The closest I’ve been to Iran was when my family went on a trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. As we boarded a tour boat on the Persian Gulf, I had no idea that if the boat had kept on going, maybe another 80 miles or so, we would arrive in Iran. I had no idea we were that close.
Then, as now, I feel quite oblivious.
Foreign affairs has been especially interesting to me because my family lived as diplomats for 10 years. While I wasn’t all that concerned with politics during that time, I usually paid more attention when something showed up in the news about a foreign government. Sometimes the impact was really close and I could see first-hand the effect our foreign policy had on people. Sometimes it was farther away. Either way, I began to understand more clearly that other countries closely watched the United States. Everything we said, everything we did had some sort of impact on the world around me as an American living in other countries.
I don’t think I fully understand what has been going on in the news regarding Iran. Sure, I have some idea of the fact that there have been various periods of sanctions and squabbling. There have been wars and unrest in the Persian Gulf region for a very long time. There have been fears and threats of nuclear weapons manufacturing. But when it comes down to understanding the nuances, the causes and effects, I realize I don’t know all that much.
Politics can become a beast when we’re functioning on partial information. I have been thinking seriously this week how important it is to research and cross-check information so that we have a more complete and accurate picture. I have to accept the fact that biases and slants will always be part of the narrative, but that makes it all the more important to incorporate a variety of resources. I’ve started a list of questions I want to find answers to before making a decision about what’s going on.
What do we know about Iran? What history do we have with them? What have our foreign policies been in the past? And why?
What questions do you have? What information could you share with others to help us understand what’s going on?
Speaking largely for myself, it’s been all too easy to see Iran as some country “over there”. It’s easy to become comfortable making judgments with only bits and pieces. I realize more and more I don’t want to throw my support behind the cheers or fears of various political voices, all the while having little to no idea what’s really going on. Some of us might be relatively closer to having the full picture. We might even be able to figuratively see outlines of a country in the distance. Now might be a good time, though, to dig a little deeper and take a closer look at Iran.
I, for one, plan on doing a lot more research so that the next time I’m that close….
I’ll know exactly what I’m looking at.