Saturday, November 05, 2016

Iran then, the US now

It was the late 1970s and people were wondering, not inaudibly, what kind of governance would Iran experience under Ayatollah Khomeini. To be frank I asked the same question to an Iranian friend (yes, I risked having an Iranian friend those days) and he let out a roaring laugh. "The same kind a peanut farmer from Georgia imposes on the US."

That logic is impenetrable even if one were to point out that the US has a system, institutions etc. "Did it have these in 1775," he countered. "You had George Washington and a few people who took charge along with him. Khomeini is not operating in a vacuum. Give him credit for throwing out Shah Reza Pahlavi. He had help, beyond the knowledgeable, the rabble rousers, the truly effective ones."

Fast forward to 2016. I think Trump has as much experience in governance as Khomeini did. Trump has institutions - admittedly ones he does not care too much about. That makes him par with Khomeini. Trump has a few ersatz legit supporters (Chric Christie, Rudy Guiliani et al.) and a horde of rabble rousers. Every which way, Trump now is no worse than Khomeini then; the US same as Iran then.

Don't be an alarmist. Live with your collective choice, even if its I not palatable to you individually. You will come out of it fine.

Did you think Vietnam would survive without the help of the west? Surprise, surprise - it does. South Africa without Apartheid?

The US with Trump in the White House. Don't write him off.

Raghuram Ekambaram

P.S. The above written with tongue half in cheek.

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