Prague Twin

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Iran: Why Do They Hate Us?


Since it is the last day of Ashura, I thought it would be an auspicious time to reminisce about the history of the United States and Iran and how the U.S. came to be known as "The Great Satan." Many think (or simply assume) that it all began in 1979 when the Iranian revolution used the U.S. as a scapegoat for their internal problems. It is widely assumed that United States undeservedly earned the title of "The Great Satan" by simply disagreeing with a religious revolution that (as all revolutions in Iran) started in Qom. It is a theory that is plausible enough. Religious radilcals want to overthrow the legitimate leadership who happen to be backed by the U.S. (I mean, if they are backed by the U.S. they must be legitamate, right?) and so the U.S. must be portrayed as a great evil. Plausible, but way off the mark this assumption is.

One needs to go back to at least 1953 and Operation Ajax to get any kind of relevant perspective on the hate that is reserved for the United States, known in Iran as "The Great Satan." For those of you poor souls who don't know, the Brittish wanted to overthrow the nationalist leader, Mohammed Mossadegh, and his parliment because they had nationalized BP's oil exploration project which was the first western oil venture in the Middle East. If we look at the situation today in the Middle East, it is easy to say that it all started here.

But that wasn't the only thing that started there. Operation Ajax was initially rejected by president Truman, but president Eisenhower signed on to this, the first of a series of CIA orchestrated overthrows of democratically elected governments. Guatemala was soon to follow and later came many others, most notably Chile and Nicaragua. The irony of the United States overthrowing democratically elected governments for financial reasons is not lost on myself, but I digress.

Some would blame Carter for not giving the Shah of Iran proper riot suppression materials to suppress the revolution that was well underway by 1978. But tear gas aside, the economic fallout that resulted from the poor management of the wealth that sprung from the 70's oil boom rests squarely on the shoulders of the Shah. Perhaps the revolution could have been postponed with a heavy handed approach, but the underlying economic factors that had inflation and unemployment reaching nearly 40% by 1978 were sure to foment the revolution with or without the mitigating efforts of the United States.

Just like the downfall of the reform movement that led to Ahmadninejad's election, and his waning power as evidenced by the recent local elections, and just as with every other group of people in the world, economics makes or breaks a power structure. If the people are suffering economically, your days as a leader are numbered.

So if you wonder why Iran hates us, just remember this. We overthrew their democratically elected leader and installed a decendent of the old Monarch. This "Shah of Shahs" ruled so ineptly that an economy that had enormous welth fell into a tailspin of misery which led to an Islamic revolution. We have never apolgized for this, and yet we wonder why the world doubts our intentions of "spreading democracy."

As one of the top NSA researchers on terrorism said, (paraphrase) "we are clearly loosing the war against Islamic terrorsim. Until our leaders admit that the root cause of Islamic terrorism is the history foreign policy of the United States and it's allies in the Muslim world, we have no chance of winning. You cannot win a war when you haven't even bothered to properly address the threat."

It is high time we made ammends for the transgressions of the past. Then perhaps our calls to spread democracy won't ring so hollow.

Side note: Roger, at XDA claims that Iranian steel production was fifth in the world before the revolution and doubts that now it could be in the top 30. Well, without some very expensive subscriptions I can't get any data to confirm or deny the historical claim. I do know that Iran's steel production is now at 20th in the world and growing at break-neck speed, although they are still at net importer. If anyone has information I'd love to get my hands on it.

33 Comments:

  • I worked in Tehran for a short period in the mid '70s. The country was very Westernized and industrialized (at least in the major cities). But the Shah, in addition to being inept, was one of the most brutal dictators of the era. During the period when I was there, Amnesty International rated Iran and Chile as the 2 worst human rights violators in the world.

    That's a good rundown of the history of Iranian/American relations. It was definitely our 1953 overthrow of Iran's elected leftist government that begat all of our current "problems" with Iran, from Khomeini to what's-his-name today (I can't spell that name to save my life).

    But our "leaders" will never acknowledge that there's a reason for anti-Americanism in the Middle East. They'd rather just pretend the Iranian hostage crisis and the 9/11 attacks happened in a vacuum.

    By Anonymous Tom Harper, at 2:34 AM  

  • The real question is, how can YOU hate them?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:30 AM  

  • Wait, pt, don't they hate us because of who we are - a free, democratic society?

    That's what the preznut told us and I believe everything he says because he's the commander-in-chief and what he says goes!

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 1:06 PM  

  • good summary. I wish more Americans knew this

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 7:26 PM  

  • Love, Peace, Happiness.

    I will posit a different perspective. I say posit b/c I have no proof but have induced this idea from a few available facts that I have gathered desultorily.

    Iran hates us. Iranians, by and large, do not hate us.

    PT. Stop living in the past. An historical prospective is essential, however, how many Iranians are actually alive who were adults in 1953 and who have an appreciation that The United States was responsible for the installation of Reza Pahlavi? The current life expectancy in Iran is slightly < than 70 years.

    If we can rely on Wikipedia, only 5% of the Iranian pop. was > 65
    in 2006. This means that only 5% of the pop. was age or 12 or above when the Shah was installed. In 10 years, the number of people who were alive in 1953 will be a mere handful.

