Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Coming Full Circle: The Iranian Situation

As this blog watches and analyzes the events that are currently unfolding in Iran, one cannot help but see some things worth pointing out. It's worth noting that many times in someone's lifetime, history has an odd way of repeating itself and in ways that are quite telling and easy to read. But to be in tune with such things, some conditions must be met.

For one thing, a person must be able to grasp history. Reading is one way to learn about any event or era from the record books of time. But nothing beats the best way to understand such events, which is having lived through them up close and personal. Want to learn about the fall of the Berlin Wall? Ask someone who was alive and/or aware of his/her surroundings at the time.

In January 1978, there was a situation in Iran, not altogether unlike today.

Iranians were not happy. There was widespread corruption in the Shah's government, just as there is today. People generally mistrusted their leadership, they felt they were puppets being controlled by puppet masters and were losing patience with this arrangement. They felt like there was a death grip upon them.

Originally, the resistance was fueled more by nationalism and populism than for religious reasons. The Islamic part of the revolt was more the result of some slick opportunism on the part of Ayatollah Khomeini and his reactionary supporters. The Shah was seen as another extravagant monarch, who had sat upon a throne created for him by the "evil satanic forces" of the United States. There was a certain element of socialistic idealism being injected into the movement.

At the time, it took a lot of work to understand why Jimmy Carter was oblivious to the concerns of the Iranians. The near simultaneous scenarios that unfolded during his watch were not handled in a consistent manner.

Human rights was not an issue in Iran, as it was in Nicaragua. The U.S. needed Iran as an ally because it shared a border with the USSR, Nicaragua did not. Therefore, Carter overlooked the Shah's misdeeds committed in the reinforcement of his reign and Iranians resented it. At the same moment in time, the similar unrest was brewing (for similar reasons) in Somoza's regime and Carter actually catalyzed the revolution with his call for human rights.

Calling for greater freedoms in Nicaragua and at the same time supporting the Shah was not a particularly smart thing to do. The Iranians were not fools, they picked up on this quickly. They saw what was what, no one had to explain it to them.

So here we are today, in 2009. We have a similar spark igniting in modern-day Persia and the current President is sending similar mixed signals. Obama has postured himself to look weak, painted himself into a corner, and I think is making some major miscalculations in the process.

Because he has called for engagement of Iran and it's leaders without condition, he cannot take sides with the opposition, right now. The risk of this is minimal, unless this evolves into a situation where regime change does take place. At this point, the new regime would already feel alienated by the US. In a lot of ways, this isn't much different than 1979.

Obama's response to North Korea has been insufficient. They know it, and are pushing the envelope further. His affinity for Arab potentates has been overzealous. They know it, and are playing it for all they can. Now, we have this situation in Iran which on the verge of exploding, and where is Obama? On the fence, because he put himself there. Lack of firm responses will yield the same results every time and will encourage more foreign policy challenges.

Yes folks, this is the beginning of Jimmy Carter II (The Sequel). And you can see it all play out live, on a newscast screen near you. The summer of discontent is here, even the Iranians are having a tea party.

For all of you who are too young to remember the Carter years with his miserable leadership, you can now see it with your own eyes. Maybe those of you who thought we were just a bunch of "out of tune with reality" old people when we told you all of this, now you will learn history the hard way. But not to worry, think of the lessons you can now teach your kids someday, when they are wanting to elect an "out of touch" arrogant greenhorn.


15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear LA

I have to disagree with your supersition that anyone needs to grasp history. I consider myself a rather successful fellow, and I don’t know shit about history. Not one time have I learned nothing worthwhile about history, and in fact, I don’t know no one who do. Plus, as most every one of my friends knows, reading’s for pussies. And while it is true that we could ask some old fart about things that happened in the past, it ain’t relevant to now. Besides, old folk (I assume like you) is boring.

Now it just so happens that I think Jimmy Carter was one of our nation’s greatest precidents. In Mr. Carter, you will find someone with a background in nucler enjineering, farming, and state politics. The fact that he only served one term in orfice has more to do with that fascist Ronal Reagan than anything. I guess you forgot to mention that, huh?

It just so happens that the Iranian govement is doing exactly what it should be doing. Under Qu’ranic law, the people don’t have no voice, other than to comply with orders. And that’s the way it’s gonna be here, too. And in fact, my friends and I are working on that right now.

Allah be praised,

Barack Obama

Cheerleader4Torture said...

Ask someone who was alive and/or aware of his/her surroundings at the time.

