Monday, November 14, 2011

"Don't Know Much About History"...

My life is not yet so pitiable that I spend Saturday night at home watching the latest Republican "debate," supposedly devoted to foreign policy. As this is a particular interest of mine, I did, however, try to follow the reviews and commentary afterwards. For starters, the only two candidates on the stage that could speak to foreign affairs with any degree of authenticity--Paul and Huntsman--were shut out of the debate. Herman and Rick just looked silly. Mitt and Newt tried to see which one could be the more bellicose towards Iran. But the prize has to go to Rick Santorum. As someone with even less a chance of winning the nomination than Perry (and that is setting the bar pretty low), why does it matter what he said? Here is why: his views are hardly out of the mainstream of GOP thought these days--or Democratic either, for that matter. Santorum's contribution, as follows:

Romney said he would take military action "if all else fails."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania agreed. Noting that a mysterious computer virus had caused disruption inside Iran's nuclear labs, and that Iranian scientists have been assassinated in recent months, he said, "I hope that the U.S. has been involved" in those and other covert actions.

Doesn't anyone study History anymore? This attitude displays an appalling lack of understanding about the country in question. Iran is no thrown-together construct of post-colonialism, but the proud modern inheritor of some 3,000 years of Persian civilization. And even a cursory overview of Persian history will note the 1953 CIA-led Anglo-American coup d'etat (Operation Ajax) which overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossaddegh, setting up the formerly constitutional monarch, Reza Shah Pahlavi, as the absolute ruler. His increasingly autocratic 26-year reign and repressive secret police caused the simmering resentment against the Crown and its enablers (us) to boil over in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The rest, as they say, is history.

And now, Santorum--the quintessential "pro-life" candidate--is hopeful that we have been in on the assassination of Iranian scientists. The only problem with an ends-justifies-the-means foreign policy is that the ends so seldom end up where we think they will.

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