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 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 15-Aug-05
Feminism flourishes in Iran, as the international crisis on nuclear weapons intensifies

Web Log - August, 2005

Feminism flourishes in Iran, as the international crisis on nuclear weapons intensifies

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, named a hardline Islamist cabinet on Sunday, signalling a strongly Islamic direction, both domestically and internationally.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran<font size=-2>(Source: )</font>
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran(Source: )

The political turmoil in Iran is coming to a boil as President Ahmadinejad moves the country in an increasingly ultra-Islamist direction, courting conflicts with the international community over the development of nuclear fuel and with its own youth over the issue of women's rights.

Iran is exhibiting some of the classic signs of a "generational awakening" period, with a growing level of political conflict that resembles the level of conflict in America's last generational awakening period in the 1960's.

John F. Kennedy became U.S. President in 1961, and was recognized as a young, charismatic leader who would change the country's direction. He was a World War II hero, and remembered well the horrors and genocidal atrocities of that war. Thus, he saw his primary job as protecting the country from a new world war with the Communists in Russia and China. However, he immediately ran into political turmoil. Shortly after taking office, he and the country suffered a major international embarassment in a confrontation with Russia known as the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Later, Kennedy launched policies that led to the Vietnam War. Had he not been assassinated in 1964, he would have faced the same "generation gap" inspired student-led riots and demonstrations against the war. As it was, the antiwar movement, along with the "racial equality movement and the "environmental movement" and the "women's lib movement" caused Kennedy's two successors, President Lyndon Johnson and President Richard Nixon, to end their presidencies in disgrace.

The reason that this kind of generational political conflict always occurs during a generational awakening period is because it's the time, 15-20 years after the last crisis war, that the kids born after the war, and with no personal memory of the war, begin to make their political views felt. They rebel against the severe rules and compromises imposed by their parents, the generation of war heroes who want only to make sure that their own children never have to suffer another war like the last crisis war. The heart of the conflict is that the war heroes want the people to continue to sacrifice their individual rights for the benefit of the country as a whole, while their children fight for individual rights, including minority rights and women's rights, and the right not to have to make any sacrifices at all for one's country. It is a major principle of Generational Dynamics that this kind of political conflict occurs one generation past the end of any crisis war.

Now we see the young, charismatic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a position to change Iran's direction, as the country enters its own generational awakening, one generation following the genocidal Iran/Iraq war.

Ahmadinejad sees his duty as protecting Iran from the danger of another war. Iran had no effective defense to Saddam Hussein's use of poison gas during the Iran/Iraq war, and so Ahmadinejad sees the development of nuclear weapons as a necessary defense when the next war comes. He currently has the support of the young people in Iran for this, but he could lose it quickly if something goes wrong.

Similarly, his announcement yesterday to appoint a staunchly hardline ultra-Islamist cabinet reflects his belief that his country will be best protected if the entire population unites behind conservative Islam.

This is sure to cause conflict, because just as 1960s America spawned a "women's lib" movement, Iran is developing a very strong feminist movement.

Increasingly, college-age women have been demonstrating publicly in favor of women's rights, according to the Boston Globe. Such demonstrations occurred in June at Tehran University, during the election campaign, and are continuing. Indeed, 60% of the students entering Iranian universities are now female, and the number of working women is growing steadily.

Ahmadinejad has indicated that he doesn't plan to curtail women's rights. But let's face it, it doesn't take a lot to get women angry, and with a bunch of old war hero geezers in the cabinet making all the rules, it's only a matter of time before a confrontation develops.

More serious is the growing confrontation with the international community over the development of nuclear fuel. Iran insists that this fuel is being developed only to run electric power plans, but Iran's promises are not well trusted, by the United States or, increasingly, by the European Union.

On Sunday, Iran warned the United States that any use of force over its nuclear program would be a "mistake," "Bush should know that our capabilities are much greater than those of the United States. We don't think that the United States will make such a mistake."

The International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA), whose mission is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, is considering turning the matter over to the United Nations Security Council, where the possibility of sanctions against Iran will be discussed.

The women's movement is expected to become increasingly confrontational on the domestic front, and the nuclear weapon issue is shaping up to be as major an international confrontation as the Bay of Pigs invasion was for America. This indicates an increasingly tumultuous political future is at hand for Ahmadinejad and Iran. (15-Aug-05) Permanent Link
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