Why care about Iran?


Atrios at Eschaton:

My uneducated opinion is that everyone seems to be disproportionately obsessed with this country largely due to the fact that for the past several years we’ve been worried Cheney’s gang would decide to bomb the shit out of it for no particular reason. I personally have no filter that allows me to determine just who actually might have any idea what they’re talking about on the subject.

My uneducated opinion is that everyone is disproportionately obsessed for a variety of reasons:

  1. we are at war in two countries neighboring it.
  2. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pretty much border it and are two of our largest suppliers of petroleum
  3. Pakistan also borders it
  4. Iran publicly supports Hamas and Hezbollah in their fight against Israel with resources
  5. Update: Iran is large petroleum producer itself. Unrest here, not good for gas prices. (forgot that earlier)

Mousavi is no softy. There is no Iranian Utopia that is guaranteed to arise with a Mousavi election. He is an insider and has been around for decades and first came to prominence during Iran’s oppressive regimes in the 1980’s. But he had a reform platform, which may not be a step towards what we would like, but may potentially be a huge plus towards stabilizing the border Iran shares with Iraq or creating a diplomatic tipping point in the Middle East.

Look, I never heard of tranches, sub-prime mortgages, Alt-A and CDS’s until the financial crisis hit us. Now, I want to know about what the hell it means. To be honest, I couldn’t have cared less about Iran’s elections, until we engaged in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and quickened unrest in the region. Now I want know about what the hell this election means.

Do we have experts? A few, but the best probably aren’t domestic and it will require some of our news organizations to branch out to foreign academics, ex-pats and begin to have long form discussions where yelling or shallow questions does not pass for debate and inquiry. Can the networks, CNN, MSNBC and other news sources adapt quickly enough I doubt it. But I’d rather see them try.

Maybe the problem is that out of the top 20 or 25 or even 30 most populace countries, we really don’t have authoritative sources who can take us deep into the nature of a foreign event.