    Wikipedia also states that 16% of the pop. is 16 years of age or below. That means 16% were born in 1990 or later. How many were born lets say in 1975 or later?

    Amadinejad must play huggie bear w/ Hugo Chavez and host Holocaust Denial Jamborees because the situation in Iran for may Iranians is much less than ideal particularly among younger educated Iranians.

    My guess is that Ahmadinejad will not survive the next general election.

    Some of us may not live to see the denouement but the Isalmic Republic of Iran is circling the drain. The USSR had a shelf life of of 69 years. The IRI was founded in 1979 and is 28 years old. Will it last as long as the USSR? Shall we form an office pool.

    I want the under.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 8:00 PM  

  • PT. Stop living in the past. An historical prospective is essential, however, how many Iranians are actually alive who were adults in 1953 and who have an appreciation that The United States was responsible for the installation of Reza Pahlavi?

    I don't think it is safe to assume Iranians are as ignorant of history as Americans are.

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 8:56 AM  

  • Tom,

    Thanks for the first hand perspective. That is always helpful and greatly appreciated.

    I truly believe that until we at least acknowledge the underlying causes, we are loosing.

    Anon: I dont hate them. Thanks for the photos.

    RBE,

    Thanks. Thats funny.

    Graeme,

    Right on comment on the bottom there. As to the first, Im sure you knew though.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 1:06 PM  

  • Loop,

    As Graeme said, I don't think it is safe to assume that because they didn't live through it, they don't remember.

    However, your points are well taken. As with the outgoing "reform" party, economics will likely be Ahmadinejad's undoing.

    Let's hope.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 1:07 PM  

  • Your well researched essay made me think about the seemingly unique trait among the average Americans; they don't know the outside world very well. Considering, that the population of America is an microcosm of us all, it certainly is an enigma. Actually, it is much more than that, because the sorry state of the occupation in Iraq and even the presidency of this ignorant man, G.W.Bush, can be thus explained.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 7:40 PM  

  • Pekka,

    Indeed it is the ignorance of Americans of the most basic facts and history that allow people like GWB to appear knowledgable to the average American and thus retain power.

    It runs so much deeper, of course, in that Americans have a tough time understanding confiicts in a manner more complex than good vs. evil or us vs. them. Of that we are all guilty, and I put my own name at the top of the list, if only in retrospect.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:01 PM  

  • OK, time for some reality to be injected into this lefty mirror gallery. That Pekkah has the metaphorical stones to accuse anypme else of ignorance is mind blowing to me. Amnesty International has almost always closed its eyes to the huge, (hundred million dead) murderous problems of the left, like in the USSR, China, Viet Nam, North Korea, and Cambodia and focused with diamond like vision on the relatively tiny murderous problems of the few right wing governments. I hope that you all look at the world with both eyes open. Yes the Shah was brutal but what he did during his whole tenure (30,000 murdered or imprisoned), the North Koreans do in a month. The sin of Mohammed Mossadegh was not that he was a violator of human rights, but that he was about to go fully Communist and ally with the Soviets and, deep in the cold war, we could not allow that, so we helped depos him and "returned" the Shah to the Peacock Throne.
    And Great Satan is strictly from the Muslim extremist leadership; the US is relatively popular with the people of Iran. Mohammed Mossadegh was such a strong nationalist that he remains popular with the people who can remember him. He was Time's man of the year in 1951 (I was Time's person of the year last year, or maybe it was you) He was not elected democratically but received an overwhelming vote in the parliament (like the English system) so that the Shah dared not select him. The Shah went into brief self-imposed exile in 1953 and from Rome deselected Mossadegh and named a replacement. He was imprisoned and tried and convicted of treason but lived 14 more years mainly under house arrest in his home village. Not good but not all out evil. In combating the supreme evil of the Communists, it was a fair trade off and I doubt very much it is the real source of Islamic hatred of us. Look to yourselves and the very nature of Islam for the source of today's strife. Carter just allowed the first extreme religious dictators to gain the power of a state. Not a good thing in any way.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 4:57 AM  

  • Roger,

    Thanks for the comment. I never mentioned anything about Amnesty International, but since you did, I think you should go to their website and run searches on the countries you mention.

    Insert Saddam for the Shah and you really have something there. Only 30,000 imprisoned? Does that come from the same source as the steel figures? You know, there is this rad new invention called html which allows you to link information when you make such claims. I'd love to see you use it. (yes, that is sarcasm). Who knows how many were imprisoned?

    Also, according to you, the Brittish don't have a democratically elected leader (or am I reading that wrong?). Deposing leaders and installing secular righties is what the radicals are feeeding on. If you can't see that, I'm sorry.

    Although I agree that most (young) Iranians don't hate the American people, it looks like we are gearing up to do something to change all that. I hope you do realize that. They may not hate us now, but a couple of nuclear bombs or even a few million cluster bombs could change all of that in a hurry, no?

    If we can just wait it out, we will likely be fine. Ahmadinejad will fall on his own sword. Don't count on that with the current leadership.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:03 AM  

  • Hello Roger!

