China then = Iran now?


Stephen M. Walt says that the rhetoric being used against allowing Iran to have any nuclear capability is similar to what was said about China back in the 1960s when that nation was developing nuclear technology, right down to impugning its leaders as irrational crazy people who might go berserk and blow up the world if they were able to make a bomb.

He says that then secretary of state Dean Rusk was wrong in his warnings about China then for the same reasons that people are likely to be wrong about Iran now.

China tested nuclear weapons and eventually built a modest nuclear arsenal, but it didn’t try to blackmail, invade, or intimidate anyone. In fact, the acquisition of nuclear weapons did almost nothing to increase China’s international influence. What did increase China’s global stature were the post-Mao economic reforms (the “Four Modernizations”), which unleashed three decades of rapid economic growth.

Iran has far more to gain in the long term from becoming a major player in the world’s economic system.

But over the long term, what really matters is Iran’s overall power potential and not whether it has a latent nuclear capability, a few weapons hidden away, or a fully developed arsenal akin to the ones that Israel, India, and Pakistan already possess. Iran has a large, relatively young population, considerable oil and gas, a lot of well-educated people, and considerable economic potential. As with communist China, sooner or later the leaders who have mismanaged Iran’s economy will lose their grip or change their policies, and the sanctions imposed by the West will be lifted. At that point, Iran is likely to take off rapidly. So the real question is whether a more powerful Iran will be eager to be a “half-friend” to the United States — which is how Friedman now describes China — or will it be angry and resentful and looking to push us out of the region entirely? That depends at least in part on us.

Comments

  1. colnago80 says

    I seriously doubt that anyone, not even Bibi, thinks that Iran is going to be a threat to blow up the world. What Bibi is afraid of is that Iran might irrationally decide to blow him up.

  2. colnago80 says

    By the way, in the entire history of the Nobel prizes in the sciences, a grand total of 2 Muslims have received the award. Over the last 2 days, 3 Jews received Nobel awards. Muslims outnumber Jews by a hundred to 1. Says something about Islam I think.

  3. left0ver1under says

    The China analogy stands up in another way. The British tried for decades to control China and its resources for England’s benefit (and to China’s detriment), eventually leading to rebellion and expulsion. Much the same happened when the US tried to force the Shah on Iran.

    The same applies with Cuba and other countries, where the US wanted a friendly dictatorship that would let the US steal said country’s wealth for the leader’s benefit. When peaceful means of opposition don’t work, extremists are able to rally the populace to their own cause, and what replaces the foreign-backed dictatorship is usually just as bad.

    The US oligarchy’s real goal is the overthrow if Iran’s government and extraction of oil. If the US really wanted Iran to be a democracy, it would end sanctions, apologize for the Shah, and not interfere in Iran’s domestic affairs. If Iran’s extremists have no foreign enemies to use, the country’s people will eventually get rid of them. Iranians have long wanted a secular government and only support the extremists because there is an enemy.

    And one more fact not mentioned: Iran’s nuclear ambitions are, and always have been, the generation of electricity. Being self sufficient for energy means Iran can sell less of its oil and charge more for it, which is the US’s greatest “nuclear fear”. There is no “nuclear bomb” threat.

  4. colnago80 says

    In other words, trucreep thinks that the folks in Sweden are biased in favor of Jews. How does he then explain why the Nobel Committee failed to share the prize awarded to Otto Hahn with Lise Meitner?

    However, if trucreep thinks that Muslims are being bypassed by the Nobel committee, would he kindly name 10 Muslims who should have received a Nobel Prize in one of the sciences but were passed over.

  5. 2up2down2furious says

    I don’t know for sure why more Jews than Muslims have won the Nobel Prize, but I don’t think it really tells us very much about Jews or Muslims. The Nobel Prize is far from objective, and some Nobel Prizes (like the Peace Prize) are often awarded to murderers and buffoons– see laureates like Barack Obama, Saddam Hussein, and Henry Kissinger.

    Something important to keep in mind– nearly all Nobel Prizes awarded to Jews have been awarded to Ashkenazi Jews– few have been awarded to Sephardic Jews and after some brief research, I can only find one Mizrahi Jew who received a Nobel. If you believe that Jewish culture is inherently superior to Muslim culture, you would expect Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews to have a proportionate amount of Nobel Prizes.

