[REVIEW] Roger Howard, Iran in Crisis? Nuclear Ambitions and the American Response
Roger Howard's Iran in Crisis? Nuclear Ambitions and the American Response, excerpted here at The Iranian, is a very readable critical overview of the Iranian situation, apart from some embarrassing proofreading errors. That said, the readability can't correspond to any sort of comforting appraisal of the likely outcomes in Iran. The political system may be increasingly unrepresentative and unresponsive to democratic oversight, the economic system dominated by inefficient capital-intensive state sector that contributes to growing mass emigration, and Iran's nuclear ambitions impossible to counteract, but Howard makes the case that enough things are going well for the Islamic Republic for it to continue to remain in power. Current American strategies of confrontation just can't exert enough pressure on Iran, while more aggressive strategies like a direct military confrontation or support for the Mujahedeen e-Khalq would just inflame Iranian nationalism and discredit the United States. The only hope that Howard holds out is in the sort of realpolitik that has let the Islamic Republic be selectively pragmatic in its choice of foreign partners, as when it hired Israeli technicians to maintain its air force in the Iran-Iraq War or when it bought advanced military technology from the Soviet Union, or indeed with its constructive support for post-invasion Afghanistan and Iraq. If not, Howard suggests that things could easily spiral out of control.