The last century witnessed a plethora of ideology-based regimes: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the People’s Republic of China, the United Arab Republic and the Buddhist Socialist State of Myanmar among others. The pretension behind all those labels was that rather than being the art of solving the people’s problems, politics was a means of advancing the real or imagined goals of an ideology.
Another thing the three crisis-struck regimes (Iran, Algeria, Venezuela) have in common is that they are all oil-and-gas states, which means that because they don’t depend on income from taxation, they can regard their people as expensive and bothersome extras.
In all three countries, the traditional military holds the balance of power between the ruling elite of which their own top brass is part and the mass of the rebellious citizenry.
Three crises in three continents: Iran in Asia, Algeria in Africa and Venezuela in Latin America. Do they have anything in common?
Pictured: Supporters of Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó gathered at a Citizens’ Assembly on March 16, 2019 in Valencia, Venezuela. (Photo by Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images)
The obvious thing they have in common is that all three crises are rooted in a sharp disconnect between a discontented but combative people thirsty for change and a tired but arrogant ruling elite hell-bent on hanging onto power.
Despite differences that might appear striking at first glance, all three countries have many other things in common.
They all have ideological regimes reflected in their official names. All three call themselves “republic” but render the term ambiguous through modifiers. The Iranian regime calls itself “Islamic” which it takes to mean rule by a section of the Shiite clergy under a self-styled “Supreme Guide”. The Algerian regime uses the double-barrel modifier “people’s democratic” to render the term “republic” meaningless. The Venezuelan regime obtains a similar result with the term “Bolivarian republic.”
All three hark back to the last century which witnessed a plethora of ideology-based regimes: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the People’s Republic of China,