    So once we have eliminated the ludicrous notion that Jews are just smarter than Muslims, we need to think about why it is that Ashkenazim have received more Nobels than Mizrahim. This isn’t testable, but it seems reasonable to me that because much of the Arab world was colonized when the Prize was started in 1901, and has endured a number of US-imposed, corrupt client governments and a rocky decolonization process education opportunities and funds for research would be limited. This explains why fewer Muslims have received the award, and why fewer Mizrahim have received it– it has less to do with religion, and more to do with the fact that Ashkenazim usually come from wealthier countries with more developed infrastructure, rather than countries victimized by imperialism.

  6. colnago80 says

    It should also be pointed out that the 2 Muslims who received Nobel Prizes lived most of their lives in the West. Abdus Salam, who was from Pakistan, spent most of his working life in a research facility in Trieste and at universities in England while Ahmed Zewail, who was from Egypt, has spent his entire productive life at US universities, the last 37 years at Cal Tech.

    Interestingly enough, Zewail received the Wolf Prize in chemistry which is an Israeli award (not bad for an Egyptian), before he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Peter Higgs is also a Wolf Prize awardee in physics, as is Chien-Shiung Wu who was passed over for the Nobel Prize in Physics for the experiment showing parity is not conserved in weak interactions, a terrible oversight IMHO.

    By the way, I never implied that Jews were smarter then Muslims, only that Islam is antithetic to scientific thinking (disbelief in evolution is rampant in the Muslim world).

  7. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    Stephen M. Walt says that the rhetoric being used against allowing Iran to have any nuclear capability is similar to what was said about China back in the 1960s when that nation was developing nuclear technology, right down to impugning its leaders as irrational crazy people who might go berserk and blow up the world if they were able to make a bomb.

    China’s leaders in the 1960s were irrational crazy people who might go berserk and blow up the world if they were able to make a bomb. When Alexander Dubcek, leader of Czechoslovakia, visited Mao Tse Tung Mao explained that nuclear war would be a good thing because it would wipe out capitalism. Dubcek pointed out that it would also wipe and out Czechoslovakia and most of the human race. That wouldn’t matter, said Mao, the survivors would be mainly Chinese (he didn’t say why) and they would immediately establish socialism.

  8. colnago80 says

    Mao is also alleged to have told Nikita Khrushchev the the US was a paper tiger. Mr. K replied that the paper tiger had nuclear teeth.

  9. colnago80 says

    Hey trucreep, the chemistry prize was announced today and, horrors, all three recipients were Jews. So that makes 6 in one year as compared with 2 Muslims in 112 years.

  10. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Very good point and worth reflecting on this.

    A culture which places a high value on books and learning and intellectual thought and discussion (eg. Judaism) manages to succeed in producing remarkable inventors, doctors, physicists etc .. and thereby helps make the whole world a better place.

    A culture which places a high value on reciting a violent bloodthirsty holy text, idolises homicide-suicide bombers and hates and has conspiracy theories about pretty much every other group on the planet inspires warfare, bloodshed, violence and carnage making the globe a much worse place.

    Yet some people – cultural relativists – really claim that each and every culture is equally valuable and worthy of respect and that its a bad idea to suggest there just might be some cultures that should be emulated and other cultures that should be rejected and changed so their influence becomes less toxic to the rest of us? Hmm ..

    Note the emphasis on the word **cultures* and the fact that we’re talking about malleable ideas and customs and ways of thinking NOT DNA or superficial physical differences here.

    IOW, memes not genes.

  11. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    You forgot* about the third Muslim example there, colnago80 – PLO terrorist boss Yasser Arafat with his “peace Prize” awarded shortly before he started one of the regular Jihadist “intifada” wars against Israel. (& whilst he was secretly stockpiling Iranian weapons whilst spouting deceptive rhetoric on the Western world.)

    Then again, I think everyone wants to forget about *that* one – most especially the Nobel prize committee – did they ever embarrass themselves on that occasion!

    Wonder if Arafat’s “peace prize” could be / has been retrospectively revoked?

    * Or do we just not count the “peace prize” anymore as legit because of cases like that?

  12. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Huh? 3.1 there was suppsoed to be under 2.2

    Much the same happened when the US tried to force the Shah on Iran.

    Many years ago, I had Iranian neighbours who told me the Shah was excellent and the Ayatollah’s were the reason they fled their homeland.

    I think your views on the Shah may be a bit, shall we shay, ill-informed, here, left0ver1under.

    I think many in Iran would (although perhaps not openly right now) think the Shah was far more representative of the real “empire of the mind” free Iran and a better leader of their nation than the current closed totalitarian theocracy. Which the Iranian people have risen up against unsuccesssfully a few years ago, remember?

  13. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Stephen M. Walt says that the rhetoric being used against allowing Iran to have any nuclear capability is similar to what was said about China back in the 1960s when that nation was developing nuclear technology, right down to impugning its leaders as irrational crazy people who might go berserk and blow up the world if they were able to make a bomb. He says that then secretary of state Dean Rusk was wrong in his warnings about China then for the same reasons that people are likely to be wrong about Iran now.

    So are you saying here in a nutshell that China didn’t blow the world up when it got nukes despite worries at the time so that means its okay if Iran gets nukes now?

    (As stated by one academic who I don’t think is likely to be living in or near the probable Ground Zero(s)?)

    You serious?

  14. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I think the world would be a better place now if China hadn’t gotten nukes. Ditto for that matter the USSR.

    I think the world is much better off if very few if any nations have nuclear weapons.

    I think there’s a lot of good reasons to support non-proliferation of WMDs and a global (& beyond!) transition from uranium reactors to thorium ones for nuclear power.

    I hope Iran never gets The Bomb.

    I really hope I’m wrong about what I think they’d do the second they do get it.

  15. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    *If* they (Iran) do or are allowed to.

  16. colnago80 says

    To be fair about this, the Nobel Peace Prize has nothing to do with the other 4 prizes and is awarded by a different entity entirely. In fact, the prize is actually awarded from Norway while the others are awarded from Sweden. I was referring to the science prizes, namely medicine/physiology, physics, and chemistry.

  17. 2up2down2furious says

    Every dictatorship or system of oppression has some supporters, and your neighbors are probably not a very big sample (unless your neighbors happened to number in the millions). It is unbelievable that someone on an atheist website would seriously present such a fallacious argument as evidence that someone else is “ill-informed.” I’ve lived in the US South my entire life and I’ve had neighbors who said that Jim Crow was wonderful and Black Southerners were perfectly contented until a bunch of Communists filled their head with evil ideas. In high school, I had a Ukranian-American friend whose grandparents would send her postcards with Lenin and Stalin on them and would tell her about the “good old days” in the USSR and implore her not to believe “capitalist lies” about them. This is not unusual in human affairs– some groups are convinced by propaganda, and some groups actually benefit from these oppressive systems.

    Ask the families of anyone who was killed or tortured by the SAVAK how wonderful the Shah was. Ask poor Iranians whose democratically-elected leaders made the popular decision to nationalize oil to benefit development, only to be overthrown. Chances are, their opinions of the Shah might differ from those of your neighbors.

  18. 2up2down2furious says

    I agree that the world would be better off if fewer countries (in fact, NO countries) possessed nuclear weapons. I’m glad, however, that all evidence points to Iran’s nuclear program being for civilian purposes. I seriously hope China, Russia, Israel, the USA, India, et al. find safe ways of destroying their nuclear arsenals.

  19. left0ver1under says

    Who exactly were your neighbors? Wealthy families like the Amanpours who benefitted from the dictatorship and ran away when they would be seen as collaborators? They were in the US because they were wealthy families. Your “friends” are no better than Idi Amin living out his days in Saudi Arabia.

    2up2down2furious is spot on by mentioning SAVAK, an organization matched for viciousness, murder and oppressiveness by only the Stasi and Mossad.

  20. colnago80 says

    I suggest that you ask the women who were gaining equality under the Shah’s regime and who are now on their way to Saudi Arabian type oppression under the mullahs. Yes, the Shah was not a nice man but from the point of view of the average Iranian, the mullahs are worse.

  21. colnago80 says

    2up2down2furious is spot on by mentioning SAVAK, an organization matched for viciousness, murder and oppressiveness by only the Stasi and Mossad.

    By equating the Mossad and the Stasi, you show yourself to be an antisemitic Nazi bastard.

  22. colnago80 says

    I’m glad, however, that all evidence points to Iran’s nuclear program being for civilian purposes

    Ho, ho, ho and need I say ha, ha, ha. If you really believe this, I have a nice bridge over the Potomac I would like to sell you. Hey, it’s only 3 years old and state of the art.