I think it is really nasty to exclude liberal left wing loons like that LA!!!

Great post. I think Jimmy Carter is demonstrating that after years of drinking Koolaid, Alzheimer's has set in. There was a concerted effort on the part of "Al Qaeda in Gaza" to "blow him up" yesterday! I'm sure he thinks it was all just a misunderstanding and that the RNC was really behind it!

See what happens when a Saul Alinsky styled community planner ends up in the oval office... he's in way over his pointed little head!!! Hopefully he won't bring the rest of us down with him...

Debbie said...

I'm not sure how the media was with Carter, but we know that the MSM today is behind whatever Obama says and does, even to the extent of softening or manipulating what he said to make it more palatable.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Mustang said...

The world community does not have a long suit in making public statements in support of, or in opposition to the internal politics of any nation; nor should they. I personally resented all the foreign hoopla associated with the campaigns of John Kerry and Barack Obama. Did worldwide acceptance of Barack Obama as the savior of America make a difference domestically? I doubt that it did. I also do not think that condemnations directed at Iran by individual countries or international organizations would matter a tinker’s damn to Iran. One might recall that Iran is an Islamic Republic … a theocracy orchestrated by high religious officials.

Should the Iranian people involved in protesting the election outcome think that US opinion would matter, or even that any other nation has an obligation to march in to make things right only underscores the real problem in that country. Only the Iranian people can determine their political destiny. A previous generation created that regime, it is up to the new generation to change it. If that becomes a simple matter of voting, fine. If changing their political course demands something more, only Iranians can decide that.

So yes, it is interesting to observe. It is fun to look back and judge whether anyone is learning important lessons from history … but it is no more than an academic exercise for non-Iranian observers —unless, of course, we can see interesting parallels in Iran as might one day come to fruition here in America. You know … things like state run television, taking individual rights away from the people, seizing all firearms, and creating a command economy.

Rocket said...

Dear Mr. Sunsett

I am getting sick and tired of your overreactionary attitude towards the President of the United States. You would do better to show a little respect. Don't you dare criticise our President. This man can grab flies out of mid air and crush them like flies. DON'T YOU GET THE BIGGER PICTURE?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sV3_LUBGTU

Tonight I feel more secure knowing that MY President is looking out for me as an American and will literally crush those (N.Korea, Iran) who may think they have found the weak underbelly of our great nation.


There is only one thing that bothers me. That fly may have well been the reincarnation of one of our Founding Fathers as it was buzzing around the White House.

Sincerely yours

Stanley Upman

Head of the Dead Founding Fathers Reincarnation Society

A.C. McCloud said...

I actually think Carter was more clueless. But it's early.

LASunsett said...

Barack,

Get a grip.

LASunsett said...

//I think it is really nasty to exclude liberal left wing loons like that LA!!!//

It's a dirty, thankless, tireless job. But someone has to to do it.

LASunsett said...

//I'm not sure how the media was with Carter//

Initially they were enamored. Then, the country started to erode before our very eyes and people were seeing an unmatched level of incompetence.

LASunsett said...

//it is interesting to observe. It is fun to look back and judge whether anyone is learning important lessons from history … but it is no more than an academic exercise for non-Iranian observers —unless, of course, we can see interesting parallels in Iran as might one day come to fruition here in America. You know … things like state run television, taking individual rights away from the people, seizing all firearms, and creating a command economy.//

Hear it, read it, absorb it. Anyone that thinks that this cannot happen here is of most men/women, naive.

LASunsett said...

Dear Rock...er uh Stanley,

I can shoot a fly off of a log at 100 yds, without a scope.

Your friend and confidante,

LA Sunsett

LASunsett said...

//I actually think Carter was more clueless. But it's early.//

You are probably right AC. But from where I sit, I can't see much difference in screwing the country up, by way of incompetence or malice. The outcome is always the same, the country still gets screwed up.

Tom said...

Yep, it's Carter II - Not only is the foreign policy going to pot, so is the economy.

The Misery Index returneth...

Leslie said...

Sunsett, this is an excellent post. I cannot argue with a single point. Well said.

Dave Miller said...

As we read history, let us not forget that our current problems in Iran can be traced to the CIA overthrow of their elected government in 1953, thus catapulting the Shah to power.

Also, it might be interesting to note that former under secretary of state Armitage, and former secretary of state Kissinger have both voiced approval of the way President Obama is handling the Iran issue.

As a matter of record, an overwhelming number of past secretary's of state [mostly republican] are on record favoring direct talks with the Iranians.