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Post Ordinary Iranians Support a Trump Victory
Created by John Eipper on 10/26/20 3:12 AM

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Ordinary Iranians Support a Trump Victory (Massoud Malek, USA, 10/26/20 3:12 am)

When a top US national security official announced that Iran is behind threatening, spoofed emails sent to voters, he did not mention that these hackers are supported by millions of ordinary and impoverished Iranians who want the end of the Mullahs' regime.

In the last few months, any time I called my relatives in Iran, they asked me to vote for Donald Trump on November 3rd. My niece begged me not to vote for Joe Biden. All my family members and friends in the US told me exactly the same thing.

People in Iran believe that this time, Trump will get rid of the Mullahs.

The Iranian people live in hell. Many of them can only afford bread and potatoes. In the last two months, the value of a dollar increased from 140,000 rials to 300,000 rials. My sister-in law told me she paid 350,000 rials for a dozen eggs. Five years ago one dollar was 10,000 rials. Before the Revolution one dollar was 70 rials; and a dozen of eggs was less than 20 rials.

JE comments:  Our colleague in Caracas, José Ignacio Soler, wrote with the same message:  ordinary Venezuelans hope for Trump's reelection, in the belief that it will bring regime change.

Massoud, please send more front-line reports from your relatives in Iran.  The economy sounds like it's on the verge of total collapse.  I am confused about the hacked emails--are they the work of individual Iranian citizens?  One gets the impression from the Western media that they are coming from the regime itself.

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  • What US Presidential Candidate do Ordinary Cubans Support? (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 10/26/20 10:38 AM)
    I read with great interest the comments of Massoud Malek and José Ignacio Soler. What they've said about Iranians and Venezuelans also describes the same pro-Trump sentiments to be found among "ordinary and impoverished" Cubans.

    This may seem anomalous considering that Trump re-imposed travel and economic sanctions on Cuba that have caused great hardship for ordinary Cubans. But people of the island now believe that regime change is necessary to achieve democracy and a free-market system. The feeling is that Obama simply allowed the Cuban government to become more entrenched, and that Biden will revive this policy, which benefited what are now three generations of the Party and military elite who have a piece of every enterprise while stifling economic freedom for others.

    Of course, the Cuban government is desperate for Biden to win.

    JE comments:  In my last two trips to Cuba, I met nobody with anything positive to say about Trump.  Granted, the comparatively privileged areas of Havana and Varadero may not be representative of the whole island.  Tim, do you sense that ordinary Cubans have an understanding that Trump's hardball stance may bring down their regime?  One would think that after 61 years of varying levels of US sanctions, few Cubans would still cling to this argument.

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    • Cuba's Military Supports Free-Market Reforms (Timothy Ashby, -Spain 10/27/20 4:41 AM)
      John, with all due respect, ordinary Cubans are fearful of speaking frankly to foreigners unless they have known them for many years, as is the case with my friends there.

      Raúl's "economic reforms" following Fidel's death were gradually eroded by the committed communists in the government and by the bureaucrats who were opposed to the growing economic power of the new middle class that was opening restaurants, guest houses, repair shops, farms, etc. New taxes and licensing restrictions were imposed to choke off the nascent free market. Also, the government is an absolute nightmare to do business with, despite its global campaign to attract badly needed FDI. Just last night I was speaking with a prominent UK businessman (our neighbour in Mallorca) whose consortium was negotiating for a project that would have brought $500 million into Cuba and employed hundreds of people. The Cuban government kept changing the terms, and eventually the investors gave up when the government demanded 51% ownership (i.e. controlling interest) and insisted that Cuban workers had to be employed via a labour exchange, which meant that the developers would, for example, pay their salaries of $5.00 per hour to the government which would then pay the workers $5.00 per day.

      I am aware that despite the Trump administration's blustering rhetoric about Cuba (which is driven by the need to garner the still powerful Cuban-America vote in Florida), discussions have been taking place between US (and foreign proxy) diplomats and Cuban counterparts for at least two years. The US proposition has been simple: break off all ties with Venezuela, promise to hold elections at some time in the near future, and open the economy to true free-market reforms. In exchange, the US would offer a bilateral free trade agreement, remove all sanctions, and provide various forms of aid. Raúl and the ineffectual President Díaz-Canel are opposed to this, while the military is open to the proposal. There has been talk of a coup d'etat, which the military knows would have widespread popular support.

      Cuba is a country of the edge of economic collapse due to a combination of Trump, its own government, and Covid. The sanctions won't bring regime change, but offers of major "goodies" might work. Trump is basically apolitical and would like to see Trump golf courses and hotels in Cuba (and so would the Cubans I know well).

      JE comments:  These are some fascinating possibilities.  If Trump managed to "open up" Cuba in exchange for significant reforms, it would cement his legacy in foreign policy.  Paradoxically, only a US president on the right could achieve such a thing, as a left-leaning administration would be accused of "softness" on Cuba.

      Tim, I hope you'll send regular updates from your informants in Cuba.

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  • Why Would Iran Meddle in the US Elections? (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 10/27/20 4:19 AM)
    How can the Iranian regime be so foolish as to push for the victory of someone who is imposing sanctions? By the way, Biden wants Iran to pay for its alleged meddling in the electoral system, so I do not see any difference. What do the Iranian people expect? The victorious Marines marching into Tehran? This is very difficult to believe for people with 5000 years of civilization. If you want a government change, do it by yourself.  Do not wait for the bayonets of other nations.

    However, during election time, people all over the world are getting "locos."

