Historically, Iran may be the poster child for tragically failed US foreign policy and the past is prologue if Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton are elected. To his credit, Barak Obama has a more intelligent position though he seems to have wised-up from his previous more hawkish rhetoric. Ron Paul ? No surprise – he hits the bulls-eye with a non-interventionist foreign policy.
The What’s News section of Today’s Wall Street Journal includes two pertinent items: “Iran seems to be honoring a pledge to stem the flow of deadly weapons to Iraq”, and “Iran has made important strides toward transparency about it’s nuclear activities”. The second item goes on to report that the US called for new sanctions.
Obviously, I am no fan of the government of Iran. But US foreign policy is and has been a major reason why Iran is a religious terrorist tyranny today and not the popular democracy is was in the early 1950’s. Belligerent actions by the US government have not been the solution, they have been one of the major problems. Trita Parsi’s, Treacherous Alliance gives an excellent history of the relationships between the US, Iran and Israel. I would characterize that relationship as a pragmatic (though tyrannical) Iranian government seeking better relations with the US only to be ignored, rebuffed and demonized by US politicians who either tragically misjudged the threats and opportunities or used Iran as a political scapegoat. In my opinion this supports the growing belief that belligerent US policy creates terrorists and makes us less safe. Duh!
Of course it’s common knowledge that the CIA incited a coup that overthrew the popularly elected Mossadegh regime in 1953 which replaced him with the mass-murdering Shah of Iran who was finally overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of approximately 1978-79. If the US had left Iran alone it would be a large and mature democracy today. Think about a Middle East after 50 years of a democratic Iran. Want to trade that picture for what we have today? Oops! Government screwed up – surprise – you pay.
In Treacherous Alliance, Trita Parsi describes the Madrid conference of 1991, another in a long series of tragic US policy blunders. Up to that point, Iran had made it clear to the US that they were eager to play a role in a stable middle-east. Though many countries (I think dozens) were included, the US refused to invite Iran attempting to further isolate them from decisions in their own back yard. The Iranians concluded that they couldn’t expect to work WITH the US so the result was to work against us. Read the book. I can’t possibly do it justice.
Fast forward to 2007. The US Senate votes to antagonize Iran by designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terroist organization. Now amidst more and more evidence that Iran has tried to work with us, most of the front running candidates for President insist on using Iran to pander to their least informed constituents. Consider McCain’s “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb Iran” episode. Is that really funny? That guy should be in restraints, not in the presidential race. Or Dick Cheney’s suggestion that we might consider nuclear weapons against Iran. How different is that from Ahmadinejad’s suggestion that Iran would bomb Isreal.
As I said, I am no fan of the government of Iran. But the US has already started two wars under this administration. How many has Iran started? Who is a bigger threat to peace and stability in the middle east?