Quiz for the Day: How Irrational is Iran?

I mean, after all, they both start with “ir”!

I was going to include this in my other post on Iran, but I think it deserves its own comment thread, so here’s the question”

Can someone cite for me an example of Iranian behavior, not rhetoric, that would demonstrate that it is an irrational actor?

FILED UNDER: Asia, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Rafer Janders says:

    Can someone cite for me an example of Iranian behavior, not rhetoric, that would demonstrate that it is an irrational actor?

    Well, they invaded Iraq for no good reaso..oh, wait, that was us.

    Ok, well, they’ve gotten themselves bogged down for over a decade in a fight against a few thousand lightly armed rebels in the mountains of Afghan…actually, us again.

    They inflated a massive real estate bubble, and allowed their financial industry to completely capture the nation’s regulatory apparatus, so when the bubble burst it initiated a worldwide financial crisis which nearly brought on a second Great Depre…damn it! Us again.

  2. Rafer Janders says:

    Can someone cite for me an example of Iranian behavior, not rhetoric, that would demonstrate that it is an irrational actor?

    They have not bowed to our every demand?

  3. G.A. says:

    Is this a trick question?

  4. Ron Beasley says:

    Quiz for tomorrow:
    How Irrational is Bibi Netanyahu?

  5. Barfour says:

    Iran for the most part is not irrational although they support groups like Hesbollah and Hamas, (I hope these spellings are right), who are violent groups. The Middle East needs less violence not more. What I am puzzled by is that Iran have pursued policies that have kept sanctions on them for decades, they should have made real efforts to normalise or at least improve relations with America and Israel a long time ago. They do not have to cave on every issue in order to improve relations with the west and Israel. Iran with its rich resources and its level of education should have an economy that is thriving and should be a leader in innovation in science and elsewhere but, the economy is weak, there in insufficient investment in refineries, the list goes on. This is where Iran is most irrational, they should focus on what is really needed, i.e, investment in education, industry, science, investments that will result in real benefits. Trying to pick fights with the west and Israel while there are real problems domestically that need attention is irrational.

  6. Anderson says:

    What I am puzzled by is that Iran have pursued policies that have kept sanctions on them for decades …

    I take your point, but the thing to remember is this: the country is governed by a bunch of fundamentalists. Imagine if the U.S. were ruled by a council of Pat Robertsons, with a Rick Warren in there as the token not-completely-nuts mullah.

    How many books do these people even read that aren’t religious texts or propaganda screeds? They probably understand next to nothing of how America is really governed. Hell, they probably actually believe their own Holocaust denial.

    Hitler’s declaration of war on the U.S. in 1941 has been a longstanding puzzle, but the answer boils down to his lack of any serious grasp of what the U.S. was like. I see little reason to think the Iranian gov’t is any better informed.

  7. john personna says:

    I think they’ve been fairly rational actors, and it is rhetoric that makes Ahmadinejad seem crazy as a bedbug to most Americans.

  8. PD Shaw says:

    If you start from the premise that they are an expansionary, revolutionary regime, they are quite rational. That’s why they support terrorist operations in neighboring countries.

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @Barfour:

    This is where Iran is most irrational, they should focus on what is really needed, i.e, investment in education, industry, science, investments that will result in real benefits. Trying to pick fights….while there are real problems domestically that need attention is irrational.

    I cannot think which other country this reminds me of…

  10. matt says:

    @Anderson: It has more to do with the fact that the US overthrew their legitimate leaders and then kept a power hungry murdering tyrant in control of the country for years. That the USA as a country has spent a great deal of time and effort meddling with their internal affairs for decades causes a lot of the problems.

    The true leadership in Iran are a lot more stable then Pat Robertson or any of the fundie crazies here..

  11. Ron Beasley says:

    @matt: Amen on that. Many if not most of our current FP problems are the result of CIA meddling and Iran is perhaps the best example.

  12. Al says:

    Does plagiarizing the Onion count as irrational?