What Russia and Iran have in common is someday their people will say ‘enough.’
.. Vladimir Putin must get a clammy feeling from the logic of Iranians taking to the streets against a corrupt government conducting costly adventures in places like Syria.
.. The average Iranian in the street doesn’t think the benefits of the nuclear deal failed to materialize. He thinks they were hijacked and hoarded by regime cronies.
.. Widely reported was the Obama administration’s shipment of $1.7 billion in untraceable cash, via cargo plane, directly to Iran’s leaders. Of 110 international business deals touted in the Iranian press as the fruit of sanctions relief, a Reuters accounting showed that 90 went to companies controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or other top officials.
.. the average Russian has seen his real income continue to shrink, no end to sanctions
.. Nor can the Kremlin shield him from the growing phenomenon of internet-based reporting on the absurd luxuries enjoyed by such regime favorites as Rosneft Chairman Igor Sechin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, much less the astonishing offshore wealth of Mr. Putin’s personal “friend,” the cellist Sergei Roldugin.
.. In both countries, normal, patriotic feeling has clearly begun leaching away from leaders whose defining quality is hypocrisy.
.. Under current leadership, 100% of everything is gobbled up in the corrupt power rivalries and overseas adventures of the leadership class (e.g., the Syrian war).
.. Nobody predicted the Arab Spring, the Ukrainian revolution that overthrew his ally Viktor Yanukovych, or the roadside execution of Gadhafi, an omen that Mr. Putin reportedly dwells on.
.. He was angry at Hillary Clinton for what he considers her efforts to foment a coup against him personally.
.. What the U.S. has over such countries is stable institutions in which to contain unpredictable events and forces.