Howard, Michael
December 1980
Foreign Affairs;1980 Special Issue, Vol. 59 Issue 3
Nobody doubted that the Iranian revolution of 1978-79 was a major historic event whose consequences would take many years to work themselves out. It did not yet signify a major transformation in the global balance between the Soviet Union and the United States. Rather, in its fundamentalist rejection both of Marxism and of "Western values," in its search for indigenous roots within an Islamic culture equally hostile to both, it revealed how superficial, almost trivial, had been the analysis of both Western and Soviet statesmen who had attempted to force so complex a society into their own simplistic and intellectually impoverished frameworks. The Iranians were rejecting the entire international system of which they saw themselves, with some reason, to have been the victims for a century and a half; a system that had enabled British, Russians and, latterly, Americans to manipulate Iranian politics and the Iranian economy as, in their superior Western wisdom, they thought fit.


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