    We meet again, and I find it somewhat disturbing to do so. You announced your dipleasure in responding to my comments on your blog and I agreed not to bother you any longer. I have kept my promise and I have carefully avoided your site ever since to just find out that you are addressing me here.

    I do find your extremist, black and white existance, coupled with the ability to take in only the kind of information that goes to strenghten your preconcieved (wrong) notions, very disturbing. Like I told you in my "farewell address" to you - we mix like oil and water. No amount of yaking on my part is going to change your bizarre world view. Heaven knows, that many more persuasive and knowledgeable persons than me have tried without any apparent success.

    I am not quite sure if your complaint is that we lefties don't recognize the the terror and the mayhem that has been commited by left wing dictators? Even your consept of "left" includes all of those whom are not sitting pretty on the extreme right edge.

    All the regular lefties that I have come across have condemned, just like I do, the likes of Stalin, Mao, Phol Pot etc. Those who do not are the fellows that resemble your kind the most - the extreme left. Interestingly enough, although you two declear your distaste for each other, you are the mirror images. You are the same sort of dangerous believer in your causes. Your pathological, unvawering belief of your supremacy leaves no room for a compromise or an healthy dialog. This is why you and your ilk at the extreme opposite end has brought so muh blood shed and misery to this world of ours.

    This murderous group of neocon thugs is right now the prime reason why I despise extremism. We, "the lefties", just want our world back from this blood thirsty herd of ideologs.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 1:27 PM  

  • Ishmael Reed wrote in "From the Files Of Agent 22"

    Know your fruits before entering strnage orchards.

    Certainly the Bush Administration was guilty of this. As for the neoconsrvative fantasies regarding post Saddam Iraq, well nemesis follows hubris.

    Yes, the average American may not be able to find Iowa on a map much less Iraq. That being said, most of what Roger wrote is correct.

    Thing 1. Not all Muslims hate America.

    Thing 2. I doubt if most Muslims hate America.

    Thing 3. I stated previously, an historical prospective is essential. It is important, if one desires to have an informed opinion, to understand the motivation of a government to act as it did when it acted.

    In 1953, the Cold War was very cold indeed.

    The Eisenhower adminstration understood Communism for what it was. It was a lot of things but how about, for brevity's sake, we call it an oppressive horror whose fundamental precepts were the annihilation of individuality and world domination.

    Communism was so fundamentally flawed that its flag bearer, the USSR, had a life span of 69 years. That's 10 years < than the statutory life span for an individual in my state.

    Of course the implosion of the USSR was not so readily foreseeable in 1953 when the USSR was only 30 years old.

    So, from an historical perspective, Roger believes that the United State's action in Iran in 1953 and the installation of the Shah, prevented a greater evil. The law of unintended consequences came into play and now we have a theocracy in Iran. It is still preferable to a Commmunist hegemony.

    As I said, take the under on the theocracy in Iraq. Like Communism, it will imlode.

    Meanwhile, Pekka, as for the "muderous group of Neocon thugs," take off whatever filter is on your glasses. 1. They are not thugs; 2. Only criminals commit murder. The duly elected government of the United States of American, although its actions may be misguided, does not consist of criminals, by and large, in the execution of foreign policy.

    Is the world black and white? In some respects. Okay, I have people who believe in self determination over here and over there I have people who want to rule the world, oppress women, and are not too particular about who they kill.

    I know what your thinking Pekka but just flush it. If a missile launched by a United States jet hits a house and kills women and children, that's collateral damage. When a car bomb blows up in a Baghdad market, killing women and children that was the point of the attack. Perhaps you recall 9/11.

    The problem w/ the Bush administration is that its approach to foreign policy is not as nuanced as it needs to be.

    I will leave out Iraq, the invasion of which was just stupid as what is occurring now was foreseeable and the Neocons were guilty of blindness.

    All hail Marx and Lenin. Now all hail Marx and Lenon. Groucho and John.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 6:46 PM  

  • Mike, we have a constitutional Republic with some democratic institutions, like popular vote for Senate and House (not President). The Brits have a constitutional Monarchy. There is a parliament which is popularly elected and I believe they also vote for who they want to be PM which the monarch accepts.
    Iran in 1953 had sort of a constitutional Monarchy with a parliament, but the Monarch was much more involved than the Queen. There was NOT a popular vote for PM in Iran but his "election' was by a vote in the Iranian Parliament. I don't call that democracy or do I call Mossadegh "democratically elected" Am I being too much a stickler? You talk about Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua and Iran--any others? Any assaults on 'democracies' from the left? You see the splinter in America's eye but you ignore the great big freakin' tree in the eye of Communism. Pekkah doesn't even seem to know who is on the left or right and gives the old Oh yea, the Commies in the USSR, China and Cambodia were bad, but it's these neocon thugs who are the real focus of evil in the World. Wake up. Loop Garoo, well reasoned; but I disagree it's a straight line between Project Ajax and the current leadership in Iran. The Shah had to fall and Khoumeini (sp?) had to be allowed in. We were as involved in that as we were in Ajax.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 1:47 AM  

  • Gentlemen, my point and one and only point is that extremism, in what ever form it comes, is contrary to everything we all profess to cherish. These extremist ideas have been and will be the main curse to our well being through out the history and no amount of flowery oratory can hide this fact. These elements are continually lifting their collective hind legs to civilized behaviour as well as ignoring the basic rights of the smaller and weaker nations to conduct their own business as best as they themselves see fit. Ruskies had their own sort of crusades which is not too much different from the one which the U.S. is involved with right now under this neo-fascist bunch in the White House. I, as a Finn, am absolutely thrilled about the demise of the U.S.S.R. because that great Satan strangled the life blood out of the Eastern European nations and kept my country in a short leash.

    I do feel for the Iraqis whom are in the receiving end of this insane occupation by the Americans. They, as well rest of us, are not quite clear as to what the reason for it might be. Is it to democratize Iraq, is it to get rid of the WMD's, is to get rid of Saddam, is it to secure the Iraqi oil, is it to try to stop Iranian growing influence...on and on it goes? For crying out loud, Americans are involved with the war that nobody has been able to explain. The hawks in the White House have come with several reasons for this urgent trip to Mesopotamia but nobody (and that includes Bush's dog) do justifiably believe these fellows any longer.

    In the Mr.Roger's neighbourhood this bloody mess somehow seems to make sense. Somehow, because of the American status as the only super power, it gives her free hands to start making the world to her image. This makes just as much sense than the old slogan - What's good for the GM is good for America. The GM is on the pretty shaky legs right now and so will the U.S. if this administration is not stopped. Nobody, not even a superpower, can afford to have the Key Stone Cops as their executive branch.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 9:06 AM  

  • Pekkah, that you call the current administration neo-fascists angers me and fills me with a sense of sadness; and it betrays (sorry to keep pounding on this theme) a monumental ignorance of history on your part. There has not been a balance between the evil of extremism at the opposite poles of the political spectrum. The evil of the extremism on the left in the 20th Century has outweighed the evil of extremism on the right by a factor of a thousand to one. Nearly all of the mass political murders were by lefties-- socialists or communists. Very little was done by right wing extremists, mainly in Central America. You need to know this, as it can change your world view.
    I know why we went to war with Iraq. Saddam Hussein, RIH, invaded Kuwait. We and a large coalition went into there to kick the Iraqis out and into Iraq, a little ways, to defeat them militarily. We stopped for humanitarian reasons, et al., with a cease fire agreement in which Saddam agreed to do many things. He did hardly any of them and we continued the war due to his failure to keep his promises. We remain in Iraq because his fall has created a power vacuum which must be 'policed' otherwise anarchy would reign. You might just as well call the 6/6/44 invasion of France a neo-fascistic, neo-con action of thugs. It's about as accurate as what you're saying now.
    We're now in a war, that we did not seek, against a semi-political arm of Islam, and if I had to peg where the Jihadists were on the political scale, I'd call them socialists, so the imbalance of evil on the political left's extreme edge continues. The Finns did great in the Winter War; things got a little less noble during WWII. Aren't you Canadian now?

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 3:59 PM  

  • Roger, your unnecessary lecture about the evils of the far left during the 20th century displays your ignorance and unwillingness to hear what I am saying. I have readily accepted such notion. As the matter of fact, I, and all of my country men, have suffered for the communist expansionism more than you and other "regular" Americans can fathom. Please, at least stop this sort of insulting display of airheadeness!

    My intension is not to hurt your feelings by sticking the lable of "neo-fascist" on this sad Bush Administration. However, there hardly is any other label that would conviniently discribe them better. Their reckless expansionism, their self assured feeling of the right of their causes, their myth spinning, their propagandist (lies) information efforts, their militarism, their want to by pass other branches of governance, their disregard of the will of the people, their obvious collusion with the military industrial complex etc. looks like if not fascisism at least like the first cousin to it. Not being a scolar of American history doesn't stop me guessing, that your founding fathers are doing some vigorous turning in their graves right now. The rest of us are just rolling our eyes.

    Roger's little choo-choo went off the rail by him suggesting that these Middle Eastern jihadists are just a continuation of the left wing terror. That's exactly sort of misundertanding of the Arab mind that has bee displayed by Bush and his cronies. One major reason for things being so totally out of the American control over there is because you never bothered to know your enemy. This goes naturally a long way explaining all these monumental failures that have taken place in Iraq. If these jihadists are just plain commies, then you have to include Israelis into the same red book of yours. That you, Roger, are not able to see this fiasco as such, and your utter inability shake off your ideologically tinted specks for a while to really see what's there right on front of you, is beyond my comprehension. Unless, of course, it's the old - Ein folk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer!

    Yup, Roger, "things got little less noble during the WWII" with Finland. We became suddenly nazis by siding with the Germans. Just the way you suddenly became communists by siding with the Soviets. Black and white, huh, Roger?

    By Anonymous pekka, at 6:07 PM  

  • a few comments ago Roger said "Amnesty International has almost always closed its eyes to the huge, (hundred million dead) murderous problems of the left, like in the USSR, China, Viet Nam, North Korea, and Cambodia"

    all of those are right wing governments. The USSR actively fought against "ultra-leftists" as Lenin called them

    By Blogger GraemeAnfinson, at 5:53 AM  

  • Their reckless expansionism, their self assured feeling of the right of their causes [they do have that, I admit--it's not a sign of fascim], their myth spinning, their propagandist (lies) information efforts, their militarism, their want to by pass other branches of governance, their disregard of the will of the people, their obvious collusion with the military industrial complex etc
    Expansionism? Is the invasion of Iraq like Iraq going into Kuwait or Germany going into Poland, or is it like us going into France or into Kuwait? Do you have any factual support for your wrong answer? Myth Spinning? Lies? Name one. (I know WMD is coming) Militarism? You mean we have had a military response to the 9/11 attacks? Do you blame us for responding? Are you in the group who blame us for those attacks? By pass other branches? Our President is commander in chief and the congress authorized his actions and continue to fund the effort. You are dead wrong about the facts yet again and it's easily demonstrable. We're a constitutional Republic not a mob ruled country based on polls. And finally the Military-Industrial comnplex. Can you use a more tired and empty bit of rhetoric? All nations that have a military have industries that supplies the equipment for the military. To think that the industry calls the shots is to be loony, however.
    Unless, of course, it's the old - Ein folk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer! So now you compare us to the Nazis. Typical. Unfortunately for your argument, the Nazis were on the left. National socialists rather than the international socialists which were the Soviets. We Americans and especially we Republicans are the antithesis of the Nazis and you completely destroy what little credibility you had with this ignorant and wholly groundless comparison. Did you think it was well reasoned argument? You not only have lost any sense of proportion ("monumental failures that have taken place in Iraq", "fiasco", "totally out of the American control") but any historical justification for your beliefs. Nations don't have permanent allies, they have permanent interests. Of course we allied with the Soviets after 12/8/41, largely because the NAZIs had invaded them (in order to expand not to liberate) in 6/41 and because our interest in defeating National Socialism was permanent. Almost immediately after WWII we pursued (nearly singlehandedly) our permanent interest in defeating international socialism. We called it the Cold War, certainly you have heard about it--it was in all the papers. You need to learn some facts some history--really it will change your whole point of view.
    Same for you Graem... USSR, China, Viet Nam, North Korea, and Cambodia" all of those are right wing governments. The USSR actively fought against "ultra-leftists" as Lenin called them What are you high? The USSR actively fought against the USSR? Idiot is too good a word for you on that comment. And it would do a world of good for both of you to learn the political tenent of the Ba'ath party and al Qaeda. They may well be fascistic but they are not right wing. Just the opposite.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 5:49 PM  

  • As members of free nations you, Roger, and I, Pekka(h):) have right to have our own opinions but not facts. I know that my over all knowledge leaves something to be desired but at least I am working on it. You might call it work in progress. With you, neo-cons, however, things are solidly established thus leaving you free from bothersome scrutinies and just like some leading examples on your side, you like to stay the course. No matter what.

    As the expansionism goes, the Gulf war was not it, that's what Saddam did. Nobody in his right mind is arguing about it. This latest edition of the Mess in Mesopotamia clearly is a text book case of a totally unnecessary war and the consequent occupation will remain to be studied for decades as how not to go about doing things. Monumental fiasco by the monumentally ignorant leadership.

    Again, nobody in his right mind would deny your right to go after those who inflicted that monsterous crime against innocent civilians on the 11th of September. As the matter of fact, citizens of the world became Americans, such was the good will toward you. If only the Bush Administration would have done the right and honest thing, and not using this unfortunate crime as an excuse for their expansionism, the world would still be standing by you. Now, you might have noticed, it isn't. The wrong war, for the wrong reasons, in the wrong place.

    As to going into this mess, it hardly can be held as the prime example of democratic decision making. Regardless of my personal view that your presidents have too much power in the matters of war, the Bush Administration tied cleverly the arms behind the backs of the peoples' representatives. They used before mentioned highten mood in your country and thus made any second thoughts about anything related to the looming war practically a death sentence for political survival for those who would have opposed them. Combine this with reckless misinformation and out right lies, we can safely say that your democracy failed the country, it's interests and it's people. I am hoping that Americans will not let these wrongs/crimes go unpunished! After all, you do boast of being equal before the law.

    It is becoming blatantly clear that Bush Administration, in it's megalomanical pursuit of the hegemony all around world, has left diplomacy on the way side. The collapse of that evil empire, the U.S.S.R., left a chance of the century to pull the new Russia to become one of us by inclusion. That this has not happened will come and bite our collective asses for a long time. Instead of engaging Russia as a friend and partner, Bush&Co has started to circle her with their military hardware and making Russians to realize that they must start building up their military once again. And that they are doing by whopping 25% increase in military expenditures. This is slowly but surely turning back into a Cold War again and who else than the Military Industrial Complex is reaping their short sighted benefits while regular folks start shaking in their shoes once again. This idiot-savant president of yours has managed to turn back the clock and I for one don'tlike it a bit. What the hell is the matter with your man in the helm, he always picks the worst possible solution to any given problem?

    Ok, enough of this ranting between you and me. We will never be able to see eye to eye, so, what's the use? And yes, Roger, I do think that you, your dear leader and his made men can justifiably be called , among many other nasty things, as fascists.

    By Anonymous pekka, at 7:38 PM  

  • Wow,

    What a great discussion. I'm sorry I've been on the sidelines, but it is the busy time of year for me. Please guys, don't stop, this is quite enjoyable.

    I really can't do justice to all the comments made here, but there are a couple of things I wanted to say.

    Whether we like it or not, or however we try to gloss over it, the Iranians had their government, which was some form of democracy, perhaps not perfect, but similar to what the British have now, which by any account is a democracy.

    The CIA enacted a coup which almost failed, but by some miracle made it. The reason for the coup was simply to gaurd British, American, and other western nations oil interests which had been nationalized by Mossadeq.

    The idea that the coup had anything to do with the cold war is specious. Although there was some cooperation between the Soviets and the Iranians, the Soviets had given up on Mossadeq according to the CIA. Mossadeq was a nationalist, not a communist, and I think we should all learn the difference.

    The other thing I wanted to take up was the idea of facism. It is being thrown around here quite loosely and I think we need to get a working definition of what fascism is before we start pinning this label on people.

    A system of government that flourished in Europe from the 1920s to the end of World War II. Germany under Adolf Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, and Spain under Franco were all fascist states. As a rule, fascist governments are dominated by a dictator, who usually possesses a magnetic personality, wears a showy uniform, and rallies his followers by mass parades; appeals to strident nationalism; and promotes suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within his own nation, such as the Jews in Germany. Although both communism and fascism are forms of totalitarianism, fascism does not demand state ownership of the means of production, nor is fascism committed to the achievement of economic equality. In theory, communism opposes the identification of government with a single charismatic leader (the “cult of personality”), which is the cornerstone of fascism. Whereas communists are considered left-wing, fascists are usually described as right-wing.

    So what we see is that America, although far from it, is moving towards fascism. The increase in executive power, the fanatic devotion of the base to George Bush despite his obvious incompetance, and let's keep in mind that fascists are right-wing.

    I'm not saying we live in a fascist state. But if Bush had his way, we would be. The idea that we should simply follow him without question and to not do so is unpatriotic, the stunt on the aircraft carrier with Bush in a flight suit, the political pagentry and the strong nationalism are all signs of fascism trying to rear it's ugly head.

    Thank god we live in a democracy so that thinking people can through the likes of George Bush and his ilk on thier ear. Too bad it is taking so long.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:20 PM  

  • You are a wise man, PT, and I wish you would spend less time with the trivialities such as making a living! :)

    By Anonymous pekka, at 5:28 AM  

  • Your definition, Mike, of fascism is not accurate (except the period and location). The fasces were a bunch of rods around an axe carried by the lictors around Romans of rank as a symbol of their political power. (The symbol, by the way, is on Colorado's state seal). Mussolini resurected the roman symbol and was the only true fascist government in Europe at that time. Let's skip Spain because it is so difficult it makes my head hurt. I'll admit that probably Italy under Il Duce was a right wing dictatorship, but just barely. There was control, but not ownership, of many of the major industries by the government. If you look closely at the central beliefs of the Fescist party, you detect what I would certainly call socialism. But to call the National Socialists and German Workers' Party right wing is to turn the term on its head. Hitler in 1922 started a speech introducing his party with-"We're socialists--we're the emenies of capitalism." Thinking that Nazis were on the right and the Commies were on the left gives a false sense of balance but it's just not true. And Mike, you've been away too long to seriously think that we're moving towards either any sort of dictatorship or towards any definition of fascism. The only guys here in the states thinking along those lines also think our government engineered the destruction of the World Trade Center with controlled demolition. You don't want to be bunched together with those guys, do you? I continue to doubt that we returned the Shah to power just to teach the PM a lesson for nationalizing British assets (although that certainly would have been some cold comfort for the Brits). Nationalizing private industries is what socialists do. I've been taught it was to keep Iran from allying with (not joining) the USSR, but I've never looked at it closely. I'll read up and report back here or at my site. Have a good business trip.

    By Blogger Roger Fraley, at 5:43 AM  

  • Pekka,

    The invasion of Iraq was a bad idea for 2 foreseeable reasons. Any student of history could have foreseen the sectarian violence that would result as soon as Saddam was removed. The paradigm for Iraq is Yugolslavia.

    The removal of Saddam has also had another foreseeable result in the the Shi'ite resurgence, led by Iran, largely through its surrogates like Hezbollah.

    I haven't read your endorsement of that particular group nor your suggestion of how to control them, or Iran's support and funding of terrorist groups.

    Nor have I read, in any of your comments, anything about Afghanistan. Do you believe the United State's led coalition of the invetment of that country and the ousting of the Taliban which gave safe haven to Al Qaeda was an excercie in extremism? If so, I will for the first time in my life quote Barry Golwater and state: "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

    We will endure the failures of the Bush administration as we will relish its successes. We are a resilient people, we Americans.

    If you you really wish to understand the American experience, it is encapsulated in a four letter word.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 6:08 PM  

  • TLGK,

    Thank you for your intrest! However, I am not quite sure what you want to hear from me? Main thing is, that I am not pretending to be an expert of all the things American, as Rogesr can verify. :)

    I am in total agreement with your first two pragraphs. This is actually the very fact that aroused my curiosity about the American leadership and their seeming inability to see where they were leading your great nation. Several years later, I have my questions still unanswered and if anything every suspision I had earlier has been magnified. This has brought me to an shaky conclusion that it might be a mix of dysfunctional neo-fascism laced with traces of megalomania and sociopathy. I readilly admit not having credentials to make such diagnoses but in the absence of any other plausible explanation, that's all I could come up with.

    Your third and fourth paragraphs fly way over my peasant head. As a simple man, I do have my opinions but I also know that they do not represent any facts and they remain just my personal opinions. My feeling is, that secularisim under the rule of Sunnis is doable and less so with Shites. I am extremely uneasy with the U.S. backed Shite majority that (rightfully) have been brought in the leadership contension in Iraq. The outside influence, to shake the delicate "blance", has done it's job and concequential power struckle is unavoidable. The role America is playing now is to be some sort of distraction there but it has in all practical purposes unleashed something that it can no longer steer. The momentum, in my opinion, has passed the point where your presence is going to be beneficial for the outcome, and that outcome right now is sheer speculation.

    I also do not like an organization such as Hezbollah. However, it doesn't really matter if I like them or not. This liking business should solely be based on what the people there like, not what we do in the West. Take, for instance, poor Palestanians who took Bush's words about his love for democracy seriously, and went and voted Hezbollah. How dumb can those people be! :) As how to go about of controling Hezbollah, I don't know how. Maybe we should ask ourself if we should be in the business of controling them in the first place. I have hunch, that too much controling of the others creates uncontrolable situations. Despite my dislike of Hezbollah, they are the ones that seem to know how to win the hearts and minds and not the fellows who first hatched this catchy slogan.

    Finally Afghanistan, which was and should have remained the focus of the Bush Administration. It was clearly established, that the connection between 9/11 and Afghanistan was there and most of the world saw it fit to go there and catch the perpetrators of that evil deed. As it happens, this was just a side show for these neo-con ideologs whom saw it fit to use Afghanistan as a spring board to achieve their hidden and morally corrupted agenda in Iraq. As we know now, by taking their eyes off the ball in Afghanistan, the Bush is yet to deliver the heads of those who cowardly atacked you and failed miserably and expectedly accomplish what ever it was that they wanted to accomplish in Iraq.

    My summation is that;

    1. America is fighting the wrong war in the wrong place.
    2. America is not, against the prevailing notion, interested in spreading democracy.
    3. America has violated sovereignty of another nation without a justifiably reason.
    4. America, by it's reckless expansionism has brought a very volatile region in the boiling point by it's inexcusable behaviour.
    5. America, in her heightened feeling of power, has lost her ability to effectively conduct her foreign policies by any other way than just using, or threathening to use, the military option alone. No carrots needed while W is in power.
    6. As the consequence of the previous point, several nations have started vigorous armament programs, including the desire of aquiring nukes.
    7. The safer world was promised by these ignorant men in the White House, but excatly the opposite has taken place.

    I could have gone longer, and I am sure that I have left a lot out, but this will do now. I deliberately didn't go to my assesment on what this wrecking grew administration has done to you there in America. I hope I answered your questions, and that you keep in mind that I don't pretend my drivel to represent the gospel truth!

    By Anonymous pekka, at 6:29 AM  

  • Pekka,

    1. I agree

    2. You're wrong. It's just that the Bush administration failed to recognize that although democracy works well in the U.S. and other places, it will not work everywhere.

    3. The U.S. violated Iraq's sovereignty certainly. W/o justification? The invasion was probably lawful; removing Saddam was certainly moral; The issue remains regarding what to do next.
    Inasmuch as I do not see asolution, I think the invasionwas a bad idea from a practical standpoint.

    4. Stop editorializing. The United States behavior was illconsidered but as sated above legally defendable (see Roger's posts for this) and it is difficult to argue that the deposition of Saddam Hussein was immoral. The mideast is always at a boiling point.

    5. I agree that George W. Bush's foreign policy is largely a failure b/c he eschews the policy of engagement. A better policy is to talk to your enemies. Talking to them makes them no less your enemies but it is the first step in keeping the pot from boiling over.

    6. Wrongo Pekka. The foreign policy of the U.S. is completely unrelated to, let's say, Iran's desire to become a nuclear power.
    Iran's desire to become a nuclear power has nothing to do w/ the U.S. or any acts or omissions of the U.S. Unless you recognize this fact you will never grasp international relations. If the U.S. did not exist, Iran would be striving to become a nuclear power.

    7. Is the world safer? Well it's safer from Saddam. Is it safer for Iraqis, probably not now. Has the removal of Saddam been responsible for the Shia resurgence which has made the mideast and the world less safe?

    Only if Iraq fails as a stae and becomes like Taliban Afghanistan, a safe haven for terrorists will the U.S. 's invasion have made the world less safe. As for the Shia resurgence, is ther any connection between Iran's funding of Hezbollah and the invasion of Iraq?
    I don't think so. Do you?

    Take the lesson of the Palestinians. Hamas, w/ funding from whoever, was realyy good at running schools and neighborhood clinics maybe. It's pretty obvious Hamas can't run th e Palestinian territory.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 7:51 PM  

  • TLGK,

    To be quite frak with you, I am a bit tired of the subject, but I feel that in the name of good manners I should respond this one (last) time.