    I am not shedding any tears about the stories of foreign involvement in the US elections. For at least 75 years, the Empire has been meddling in the elections of other nations, so why not have a taste of the same medicine--even if such a tale, probably, is mostly coming from the sick mind of someone inside the country looking for a reason to justify his defeat at the polls?

    JE comments:  Eugenio, few would disagree with your "locos" appraisal, except that insane people can be brilliant and even charming. 

    I'm confused about the alleged Iranian meddling.  We know that Russia's Putin is a Trump Man, but is the IRI intervening for Trump or Biden?  Repressive regimes often need a bogeyman for domestic consumption; they can blame a nation's problems on that outside nemesis.

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    • Why Would People in Nations Affected by Sanctions Support Trump? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela 10/27/20 7:07 AM)
      It is interesting how the issue of the US elections has led to the discussion of correlated issues, namely the influence of Trump on public opinion in Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela.  As a witness and a partial participant in these events, I believe I can provide some insight.

      Eugenio Battaglia ("il Contrario") asks, in his most recent post, "How can the Iranian regime be so foolish as to push for the victory of someone who is imposing sanctions?"  Eugenio was referring to Trump of course. It is obvious that the Iranian regime will never promote any intervention by the United States, much less the Cuban or the Venezuelan regimes. The question is relevant, but it refers to the general population, or at least to the majority that suffers the consequences of repression, corruption, hunger, lack of basic services, and the violation of basic human rights.

      I do not know the case of Iran first-hand, but I am familiar with the other two countries. That is why I dare to think that Eugenio has never lived in a society subjected to regimes of that kind. If he had, he would realize that it's a question of survival.  Fear, hunger, hopelessness and despair could motivate a population to wish their country to be invaded by a foreign power to free them from what they themselves cannot do because of their powerlessness or lack of resources. Because that is what happens in reality, not because they are "locos" or have lost their courage, but because achieving change is, at least for now, out of their reach.

      To be clear, I do not believe that Mr Trump is ever going to militarily intervene in those countries.  That would be unthinkable, and I doubt that the current sanctions would exert enough pressure for a radical change, though for most people there is a genuine but naïve hope. To explain why Trump is preferred in simple terms among the populations in those countries, it is because Mr Biden is a Democrat, and the Democrats' ideologies and foreign policies have been frequently perceived as closer to the left, and it is taken for granted that Biden would be more tolerant with such regimes. For me this remains to be seen, but most oppositionist people believes so.

      JE comments:  Eugenio Battaglia did not experience sanctions per se, but he knows something far worse:  war.  I have long tried to imagine how I would feel if my nation were subjected to sanctions by the world's hegemon:  would my anger be directed against the sanctioner, or towards my own government for its misbehavior?  Both at once?  More importantly, would I prefer an end to the sanctions at any price, or would I support their continuation in the hope that my government would collapse?

      Like so many other extreme situations, you cannot imagine what it's like until you're in it.

      I assume North Koreans are also pro-Trump?  Is there even such a thing as North Korean "public opinion"?

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      • While the US Piddles Around, China Quietly Builds its Empire (Tor Guimaraes, USA 10/29/20 7:06 AM)
        José Ignacio Soler stated, "To explain why Trump is preferred in simple terms among the populations in [Venezuela and Cuba], it is because Mr. Biden is a Democrat, and the Democrats' ideologies and foreign policies have been frequently perceived as closer to the left, and it is taken for granted that Biden would be more tolerant with such regimes."

        I share Nacho's skepticism. We must not forget the long list of attacks unleashed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama, including assassinating innocent civilians and US citizens by drones. Thus, I conclude that the so-called oppositionist people are ignorant and misinformed.

        What I worry about is the geostrategic game.  While we are piddling around trying to bully other nations militarily or with sanctions to our way of thinking, China is making business partners all over the world. If these trends continue for another few years, we will go broke (oops, we already are) and the Chinese commies will eat the business lunch of the greatest capitalist nation on Earth.

        John Eipper asked, " I have long tried to imagine how I would feel if my nation were subjected to sanctions by the world's hegemon: would my anger be directed against the sanctioner, or towards my own government for its misbehavior? Both at once? More importantly, would I prefer an end to the sanctions at any price, or would I support their continuation in the hope that my government would collapse?"

        Thank God no other nation can put sanctions on the USA, but our own people have been victimized by our many corrupt and incompetent government administrations. Should someone somehow tell us how to treat our own people better? Just imagine if some more powerful nation would try; particularly now that we have the highest Covid-19 death rate in the world. I would fight the aggressor first, then go after my bad government.

        JE comments:  This year 2020 has been an aberration in countless ways, but here's a longer-term question.  Will China inevitably replace the US as the global hegemon?  If so, what will this look like in real terms?  For one thing, it would (will?) bring about a philosophical crisis.  If Western liberal democracy is proven not to be the best way to achieve hegemony, what does that mean?

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      • Gary Moore on Welcoming Foreign Intervention (John Eipper, USA 11/01/20 7:52 AM)
        Gary Moore writes:

        In support of José Ignacio Soler (October 27) rebutting Eugenio Battaglia's surprise at desperate populations wanting foreign powers to come and intervene, one wonders if Eugenio has forgotten the petitionings on his own doorstep, by both Dante and Petrarch.

        JE comments:  Interesting point.  I would respond to Gary Moore that in the times of Dante and Petrarch, there was no nation-state known as Italy, but just competing regions, factions and "houses."  Was it that different for a rival neighbor to invade you, or a true foreigner with a different language?

        This post arrived in my inbox with a Michelangelo quote:  "A thousand years from now, who will care what they look like?"  I confess it zipped over my head.  They are...?  Gary, some context?

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