Copying Nazi Germany, Soviets or China may not save Iran hardliners


by FG

No velvet revolution
has ever been caused by outsiders.  No foreign media can move a contented people to revolt.   Discontent occurs whenever a government stubbornly pursues highly
unpopular policies. 

Unlike Khamenei, Adolph Hitler did not
need terror to keep Germans in line.  Most Nazi bruality was
directed against outsiders, not Hitler's own people.   Hitler won gradually what Khamenei tossed away in two months:
genuine popularity.  When it comes to maintaining stability that beats concepts of "divine right to rule" anytime.   The concept has been unpopular for
centuries yet Khamenei and Yazdi imagine they can enforce it on a sophisticated Iranians. 

TOTALITARIAN PROPAGANDA: Goebbel's style always appeals to totalitarian regimes because it long as things go well in the real world.  After
Stalingrad however Nazi boasts about victories lost credibility.  Khamenei's rigged election had the same impact on his credibility.  Show trials, public beatings, rapes. torture, mass graves and coverups erode trust further.  It is as if Hitler designed Auchzwitz for extrerminating Germans and most Germans found him out.  

If a regime could
control information 100 percent it could convince its people of anyting.  Stalin came close.  No matter how bad life was under communism, 90 percent of Soviet
citizens believed theywere living better than counterparts
in the west.  
Stalin's propanganda worked because he could seal his people off from the world almost totally.   Stalin was so thorough that he repeatedly killed off anyone who had too much contact with the West, especially
diplomats and dreamy leftists ("useful idiots" in Lenin's words) who emigrated to the promised land during the Great Depression. 

It was one thing to limit ownership
of typewriters and phones in the thirties but technical advances, especially computers and satellite TV complicated the problem a thousandfold by the 1980's.   Seductive western inventions like VHS and rock and roll were rightly banned as subversive but sailors, diplomats and even KGB men smuggled them
accross the Iron Curtain nevertheless.  People would watch a movie like ET not so
much for the story but to goggle at how westerns lived and what their
food markets contained. 

That is what causes velvet
revolutions and it is so hard to evade.  Should Westerers give up their freedoms because their example inconveniences despots abroad?  The term "cultural imperialism" cleverly suggests a conscious plot for what is basically an automatic phenomenon.  No one is forced to like human rights.  Its attraction is intrinsic.  Where the desire already exists, all NGO's do is advise people on how to seek reforms.  Where is the crime in that?  

In order to convince Iranians they live in an Islamist nirvana, hardliners would have to convert Iran into another North Korea. Alas, for obvious reasons Iran must have computers, the internet, cell phones and contact with the outside world.  Nor can the regime keep out DVDs, I-pods and  TV satellites.  People who communicate with lucky relatives in the West know how oppressed they are by comparison.  The prospect of living wasted lives in a country with squandered potential especially bothers the young.   They know that under this regime they can never enjoy social freedoms, political rights or
economic opportunties.    

NOTE: When time permits, a subpost will cover post-Tiannemen China, a model some hardliners wrongly perceive as a viable alternative.




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