"The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." - V. I. Lenin.
The front page of this morning's Wall Street Journal brings us this precious bit of news:
Iranian security forces have arrested an Iranian-American businessman who had promoted improved ties between the two countries, adding to signs that hard-liners in Tehran are trying to block foreign investors from entering the Islamic Republic in the wake of the historic nuclear deal.Today's news reminds us of this story from a couple of months ago ("While Congress argues over Iran, Europe rushes to do business there") in which the WaPo seems to argue that European businesses are leaving Americans eating their dust in the new Iranian gold rush. Pressure from Europeans to lift sanctions played some role, perhaps an important one, in the Obama administration's deal with the mullahs. Read the linked story to get a sense of that pressure.
In the past few weeks, Iranian businessmen with links to foreign companies have been detained, interrogated and warned against wading into economic monopolies controlled by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to several businessmen interviewed inside and outside of Iran.
Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard jealously guards its loot, to the point of tossing foreign business people in the clink. Who could have seen that coming? Well, not the American guy, who should have realized he was the rube and that Iran had no reason to make an example of Europeans, because there is no need for leverage over Europeans. Their own mercantilism is leverage enough.
Lenin's prediction was wrong, of course, as a matter of historical dialectic. It is easy to see his error, though, because the sort of capitalists he imagined as the norm -- more Orren Boyle than Hank Rearden -- subvert government to their purpose every day.