  23. Nick Gotts says

    Actually, until the recent sanctions, Iran’s economy had done pretty well since the revolution. 2012 was the first year it contracted since 1994. Extreme poverty (under $1.25/day) has fallen to below 2% – lower than China, Brazil, Venezuela, Turkey or India. The poor’s access to basic services has substantially increased: during 1984-2004 access to electricity by the poorest quintile in rural areas increased from 37% to 94% and to piped water from 31% to 79%.

    Clearly, there is much very seriously wrong socially and politically, but the recent elections showed that there is a significant degree of pluralism (contrasting with such western allies as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states); and even with regard to gender issues, where one might expect the worst, the picture is by no means one-sided. Literacy among women rose from around 40% to near-universal for younger women, over half of all students are now women, family planning campaigns have brought about the greatest fall in birthrate in the world, maternal and perinatal mortality have dropped considerably.

    Scientifically, Iran ranked 17th in terms of science publication in the world in 2012 with the production of 34,155 articles. It increased its output nearly ten fold from 1996 to 2004, and has been ranked first globally in terms of output growth rate. Notable areas of achievement include biophysics, nuclear physics and medicine, nanotechnology, organic and polymer chemistry, pharmacology, and public health sciences.
    Iran is the 9th country to put a domestically-built satellite into orbit.

    Unlike China, its leaders have consistently said they do not intend to build nuclear weapons, and both US and Israeli intelligence believe they have made no decision to do so. Even if they are lying or change their minds, there is absolutely no evidence they intend national suicide, which of course a nuclear attack on Israel would involve.

    On much of this, see Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. They also make the China/Iran parallel, in slightly different terms.

  24. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @left0ver1under :

    Who exactly were your neighbors? Wealthy families like the Amanpours who benefitted from the dictatorship and ran away when they would be seen as collaborators? They were in the US because they were wealthy families. Your “friends” are no better than Idi Amin living out his days in Saudi Arabia.

    Wow! Who the hell are you to judge people you’ve never once met, who are only noted in one or two lines in someone else’s blog comment as being as evil as Idi Amin?

    That’s kind of breathtakingly nasty and stupid stuff of you to say right there.

    Who my neighbours were? Well I ‘m not sure I could spell their names and I won’t claim to know them all that well but they were actually very nice people from everything I saw of them and our family had a few great lunches with them (they gave my Mum some great Iranian recipes and cooked some delicious food for us a few times) and my mum minded some of their kids once or twice. They certainly weren’t all that rich at all and were very gentle, pleasant people. Which I know because I met them and remember them.

    Yet, left0ver1under, based on nothing but xies own prejudices and presuppositions thinks its fine to saysuch horrible things about them for no good reason other than xies pique that they provide some admittedly anecdotal evidence against xie’s argument.

    And to think some here on FTB mistakenly think that *I’m* a bad guy here!

    (Because, yknow,I dare to disagree strongly and express an alternative perspective on a couple of issues.)

  25. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. I’m actually an Aussie not an American so that’s something else that left0ver1under just assumed and got wrong.

  26. left0ver1under says

    Yawn. Another feeble (and feebleminded) false equivalency from slc. How unsurprising.

    In his fetid mind, valid criticism of a terrorist organization like mossad equates with calling for the reopening of the death camps.

    By that pathetic and mouth-foaming-from-rabies “logic”, criticizing the NSA and CIA equates to calling for the mass murder of all Americans. Then again, that’s how the NSA and CIA “think”….

  27. colnago80 says

    Let’s see, total number of Nobel Laureates in the sciences (physics, chemistry, medicine/physiology) in the Muslim world = 2 in 103 years (none of them Iranians). Total number of Nobel Laureates in 2013 awarded to Jews = 6.

  28. Nick Gotts says

    Lying as usual, slc1. While there is much to deplore in the Iranian theocracy and in particular its treatment of women, the majority of Iranian women are far more literate, far more educated, far healthier, and have far better access to contraception, medical care and maternity leave than under the Shah.

  29. Nick Gotts says

    So. Fucking. What? Really, all you’re providing is evidence of your own bigotry, as usual. Scientists from rich countries win almost all the Nobels, because that’s where the science is best funded, has the longest traditions, etc. Many of these scientists are Jews, because Jews have been living in considerable numbers in those countries for a long time, are well integrated, and Euro-American Jewish culture has a long history of scientific involvement. None of this in any way conflicts with the facts I have given, which you don’t dispute.

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