Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Not necessarily another '1979'

By Paul Iddon

A historical parallel worth pondering and scrutinizing.

Iranian revolution.
Following what he described as the Obama Administrations deer-in-the-headlights policy with regards to Egypt in the revolutionary period of early 2011 Conservative commentator and columnist Victor Davis Hanson asked if we were facing a redux of 1979. Earlier this month he posed a similar question pondering whether or not “2012 will be our 1979.” The main premise of these articles was that Obama – like Carter in his last year in office – will ultimately through a questionable foreign policy inadvertently give a green light to countries the US is suspicious of or actively hostile against to take bold measures – with the understanding that they can get away with them with little or no consequences – that will hurt American interests and Americas allies like he argues Carter did in 1979.

This isn't a rejoinder to any of those articles, but is instead an examination of how this historical analogy applies to Iran. As the Iranian revolution is probably the most salient example of Carters ineptness. For his indecisiveness during the Shah's downfall and the ensuing 444 hostage crisis eventually lost him the 1980 presidential election, as well as empowered the fundamentalist reactionary elements of that revolution.

1979 was also the year that saw Carter broker a long lasting peace agreement between Egypt's Anwar Sadat and Israel's Menachem Begin. However following Sadat's assassination by Islamic Jihad and Mubarak taking the office of president the following US administrations did little to democratize Egypt, and Mubarak inevitably became a self-centred megalomaniac in a manner reminiscent of the Shah in his later years.

Also reminiscent to the Shah and Mubarak were the perceptions of them held by both Carter and Obama close to the end of their respective reigns. Toasting with the Shah some ten months before the revolution Carter commended him, stating under his leadership his Iran was “an island of stability, in one of the more troubled parts of the world.” Obama in a similar manner spoke of Mubarak as being a “force for stability” and declined to acknowledge that he was a dictator, since he didn't want to “label folks.”

Although it's seen by many as a hinge moment in history that sparked a violent epoch of embroiling holy war the roots of the Iranian revolution are by all means very admirable. The masses of Iranian civilians who bravely gathered in what grew to be millions to face down the most powerful autocrat in the Middle East were fighting for what was sure to be a promising future. Instead from exile came an aged cleric whose reactionary forces made Iran a pariah state as by storming a foreign consulate it showed that the norms of international diplomacy were a wholly alien concept to them. A people who had for too long been pushed around, bullied and subverted only got a brief whiff of modernity and self-determination before the actions of the reactionary fundamentalists plundered these hopes and aspirations and simply saw to it that theocratic tyranny replaced the secular tyranny previously afflicted by the Shah.

The origins of the Shah's palpable isolation and heightened state of megalomania are worth looking into. The origins in question being the 1953 coup against Mossadeq and heavy American and British backing of his peacock throne which itself would move on to become alarmingly authoritarian in its nature and policies following that horrendous affair. The blow-back for that calculated US/UK act of Cold War Realpolitik in 1953 quite evidently culminated in the 1979 revolution. A fact recognized and clearly understood by the present Republican contender Ron Paul, who has often used Operation Ajax as an example of how questionable imperialistic foreign policies of the past have embroiling effects in the present. He has as a result argued along the lines that such foreign policy endeavours inevitably come back to bite America on the ass. Whilst he is to a large degree correct in his assessment one feels that past crimes aren't an excuse for negation of reparation in the future. Hence walking away from problems you helped or had a role in creating isn't a responsible thing to do. Nor is giving credence to a chauvinistic provincial isolationist under culture on the American right a particular healthy thing to do in a world that is becoming all the more open and globalized.

Recognizing past wrongdoings or crimes is a good thing to do, giving reparations and amends is an even better thing to do and would help make the world all the more safer and prosperous. Now that would be a foreign policy worth relentlessly pursuing for the good of the peoples of the respective countries.

Returning to the 1979 analogy that Hanson posed, one actually hopes that there is at least a latent possibility that 2012 will encompass some preconditions present in Iran in 1978-79, that being a prevalent desire for and willingness to pursue a grassroots revolutionary regime change. What the Obama Administration needs to do for the rest of its first term – and indeed for the duration of a second term if Obama is re-elected – is take a stand now for the various democratic and reform movements in Iran and reassure them that the United States supports them in their struggle, and that such a revolutionary change to a palpable secular and democratic system is something the US welcomes. And those Iranians in pursuit of it have the support of the US, not just retroactively if they succeed in what is sure to be a bitter struggle, but during their grassroots inception and gradual growth and evolution. So when and if there is a redux of the 'original' revolution in 2012 or 5 years down the road the US administration shouldn't make the mistakes and indecisiveness that led to the fiasco of 1979 which saw the hijacking by violent reactionaries of a sound and just revolution.

13 comments:

Stranger said...

criticizing ron paul i think iddion you've sold your last ounce of respectability good to see you support the american military industrial complex to retain the empire

braking it down

iddion: 1953 was not a good policy decision in hindsight but since the american political establishment is expectionalist "neocon view that that america is always good" they should carry on their intervention to get a regime thats good for us, iddion completely ignoring socio-economic factors of decision making of the US establishment like a good liberal hypocrite should

of course they are intervening as you want and more forcefully as your advocating

reality iddion a policey that is commiting terrorist acts in iran and actively aiding groups in iran that want to brake up the state

FACT iddion if you take your views as the representational of democratic ideal in mainstream thinking among liberals then thats good reason enough to oppose your agenda

your not a democrat or liberal because if you think in your delusion sate that you are then offcial american policey on saudi arabia and egypt is democartic as the US always supports freedom and democracy because of course they will be someday if they are allied with the US right?

you must hate me for braking down your very thoughtful intellectual arguments down to the worthless crap it is

becuase it would be funny if it wasn't that what you so subtly suggest is so serious and dangerous for millions peoples lives, doing it for irans freedom of independence and more importantly stooping the country from being attacked and destroyed while keeping the two in balance

Paul Iddon said...

@ Stranger

It would do you some good to actually read my article properly before firing off such an unlettered tirade.

I didn't realize Ron Paul was above criticism.
When I said he was right in his assessment about 1953 and added that reparations are due from the US to the Iranian people for that rather sordid affair I don't believe I was smearing his campaign!

Furthermore when I called out Obama for refusing to acknowledge that Hosni Mubarak was a dictator I don't believe I gave off the impression that I am of the belief that Egypt under Mubarak was a beacon of democracy simply because the US subsidized his dictatorship. Also when I on previous occasions stated that Iran's dwindling amount of democracy is alarming because its nearly at the same - all time low - level as Saudi Arabia I don't believe I was trying to impress upon you or anyone that I consider Saudi Arabia to be - in any sense of the word - a democracy. I don't know how you construed my words to mean anything even remotely similar to that.

And by previously devoting a whole column to denouncing all forms of terrorism in Iran I'm obviously cheer-leading the likes of the MKO, right?

'you must hate me for braking down your very thoughtful intellectual arguments down to the worthless crap it is'

Well sir, that is something you have yet to do!

Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jabbar Fazeli, MD said...

Agreed Paul!
Democracy is a fragile thing, and is most fragile in its infancy, as is the case in Egypt today, and future Iran post 2012 revolution. Contenious support of the principles of democracy and free soeech should be an ongoing effort by the USA, regardless of who the president might be. Afterall, it is, or should be, a national security issue for the united states to promote democratic values around the world.

Anonymous said...

For 2012 to be another 1979, first the U.S. would need to agree to permit Mubarak into the U.S. (like the Shah), then the Egyptians would need to take over control of their country from the military (as happened in Iran(, and then the military with assistance from the CIA would attempt an unsuccessful coup against the popularly mandated civilian government (Nojeh coup attempt).

Get the picture, Paul?

Anonymous said...

the leftist and islamist anti-americanism is the source of this evil; Iran should get rid of this attitude; anti-americanism is sort of a 'true lie'; people need to grow up and understand that the world is a different place than those thoughts they want to be taught in kindergarten ...

Anonymous said...

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/01/18/uk-soldiers-arrested-on-charges-of-sexually-abusing-afghan-children/

Stranger said...

thank you for your response but somehow you avoided answering your own writings

unless you want people to ignore the part of your writings that supersedes or negates another, it is that is what you've written, another liberal hypocrisy,

you've written i repeat

firstly
that the US should intervene in Iran's affairs because the US is good, u might not have written like that but that's what you said

its like saying Israel should intervene in gaza for the sake of the palastinians because its interest is democracy because it says so

secondly you wrote

it should intervene and saying it so because it shouldn't be like 1979 or 2009 and support its interests groups more firmly that of course assumes it goes beyond the current terrorism lol

iddion's defense i was saying they should support the democrats and intervene for them because the US is just there in the world to support democracy and freedom

since you already said the US should retain its military industrial complex and global police men role as your criticism of ron paul combined with above that

what your basically saying the US should carry on with status quo and maybe be bit more interventionist but status quo is good because of course
the US political establishment is always good

the reason Egypt is such a good example is what Egypt has today and what the US is allied with today after there revolution

that is a example of US intervention but iddion cant see any bad in US intervention other then a mistake of 1953

grand example of liberal hypocrisy like the ones who supported the arab dictators and israel because they are secular against potential democrats who are islamist

explaining to you that your effort to say your against terrorism when your supporting terrorism is simple,

u think the current US poitical establishment that is committing terrorist acts in iran should intervene in iran by supporting the opposition which it is already doing right? because a country which commits terrorist acts (besides many other things in other countries) in another country its claim of intervening for sake of freedom and democracy can be taken seriously by paul iddion and should intervene

BOTTOMLiNE
your idea only means advocating the stus quo of suffering for iranians and other peoples in the region who are under this imperial domination

this is what i want THE US to do to not care about what happens in Iran and that it should leave country alone and just trade as another country it should have the same policy brazil for example has towards iran

Anonymous said...

Stranger

The US helped Iran get rid of the Soviet occupying forces from Azarbayjan in 1946.
If 1953 didn't happen Iran would have ended like Afghanistan with an invasion by soviet forces.
And no there was no democratically elected government at the time.
The prime minister was appointed by the Shah and parliament approved.
Iran's main enemy is the mullahs then the mullahs again followed by British intelligence and stupid American leftest liberals who cow tail to the British intelligence.
Last but not least Russia followed by China the slave state.
And one last thing stranger Iranians hate the Islamic theocracy despite what some mullah boys say on these pages.The day will come when the Islamic fascist regime will come to an end with or without US help.

Paul Iddon said...

@ Stranger

Sorry, I must be failing to properly comprehend your points, you're asserting that I'm 'somehow avoiding answering my own writings.' I've already asked you, how do you construe scrutinizing US actions and certain double standards in the past and present as liberal hypocrisy?

And what's this about?:

'iddion's defense i was saying they should support the democrats and intervene for them because the US is just there in the world to support democracy and freedom

since you already said the US should retain its military industrial complex and global police men role as your criticism of ron paul combined with above that

what your basically saying the US should carry on with status quo and maybe be bit more interventionist but status quo is good because of course
the US political establishment is always good'

Again I've stated the contrary in the post and in my first response to you as well as now, yet you keep bellowing your initial accusation of which what I have previously outlined attests and makes evident that these accusations are wholly and on their face false.

'your idea only means advocating the stus quo of suffering for iranians and other peoples in the region who are under this imperial domination'

You do realize that the US not taking the stance and adopting the policy I've outlined with the full intentions of bringing about a national and secular democracy in Iran is also imperialistic. It would also be complicit in the suffering many Iranians face from state paramilitary thugs as it simply walked away from situation that it in a large sense brought about via the inexcusable and deplorable actions of one of its intelligence agencies back in 1953. If it did nothing in full knowledge of this it would be adopting the traits of a Mafia wife.

Stranger said...

you havnt thats my point, i answered why your acknowledgements of 1953 is holloow and hypocritical


iddion
'You do realize that the US not taking the stance and adopting the policy I've outlined with the full intentions of bringing about a national and secular democracy in Iran is also imperialistic. It would also be complicit in the suffering many Iranians face from state paramilitary thugs as it simply walked away from situation that it in a large sense brought about via the inexcusable and deplorable actions of one of its intelligence agencies back in 1953. If it did nothing in full knowledge of this it would be adopting the traits of a Mafia wife.'

you ve proved my point again

Im sorry iranians had revolution in 1979 in response to 1953 they now simply want them to be left alone in peace

so your saying now well that 1979 wasnt a desired outcome for likes of you so the US should carry on its intervention now

like why didnt they think 1978 well we'vee been allying ourselves with this shah for 25 years maybe we should intervene and overthrow him as he is a corrupt selfish crony dictator who isnt good for iran

Im sure they thought the same of mubarak in 2009 or anytime before that and decided to commit terrorist acts to overthrow him i dont recall the land of the free doing that instead give aid to propup crony establishment and when a revoloution happeedned just sacrafcied mubarak to keeps his system and his cronies in place like currently...

im not criticisng someone who legitmitly believes in iran should be seculer and have a liberal democracey like the west though i'd disagree but you stand to an example of the great hypocrisy among liberals that exists which is part of the reason not to trust them, im only pointing you as among them

the biggest thing among liberls is their hypocrisy ideals of freedom and demoocracey they so use to murder millions people the last decade has proven this so

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:00 AM

For once someone with some common sense.But alas there some automatons on this blog that have been programed to disagree with opinions like yours.

Paul Iddon said...

@ Stranger

How does that quote you use in your last comment prove your point, could you please elaborate if you wouldn't mind?

Yet again as I keep saying I've pointed out in this very article the faults and questionable actions of the respective US administrations in dealing with the respective overthrows of the Shah and Mubarak (pointing out more comprehensively than you have the strikingly similarities between those two instances) and why they reflect policies that quite frankly "stink"

Yes, one of the main points of the article was referring to Ron Paul's sentiments (which I've stated I agree with) that US actions in 1953 culminated in the back lash that was the revolution in 1979. And I've also stated in conclusion that it was a good and just revolution until its latter stages which saw it hijacked by fundamentalist reactionaries.

Again your central postulations are deeply flawed, you keep reiterating the same criticisms about the US policies which I criticized to give your argument superficial depth when you charge me with being a 'hypocritical liberal'.

You concluded:

'im not criticisng someone who legitmitly believes in iran should be seculer and have a liberal democracey like the west though i'd disagree but you stand to an example of the great hypocrisy among liberals that exists which is part of the reason not to trust them, im only pointing you as among them

the biggest thing among liberls is their hypocrisy ideals of freedom and demoocracey they so use to murder millions people the last decade has proven this so'

So I don't legitimately believe Iran should be a secular liberal democracy but instead only promulgate such democratic ideals to hide an agenda of murdering millions of people?

That's a pretty serious accusation my friend. And considering you have no facts or evidence to back up such a charge I'd warrant that you owe me an apology for slander.


Thank you!