has been China whose growth is diminishing. Even worse, there appears little impetus within the German government to do anything to address these negative forces.
President Trump has sent many tweets about his trade war: “China will never retaliate to U.S. tariffs,” “trade wars are easy to win,” "We are winning, big time, against China,” “China is eating the Tariffs,” “China wants to make a deal so badly,” “China does not want Tariffs!” “We are not in a trade war with China,” and on and on. In fact, China is winning the trade war. The U.S. is the big loser. Read this and weep.
By Marvin Zonis
President Trump has sought a meeting with Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. But all his entreaties have failed. Rouhani has even refused to leave his hotel room in New York, attending the UN General Assembly Meetings, to avoid even a telephone call with Trump.
The General Accountability Office of the federal government (GAO.gov), has carried out many studies on the effects of U.S. sanctions on Iran. The GAO has been skeptical of their utility. Here are excerpts from two reports, one from 2007 and one from 1992. The first report suggests that without strong internal opposition, sanctions tend to be ineffective. Of course, there is no organized internal opposition in Iran.
Here is a stunning piece of investigative journalism in two parts. Part I details the role of North Korea in the building of a nuclear reactor in Syria, ultimately destroyed by Israel in 2007. Part II uncovers the role of North Korea in supplying weapons and technology to Israel’s enemies across the region.
When I was a child, everyone in America knew that “The Greatest Show On Earth” referred to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus. Now — without doubt — the expression refers to Great Britain. The country’s as of yet unsuccessful efforts over three years to carry out the referendum to leave the European Union has been a spell binding drama. Now, finally, a solution is at hand. Here is a way forward for the U.K. that will ultimately allow it to achieve the goals of the “leavers.”
As has been reported in these pages in the past, China has consistently violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. For example, despite the sanctions, China has supplied Iran with specialty steels which are used as the skin of ballistic missiles. Recent reports suggest that China continues to buy substantial quantities of Iranian oil. But this new announcement seems highly improbable. That China would invest hundreds of billions of dollars in Iran’s oil industry and station security personnel in Iran to protect its investments goes a step too far. Given Iran’s passionate defense of its independence, the idea of Chinese security personnel stationed in Iran is fanciful. But what is certain is that China will continue to be the leading breaker of U.S. sanctions.
The most complete account of the decades long effort to bomb Iran.
Below is a link to the web site my wife and I put together to publicize the sale of our Umbrian home. We would appreciate your circulating the site to anyone you know who might be interested in buying an Umbrian gem. We have listed our home with two realtors — James Stephens at www.ipncastello.com and Riccardo Romolini at www.romolini.com. They will soon post the property with professional photos on their web sites, which can give those interested a fuller idea of what’s on offer. But please have any inquiries directed to me. Thanks and best wishes.
—— Marvin Zonis
The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis Driven World,
co-authors Daniel Lefkovitz and Sam Wilkin, Chicago: Agate Press, 2003
The Eastern European Opportunity, A Complete Guide and Sourcebook,
co-author Dwight Semler, New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1992
Majestic Failure: The Fall of the Shah,
Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1991
Khomeini and the Islamic Republic of Iran,
co-author Daniel Brumberg, Cambridge: Harvard Middle East Papers, 1987
The Political Elite of Iran.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976
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February 4, 2011
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February 2, 2011
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February 2, 2011
"Middle East and Africa - Regulation Will Influence the
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June 1, 2010
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The Mind of a Mullah
June 17, 2009
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"Faculty Smackdown with Marvin Zonis: From HBS Dropout
to Iran, Nightline, and the GSB"
Part One [PDF]
Part Two [PDF]