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March 7, 2009
Iran approaching a precipice
The ever insightful pseudonymous Spengler exposes the pathologies of an imploding Iran in an article with the provocative title of "Sex, Drugs and Islam." Unlike the New York Times' Roger Cohen, Spengler carefully examines a society which he bluntly states "Iran is dying."
As a result
"Iran is dying for a fight," I wrote in 2007 (Please see Why Iran is dying for a fight, November 13, 2007.) in the literal sense that its decline is so visible that some of its leaders think that they have nothing to lose.
Iran's religious leaders (mullahs)
efforts to isolate Iran from the cultural degradation of the American "great Satan" have produced social pathologies worse than those in any Western country. With oil at barely one-fifth of its 2008 peak price, they will run out of money some time in late 2009 or early 2010. Game theory would predict that Iran's leaders will gamble on a strategic long shot. That is not a comforting thought for Iran's neighbors.
If a country doesn't care if it survives, it certainly isn't concerned about the continuation of its neighbors. While the hated Israel (Jews/Zionists) are the most public target, neighboring Arab countries (Iran is proudly not Arab) following a different branch of Islam are also despised.
Iran is literally dying.
The collapse of Iran's birth rate during the past 20 years is the fastest recorded in any country, ever.
This indicates low morale, no hope for a decent future. He points out that "prostitution has become a career of choice among educated Iranian women..." and "There is an extensive trade in poor Iranian women who are trafficked to the Gulf states in huge numbers, as well as to Europe and Japan."
And then there are the many drug addicts.
Second, according to a recent report from the US Council on Foreign Relations, "Iran serves as the major transport hub for opiates produced by [Afghanistan], and the UN Office of Drugs and Crime estimates that Iran has as many as 1.7 million opiate addicts." That is, 5% of Iran's adult, non-elderly population of 35 million is addicted to opiates. That is an astonishing number, unseen since the peak of Chinese addiction during the 19th century. The closest American equivalent (from the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health) found that 119,000 Americans reported using heroin within the prior month, or less than one-tenth of 1% of the non-elderly adult population.
And this means
Iran's startling rates of opium addiction and prostitution reflect popular demoralization, the implosion of an ancient culture in its encounter with the modern world. These pathologies arose not from poverty but wealth, or rather a sudden concentration of wealth in the hands of the political class. No other country in modern history has evinced this kind of demoralization.
And with a warning explanation to Obama and Clinton who beg Iran to unclench its fist and extend a hand in friendship while ignoring Cohen's blissful analysis of Iran's minority population, Spengler concludes
As in the decline of communism, what follows on the breakdown of a state ideology is likely to be nihilism. Iran is a dying country, and it is very difficult to have a rational dialogue with a nation all of whose available choices terminate in oblivion.