Yesterday I went off to see Tehran's equivalent of Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. They had all the latest stuff there -- Gucci, Dior, Tommy Hilfiger, Givenchy, Mont Blanc, DSquared2, Yves St. Laurent, etc. The women were dressed to the nines. Forget just plain ordinary veils. Everyone there was wearing Hermes.
So much for sanctions.
"One reason that sanctions don't work so well over here" said an Iranian woman I met at the local KFC (Kabooky Fried Chicken), "is because there is so much European money invested in Iran that, even though the EU officially supports the imposition of sanctions, European investors cannot afford to completely play by the rules laid down by the US. And the other reason is that Iran is mostly industrially self-sufficient. We even make our own cars."
Iran, unfortunately, is not TOTALLY industrially self-sufficient, I was just about to find out. Today we flew from Tehran to Yazd and our plane was very very late in arriving. "Why is it so late?" I asked the man sitting next to me in the passenger lounge.
"This delay is due to the sanctions. Airplanes and airplane parts are hard to get in Iran right now."
"But doesn't sanctioning airplane parts put civilians in danger?"
"Yes it does. We just had a crash recently because of this. Plus it's hard to make repairs and we are forced to use the black market or to improvise. For instance, we now rent some of our planes because we are not allowed to buy them. We rent them from Russia, Turkey and even Bulgaria. But even so, many of our planes are in such poor shape right now that they aren't even allowed to land at European airports." Great. That's just what I needed to hear right before boarding my flight to Yazd.
"But why doesn't Iran make its own planes?"
"Specialization. In today's world economy, it's not possible to make everything." Oh. So the sanctions actually do end up hurting Iran -- unless of course you have a passion for Gucci. Then apparently you are okay.
But in general Iran really is industrially self-sufficient.
I wish that America was too.
For instance, just how vulnerable would WE be if we had sanctions imposed on us?
Let's suppose that the rest of the world finally got all pissed off at America because of Bush, Cheney and McCain's reckless and lawless foreign policy? Suppose that the rest of the world finally got fed up with all the waterboarding, preemptive strikes, DU contamination, WMD lies, lack of financial regulations and various other nasty things that the neo-cons have done across the globe in the past eight years? Suppose that the rest of the world decided to impose sanctions on the US? We'd be in big trouble. Why? Because America is NOT in any way industrially self-sufficient.
We'd be screwed.