14It is easy to generalize about Iran's future and to use strategic rhetoric to
support either those who wish to "demonize" Iran, by calling it a major
threat to its neighbors and the West, or those who wish to "sanctify" Iran,
by claiming that it is evolving into a moderate state. The preceding analysis has shown, however, that there is no way to resolve this debate. Iran
has growing capabilities to threaten its neighbors, but it is unclear that it
will aggressively use such capabilities or that they will necessarily lead to
war. Further, Iran has complex mix of political, economic and weaknesses
Dealing with the Threats
and Non-Threats from Iran
The Future of Strategic Limitations Iran faces serious near-term and mid-term limitations on its strategic
options and the military forces it can develop. No Iranian regime can
quickly overcome these limitations, regardless of its political character
|• || Iran is a divided nation whose revolution has lost most of its luster. It can support Islamic movements in other state, and play a
"spoiler" role throughout the region. However, Iran lacks charismatic leadership, has little ability to influence Sunni religious
thinking and Shi'ite thinking outside Iran, and is perceived as
"Persian" both ethnically and in terms of its strategic ambitions.
Like the Soviet Union before it, it represents a powerful destabilizing force, but not a force that can hope to create client states
|• || Iran has structural economic and demographic problems that will
take years to correct, even if Iran can adopt far more extensive economic reforms than it has to date. It has failed to demonstrate that it
can create a revolutionary economic model for other states, and it|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Iran:Dilemmas of Dual Containment.
Contributors: Anthony H. Cordesman - Author, Ahmed S. Hashim - Author.
Publisher: Westview Press.
Place of publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication year: 1997.
Page number: 312.
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