busy over the last few years too. Fighting via proxy, or with their own personnel in Iraq and Lebanon, and supporting occassional attacks in Saudi Arabi. All the while, a nuclear weapons program is in high gear. Can the Iranians afford this?
A brief comparison of economic strength would seem to be relevant:
The GNP of Iran (World Bank figure; 2004) is about US$155,329 million, or US$2,320 per capita.
US GNP (in 2000 dollars) was $11,433.6 billion (U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis 6/1/2006).
How about Population? US ~ 300,000,000. Iran ~ 67,500,000.
Crude overall measures of strength, to be sure. But why is it a persistent meme that the US is wearing itself out while Iran never even gets a passing glance? Iran is a theocratic despotism with substantial minority (Azeri, Arab) unrest, a young population that knows nothing of the "Revolution", and is a one-trick pony in economics - oil. She has extended herself into proxy (and direct intervention) in Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabi. Her lack of domestic defense capabilities has made her a huge customer of Russia and China, and a partner with North Korea.
How long can Iran keep it up? Why isn't it that we are over-extending them, and they are wobbling? I posit this more as a series of questions - this will take me much more work to illustrate any points I hope to make. Perhaps a rainy weekend in the future...