Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Georgia on My Mind

1. I'm back from a trip to Canada where I presented at the Iranian Studies conference, and then we took a mini-road trip within Canada and throughout the US northeast. Canada is really great, at least from what I can tell. And it helped to be hosted by Nazli, who is generous, lovable, and real. She and the many other volunteers at the ISIS conference deserve to be publicly recognized and thanked for all of their hard work. Maybe I missed it, but it didn't seem like their contributions were adequately acknowledged during the conference.

2. Historically, Russia has not been a good neighbor to Iran. Its colonial interventions in Iran meant the loss of much territory and wealth as well as a whole lot of other immeasurable intangibles, like feelings of security or national pride. Even in contemporary times, Russia has continued its exploitation. Taking advantage of US sanctions that prevent Iran from having access to what is legally its right to have, the Russians have stepped in to sell Iran a bunch of technological equipment at exorbitant prices, with dubious quality, all the while extracting a whole lot of other concessions from Iran.

Despite all of this, Russia's reemergence as evidenced by the conflict with Georgia (which is only one example of the territories Iran lost to Russia), probably bodes well for Iran and the region as a whole.

It is best to have no bullies on the block, but having two bullies is better than having one.

The conflict between Georgia and Russia as well as its implications, which will be wide and far reaching, deserve careful consideration which I hope to expand on in the future. For now, it will suffice to say that a significant power shift has occurred, and we will be feeling its global consequences for a long time yet.

3. I just received the DVD for Iran (is Not the Problem), which I'm looking forward to watching later this week. Here is the trailer, if you want to take a look.