Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Hard to Change People's Minds

This is from a very interesting interview with Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour, responding to a question about the effect of sanctions on the Iranian people:
To the average Iranian citizen it’s tough to discern whether deteriorating economic conditions are due to international sanctions or domestic mismanagement.
While it’s difficult to make generalizations, I think sanctions often accentuate people’s existing political disposition. For government critics, it’s another example of the regime’s disregard for their general well-being. A very common refrain you hear among Iranians is, “they [the government] do whatever they want, and we [the people] suffer the consequences.”
For government supporters, however, the sanctions offer another reason to criticize so called “American arrogance”. I don’t get the impression that sanctions really compel people to change their political orientation.
I think this is true in general about people's political opinions -- rather than change their views in response to events, people interpret events in ways that reaffirm their own opinions.

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