Realpolitik in Iran: unknown unknowns

The problems of realpolitik are these: their nuances are not ours, and our nuances are not theirs.

The Iranians have chosen to hold hostages representing people opposed to George Bush’s policies in the Middle East. George Soros is no friend of Bush. What position does he take now that one of his own people is being held as a hostage against him? The Iranians, by doing so they, quite probably unknowingly (our nuances), make it hard for Bush’s opponents to continue attacking him.

Just as when the Bush government undermines moderates (their nuances) in Egypt or Iran they wind up reinforcing the extremists.

5 replies »

  1. It’s asking a lot of Bush to grasp nuance even at home, let alone where other cultures are concerned. Maybe what your post points up is that other countries are saddled with … ummm, sub-optimal leadership … just like we are.

    This isn’t a terribly comforting thought.

  2. By George, I think he’s got it ;p

    My lonely crusade to point out that other world leaders are even more short-sighted than GWB may have a taker. China, for instance, is giving out massive loans to African countries in the hopes of … securing strategic interests in primary resources. This is the same logic used by the US and Russia in the 60s – 80s that lead to … massive corruption, theft of all the money, support for tyrannies, and … writing off the loans as part of the Millennial Development Plan at the UN. China will be in a similar trap soon.

    A business analyst, when asked if development organisations should learn from corporate and political leaders how to run their organisations declared: “Why? Most of them are truly dreadful.”

  3. Thinking that Iranian President Ahmadinejad might be a “decider” and runs a faith-based presidency makes me oh so thrilled.

    I’m starting to think that what the world needs is leaders who are mature enough to admit that they screw up from time to time and aren’t afraid to say that they’re sorry. Oh, I’m daydreaming again, aren’t I….

  4. The only president I recall saying, “I admit it, I screwed up,” was Tanzania’s first independence president, Julius Nyerere. By then (1985), though, he had completely obliterated the economy, destroyed the agriculture and created a stone-age hell-hole from which, 22 years later they have yet to emerge. And he did it all with the best of socialist intentions. He honestly believed he was doing good.

    Leaders do need humility. I think it is a crucial skill. One that is sadly lacking.

  5. I don’t think it’s humility, per se – humility is one of our most overrated goals in life. The REAL issue is what I call the Attitude to Ability Ratio. In essence, you should never have more attitude than ability. If you have an intelligence/ability of 2, you need a LOT of humble in your diet. If you’re the smartest person alive, I don’t mind attitude. Problems arise when your A:A ratio is over 1:1 – you have an ability of 6 and an attitude of 7 or more. That’s arrogance, and it’s a problem. If you’re a leader, it’s critical to know what you don’t know – that’s a big part of a well-balanced A:A Ratio.

    Too little attitude is a problem, too, although that rarely comes into play with world leaders…