It is of course a truism that maintaining large standing armies will sooner or later lead to authoritarianism. It is equally obvious that by the same token that militarization of the world can be blamed largely on imperialistic U. S. foreign policies, so can the rise of many authoritarian regimes around the world be attributed to those oppressive policies.
When a country (whose only sin is its aspiration to national self-determination) is labeled by U.S. imperialism as "our enemy" and is, therefore, encircled and threatened by the U.S. military monster, that country's political, economic and democratic growth is bound to be distorted or derailed from a path of a healthy, natural or spontaneous evolution. Finding themselves in the bull's eye of the menacing U.S. war juggernaut, security forces of such beleaguered countries are bound to react nervously/harshly in the face of protest demonstrations of domestic opposition, even when such demonstrations are for legitimate reasons. The shameful history of covert U.S. operations abroad, including the violent overthrow of many democratically elected leaders through military coup d'e'tats, shows that expressions of indigenous opposition or grievances in such "enemy" countries are often subverted by well-financed and well-armed U.S. agents, either penetrated from outside or recruited from within, thereby warping the development of a "healthy" political/democratic process in those countries.
What is utterly demagogical is that, having thus perverted the politico-democratic process in such countries, U.S. propaganda machine then turns around and blame the religion or culture or leaders of those countries as inherently incompatible with democratic values. Regrettably, not only do most of the American people but also many people elsewhere, including in the countries targeted for destabilization, fall for this ruse--in effect, blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator.
Viewed in this light, the rise in the influence of the military-security forces in the Iranian politics and economics is a direct result of the menacing imperial policies of the United States and its allies toward that country.
Thus, President Obama's or Secretary Clinton's or other U.S. policy makers' bellyaching about the rise of the power of the armed forces in Iran represents a case of gross obfuscation, that is, a case of barking up the wrong tree: instead of blaming IRGC they should blame their own imperialistic foreign policies, which nurtures militarization and curtailment of civil liberties not only in Iran but also in many other parts of the world. Indeed, militarization of the world and the resulting proliferation of many (relatively smaller) military-industrial complexes around the globe are unmistakable byproducts of the monstrous U.S. military-industrial complex. The inherent dynamics of this monster as an existentially-driven war juggernaut compels other countries around the world (both "allies" and "enemies") to embark on paths to militarism and authoritarianism.
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007), teaches economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa.