Monday, July 06, 2009

Why We Need to Be Careful with Iran

So what the heck is going on in Iran? Just as it seems like the protests over their recent elections have died down, a group of Islamic clerics has announced that it considers the results "invalid." This is a significant development because it signifies a major rift among the wacky Muslim clerics that run the country. In particular, it is a direct challenge to the ruling Ayatollah.

Meanwhile, supporters of existing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are suggesting that some of the leaders of the recent protests should be executed for their act of defiance. This is particularly ironic, since the existing rulers of Iran came to power 30 years ago after overthrowing the Shah, whose brutal regime was well known for torturing and executing its political opponents (more on the Shah in a moment).

Predictably, Republicans have been critical of President Obama's mostly silent response to the events in Iran. Former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz recently wrote a piece for the Washington Post that pretty much tore Obama a new one.

Excuse me? Has Wolfowitz been in Michael Jackson's medicine cabinet or something? He is the absolute last to be lecturing anyone about foreign policy towards the Middle East. Wolfowitz was one of the principle architects of the invasion of Iraq, quite possibly the biggest foreign policy blunder of the United States in the last 50 years. And this moron has the audacity to weigh in with his opinion about Iran? Talk about chutzpah.

Obama has been right to show restraint towards developments in Iran. The last thing the U.S. needs to do is provide the existing Iranian government with ammunition to say that the protesters are being directed by us.

But more importantly, for the United States to talk about the importance of democracy in Iran is the absolute height of hypocrisy. After all, it was the United States and Britain that in 1953 helped overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran and instead replace it with a dictatorship under the Shah. And the reason for the coup? Well, the Iranian government had the nerve to suggest that it was time for them to start profiting from all the oil that was being exported. The Shah, on the other hand, promised to be more friendly towards the west. Oh, and all this took place under President Eisenhower's administration--a Republican president.

Thanks to the support of the CIA, the Shah and his brutal dictatorship remained in power for 26 years.

The Iranian people never forgot this, and it was their long simmering resentment over our involvement in their nation's affairs that eventually led to the 1979 revolution. It also explains why the Iranians continue to hate us so damn much.

So if the Republicans wants to criticize Obama about not being supportive enough of democracy in Iran, perhaps they should first take a look in the mirror.

0 thoughtful ramblings: