oleeb's picture

    Here We Go Again: Roll 1970's Tape From Iran

    I find it really interesting watching the range of reaction both by officials in America and by various voices in the media.  It's as though history has no lessons and there are no reasons why the kinds of uprising we see in Egypt might happen and if there are such reasons they certainly don't involve the United States. 

    On the one hand we see our corrupt imperial government suddenly wringing it's hands over the prospect of the loss of the Mubarak led regime in Egypt with not so subtle undertones of what might happen should Islamic "extremists" emerge as leading whatever government might emerge in the wake of the uprising.  This line is echoed in the corporate media quite loyally and always with no explaining (that makes sense) to the uninformed American viewership how this situation might have developed.  So once again both from officialdom and our dominate media we have this "scary" problem that "suddenly" emerges in the middle east that cannot really be explained other than by reinforcing the notion that Arabs and Muslims are irrational and dangerously emotional people who support our ancient and all purpose enemy: "terrorism".  Then, in the blogosphere you have a spectrum of writers and web sites that range from wanting Mubarak to do whatever is necessary to remain in power because that is what would be best (in their view) for America in the short term.  You also have bloggers and sites trying to be more evenhanded who worry along with Washington about the stability of Egypt and the quite negative possibilities of a regime change that could install a new government with distinctly fundamanetalist Islamic leanings but who also express sympathy with the uprising over the abuses of power, repression and so forth under which they've had to live for so long.  And over on the left you have a range of cautious to enthusiastic celebration of the popular uprising for a variety of reasons but the most frequently cited reason is because they oppose the brutal dictatorship and have every right to do so.

    It is an extraordinary thing how officialdom can get away with not honestly explaining what is happening and why.  It is also extraordinary that they have been, once again, taken completely by surprise by these developments and are not being held at all accountable for their failure to both foresee this eventuality or to do anything that might be in the long term interest of the United States in the event of such a circumstance.  Their handmaidens in the corporate media have absolutely no intention of trying to make sense of this.  The official story will stand without any honest background or scrutiny.  This is especially ironic since this is the perfect moment for oficialdom (particularly the media) to finally come clean about the causes of the rise of Islamic fundamentalist power, the rise of Al Qaida and groups like it, and ultimately why there is so much anitpathy toward the United States throughout the Arab and greater Islamic worlds. But that won't happen of course.

    Essentially, our government and ruling elites are replaying precisely what went down in Iran 32 years ago.  They have supported a repressive and unpopular dictator for decades knowing all the while that if he did not implement democratic reforms and improve economic conditions and opportunities for his people that this would be the ultimate outcome.  Now, when the tinderbox is fully ablaze our leaders come a day late and a dollar short trying to appear as though they are on the side of the Egyptian people and their grievances while also clinging to the hope that the dictator can quickly and effectively put down the uprising.  Despite the wishes of our elites and the distorted picture our corporate media might paint of the situation, I am quite sure the Egyptian people will never forget the long and unwavering US support of the despised Mubarak regime and the total indifference of successive American governments to their plight.  This is a real problem not just for America but for the entire world because the implications extend beyond internal Egyptian political concerns.  The obvious question that looms is what are the implications in the wider Arab and Islamic worlds and specifically what might potential regime change mean for the peace treaty that has held between Egypt and Israel all these years?  The Egyptian people, like the people throughout the Arab and Islamic world are not exactly friendly toward Israel and if any new government fails to abide by the existing peace treaty the prospects for continued peace between those two states becomes questionable indeed.

    Had our government done it's job and tried to do the hard work of introducing the kinds of Democratic reforms that should have been implemented since the late 1970's and had they also used their influence with the dictators throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds to actually take actions that would create more economic options and opportunities for their people, America would not be seen so negatively.  But instead, our imperial foreign policy has not changed since the 1950's and we have not only failed to give more than lip service to the implementation of democratic reforms in the Arab and Islamic worlds, we have enthusiastically supported the repressive regimes that refuse to introduce such reforms because we were far more interested in favorable concessions and imperial gain for the corporate interests that wish to extract the natural resources (primarily oil of course) from these nations on favorable if not exclusive terms and to dominate their markets with our consumer products, etc... 

    The callous disregard for the legitmate democratic and economic aspirations of the Arab and Islamic peoples of the world by our government has real world consequences and one of the biggest of these is that when the dicatorships fall, they are unlikely to be replaced by new regimes favorable to the same kinds of political or economic arrangements.  And, as we have seen in just about anyplace free elections have been held in the Arab world particularly, there is likely to be a distincly hostile and confrontational posture on the part of such new regimes toward Israel.  Whether you are gung ho Israel or wish to see our government's policies with reagard to Israel change, this is potentially a very hazardous situation not just for America but for the entire world.  The range of possibilities is from unpleasant and uncomfortable to absolutely disasterous.  But what the population here in America needs, more than anything else, is to be honestly informed about how and why this has developed so that the citizenry can make an informed decision about how to go forward in the future.

    We already know how Washington will handle this and it will not work.  They will try to play the balancing game described above with continued support for Mubarak while mouthing platitudes about reform and the like.  But what they will not do is fundamentally reassess our posture of imperial exploitation and support for continued repression of Arab and Islamic peoples which is also the cause of the deep and abiding antipathy toward America that fuels Isamic radicalism and terrorism.  If our people continue to be fed the lie that terrorists are enemies for no objective reason, then the corrupt rulers of our economic and political empire will be allowed to pursue their failed policies indefinitely even though the majority of the American people have, for years, been opposed to our imperial wars of occupation and the mythical "war on terror" that is fueled by American support for repressive dictatorship and economic exploittion in the Arab and Isamic worlds and made exponentially worse by the use of our imperial forces to make war on them.

    Step by step our current corrupt leaders are repeating the steps taken by our leaders in the seventies to attempt to forestall the revolution in Iran.  Since then, never having the courage or common sense to admit our mistakes we have instead buried our heads in the sand and used Iran as a bogey man to scare the American people into approving of every harsh, counterproductive and violent response to the idea of self determination and economic independence that has arisen in the Arab and Islmaic worlds.  Hasn't the time come, at long last, for our nation's leaders to start owning up to their mistakes, to start being honest with the American citizenry about why these things are happening and to give the people a choice between continuing down this disasterous and foolish path or by choosing a new course of action that requires more courage, more determination and more committement which is to forsake our imperial ambitions, to treat the nations of the Arab and Islamic worlds with respect by acknowledging their right to self determination and their right to sovereignty?  And instead of doing our best to screw them economically for the short term benefit, not of the people of the United States, but of some powerful corporate interests, we should pursue policies that will help them develop their economies so they can employ their people, be self sufficient and live in peace with one another.


    All good questions, oleeb: Why does the U.S. have such bad foreign policies? Why are the government and public always surprised when events overtake those policies and demonstrate how bad they actually are? Why do our media fail to hold responsible whoever formulated those policies?

    Maybe it's because the same corporate class that controls the U.S. government controls the U.S. media. It's their policies that have failed; what motivation could they possibly have for honestly dissecting their own failures?

    Look at how events in Egypt unfolded: As the seriousness of the street protests became apparent, suddenly TV talking heads were unanimous in asserting that Mubarak's regime was a brutal dictatorship, despised by the entire population.

    Twenty-four hours earlier, these same "experts" had been calling Mubarak a stable, reliable ally and friend to the U.S. Had these guys and gals learned the truth overnight? Maybe consulted Wikipedia? No, it's just that real-life events had rendered the previous official narrative "inoperative."

    So, without a blush of shame or missing a beat, the networks were suddenly telling the American public that it's Oceania we've been at war with all these years, not Eastasia. And those teargas cannisters "made in U.S.A.?" Down the memory hole, please.

    "We are at war with East Asia.  We have always been at war with East Asia."


    I certainly agree with you, and believe that it is the moral and patriotic responsibility of those in the government, particularly those who lead it, to demonstrate some courage and leadership by defying the powers that are behind these failed policies by going to the people and telling the truth and thus exposing the malignant interests behind it all.  Obama is one among many who could easily do so if he chose, but alas, the sort who rises to high office today is typically not made of the sort of stuff such action would require.  The first step, I think, toward doing something about it is to pay heed to the fact that few of our our elected leaders actually work for us but instead they serve first and foremost the interests of their corporate benefactors.  It has been true for a long time, but it is worse now than ever before, at least in my estimation.

    As Teddy Roosevelt said:

    "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people."

    Job Security?

    Why does the U.S. have such bad foreign policies?

    Why not? They keep the world agitated and the military industrial complex still controls.

    They don't want peace, that would put them out of business,  

    The more the World burns, the more they'll profit.  

    Like an unemployed fireman, burn the city down and he'll have his job back.

    You have a good point there Resistance.

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