Could Iran go pro-US?

Readability

Could Iran go pro-US?

USS ABRA­HAM LINCOLN

The Abra­ham Lin­coln Strike Group is steam­ing towards the Per­sian Gulf, and addi­tional Patriot anti-​missile bat­ter­ies are ship­ping to nearby nations. Iran con­fi­dently declares it can sink the US Navy with one mis­sile. Every­one is focused on what might become a shoot­ing war.

But the shoot­ing part doesn’t mat­ter in the long run. Whether we shoot mis­sile, or Iran shoots mis­siles, or nobody shoots anything…the shoot­ing doesn’t mat­ter. At some point, US forces will leave the area. What will remain is the Iran­ian peo­ple, and right now, that part doesn’t look so good.

US sanc­tions have been crip­pling Iran. That part is severely under­re­ported in the media, but a nice run­down pub­lished by Al Jazeera lays it out:

…As infla­tion hit 40 per­cent ear­lier this year, con­sumer prices went up by 40 to 60 per­cent, putting addi­tional strain on the already impov­er­ished lower-​class Iran­ian house­holds. … Over­all, Iran’s econ­omy in 2019 is expected to go even deeper into reces­sion, with esti­mated neg­a­tive growth of 5.5 per­cent or higher.”

–Niko­lay Kozhanov

This sucks for every­one involved, but it really sucks if you’re young. Unem­ploy­ment and a bad econ­omy hit young peo­ple hard­est, who end up delay­ing mar­riage, liv­ing at home with mom and dad, tak­ing on mas­sive debt to get by, and even­tu­ally protest­ing about their sit­u­a­tion. If that all sounds famil­iar, like you saw that in the US before, it shouldn’t sur­prise you that human behav­ior crosses eth­nic lines.

This time, any eco­nomic dis­rup­tion will be worse, because there are MORE young peo­ple now than before:

Whereas in 1986 and 1996, in the after­math of the last two great down­turns, youth (ages 15 to 29) com­prised 26.4 per­cent and 28.4 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion respec­tively, in 2006 they accounted for 35.4 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion and 70 per­cent of the unem­ployed, both ratios being the high­est in the Mid­dle East and among the high­est glob­ally. Fur­ther­more, most of these young men and women are well edu­cated and, lack­ing sta­ble employ­ment, unable to marry, likely engen­der­ing feel­ings of dis­ap­point­ment and alien­ation. Had the oil boom lasted another 5 to 10 years, most youth would have “sur­vived” their twen­ties and reached the glo­ri­ous age of 30, when most Ira­ni­ans finally find a sta­ble job and many get mar­ried. (Unem­ploy­ment rates drop from 25 per­cent for men and 45 per­cent for women in their twen­ties to less than 5 per­cent after age 30.) The onset of the eco­nomic slow­down at this time will likely inflict more dam­age on youth than any other age group.”

- Djavad Salehi-​Isfahani

If the young rise up, will the United States be ready? Iran nor­mally purges Pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates that are pro-​US. There are Guai­dos in Iran. There are peo­ple that would rather not build nuclear weapons and instead build a real econ­omy. If we focused on find­ing those peo­ple, per­haps we could stop hav­ing to move air­craft car­ri­ers into the Per­sian Gulf.

This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other gov­ern­ment agency.

USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN

The Abraham Lincoln Strike Group is steaming towards the Persian Gulf, and additional Patriot anti-missile batteries are shipping to nearby nations. Iran confidently declares it can sink the US Navy with one missile. Everyone is focused on what might become a shooting war.

But the shooting part doesn’t matter in the long run. Whether we shoot missile, or Iran shoots missiles, or nobody shoots anything…the shooting doesn’t matter. At some point, US forces will leave the area. What will remain is the Iranian people, and right now, that part doesn’t look so good.

US sanctions have been crippling Iran. That part is severely underreported in the media, but a nice rundown published by Al Jazeera lays it out:

“…As inflation hit 40 percent earlier this year, consumer prices went up by 40 to 60 percent, putting additional strain on the already impoverished lower-class Iranian households. … Overall, Iran’s economy in 2019 is expected to go even deeper into recession, with estimated negative growth of 5.5 percent or higher.”

-Nikolay Kozhanov

This sucks for everyone involved, but it really sucks if you’re young. Unemployment and a bad economy hit young people hardest, who end up delaying marriage, living at home with mom and dad, taking on massive debt to get by, and eventually protesting about their situation. If that all sounds familiar, like you saw that in the US before, it shouldn’t surprise you that human behavior crosses ethnic lines.

This time, any economic disruption will be worse, because there are MORE young people now than before:

“Whereas in 1986 and 1996, in the aftermath of the last two great downturns, youth (ages 15 to 29) comprised 26.4 percent and 28.4 percent of the population respectively, in 2006 they accounted for 35.4 percent of the population and 70 percent of the unemployed, both ratios being the highest in the Middle East and among the highest globally. Furthermore, most of these young men and women are well educated and, lacking stable employment, unable to marry, likely engendering feelings of disappointment and alienation. Had the oil boom lasted another 5 to 10 years, most youth would have “survived” their twenties and reached the glorious age of 30, when most Iranians finally find a stable job and many get married. (Unemployment rates drop from 25 percent for men and 45 percent for women in their twenties to less than 5 percent after age 30.) The onset of the economic slowdown at this time will likely inflict more damage on youth than any other age group.”

– Djavad Salehi-Isfahani

If the young rise up, will the United States be ready? Iran normally purges Presidential candidates that are pro-US. There are Guaidos in Iran. There are people that would rather not build nuclear weapons and instead build a real economy. If we focused on finding those people, perhaps we could stop having to move aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.