    I return to your numbered points;

    2. American rethoric about spreading democracy has hardly ever been as adverticed. The reality, that your governments have through out the times been backing all sorts of despots and dictators as long as they have been willing to open up their economies for American business interest. As the matter of fact, democratically elected leaders have been on the receiving end of the American displeasure and even coup d'etats. I am not suggesting that America has been exceptionally bad first rate power but, nevertheless, you seem to be a victim of your domestic myth spinning.

    3. The invasion didn't meet the standards of the international law. Besides, the introduction of this concept of preemptive strikes is contrary to the U.N. resolutions which your country has signed.

    4. Saddam's deposition was very immoral in the light of that he hardly presented any real danger in his severely weakened state. His regime was also well contained within his own borders. With this unnecessary war, all the problems that existed there have long been passed by the new and a lot worse ones. We don't know yet what the total tally will be among the poor Iraqis, but it's a safe bet that it will be horrendous. If it was all about to get rid of Saddam, price to do so is, without a doubt, unreasonable.

    6. American agressive foreign policy under this administration is without a question one of the major causes for the new arms race that is developing in several countries. Russia has been forced to do so, and with it's new oil wealth something like cold war might raise it's ugly head again. The lack of diplomatic efforts to defuse N.Korea and refusal to iron out the disputes with Iran plus the threatening language coming from the White House can certainly be considered as the prime reason for this impasse. This Administration has managed to worsen each and every hot spot, and with their hawkish posturing they have painted themselves as well as their opponents into unmovable corners.

    7. Saddam was a brute and a regular asshole. However, in the long list of dangerous leaders, he wasn't exceptional. He just happened to sit on top of oil and he also happened to piss off Dubya.

    All this is chicken feed compared to your last paragraph that, to be honest with you, was very unfortunate. I have no idea where you come up with the notion that Hamas can't run Palestain. Surely you are able to see how this area is set up; nobody could run it without the blessing by Israel and the U.S.A. This is not a country or nation, this is a large concentration camp. Nothing comes in or goes out without a nod from Israel. And there in lies the whole damn problem.

    Please, don't engage me any more with this, because I am bored to death with it!

    By Anonymous pekka, at 10:51 AM  

  • As an American, i gotta say, Roger is wrong, and pekka is right. I especially like pekka's comments about the extreme left and right. i too find them eerily similiar. And it is the sickness of Roger's magestic self-assuredness that ails the current administration. Neo-fascists isn't too far off the mark. History will write a sad chapter in U.S. history from 2000-2008. Hopefully, we can right this sinking ship then. And pekka, most people in the U.S. are completely fed up with Dubya at this point. Only the truly blind could defend this administration anymore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 PM  

  • Wow good conversation. Great Satan did install the inept Shah and hundreds of thousands of people died during his reign.
    The US shot down a civilian iranian plane Flight 655 killing all passangers on board and crew on board - about 300 of them.
    The great Satan helped Saddam's Iraq fight a 8 year war with Iran for NO F@#$ING reason - then later ofcourse Saddam beacame a villian because it was convenient for the US to use as a scapegoat. Now US bombed an already run down country to get to ONE man who BTW is still at large. Then mistakenly thought that Iraq has WMD and bomed the country to Stone ages and hundreds of people are being killed everyday. I am an american and I am ashamed to be an american. We have killed about 3000 people a month since sept 11. Yes you don't believe me but other then CNN and NBC and ABC look at agencies from around the world. Americans are not the only trust worthy nation in the world, as a matter of fact they are not trust worthy at all. Americans first came to the new world, Wiped out the indians and rapped their women. Then we brought blacks as slaves and treated them worse then animals. While all that we have gone to South america, asia minor, europe, middle east and africa and tried to help our firms play dirty games there so that our elite can be better of financially. Now our elite have finally rapped the american people one more time. We pay tax while the elite are exampt. OUR tax money is going to banks and companies that have tried to F the country already and now with OUR tax money they enjoy in vegas.
    We should be hated, we deserve worse then death. Short live america, but long live good americans.

    By Anonymous WorldCitizen, at 2:56 AM  

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    By Anonymous download free tax forms, at 10:21 PM  

  • As an Iranian citizen to inform you :
    1- the bloody picture of Ashura do not belong to Iran; Arab and Pakistanis do such a stupid things
    2-We do not hate US neither Israel; what you people see in TV is radical opinion of some minority which toke control over Iran and as you can see obviously this day we are fighting them with green protest.
    3-this minority hate you coz if not doing so they have no reason to govern anymore; the past is over and both did some wrong things.. Operation Ajax or Attack to Embassy was both wrong. i myself am looking for new relation and peace
    4-I bet you to find Iranian terrorist !!! WE ARE NOT ARAB !!!!

    We Do not hate you people!!

    By Blogger mohammad, at 12:54 PM  

  • This is a GREAT write up, thank you! Most Americans simply assume that they hate our way of life and are too lazy to think about the history. The policies that started in the 50's have ruined our credibility and reputation in the world. The CIA should be disbanded, Dulles airport should be renamed and there should be some acknowledgment that policy contributed to the mess that we are in now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:50 PM  

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