Everything you know about U.S. involvement in Iran is wrong
December 11, 2009 6:54 PM   Subscribe

The Great Satan Myth. We have discussed the US supported coup of 1953 on MeFi before. Now, Abbas Milani, provides some more context to the complex relationship of the two countries.
posted by lenny70 (13 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Human rights violations in Iran are now as bad as at any time in the past 20 years, Amnesty International has said in a new report on the aftermath of last June’s presidential election.
posted by netbros at 7:22 PM on December 11, 2009


Human rights violations in Iran are now as bad as at any time in the past 20 years...

...but doesn't say how they compare to 30+ years ago when the Shah was in charge... (how much influence the USofA had on him not being specifically relevant)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:35 PM on December 11, 2009


The US was pretty busy back then.
posted by Danf at 8:02 PM on December 11, 2009


Yeah, our policy was basically "better fascist than communist".
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:10 PM on December 11, 2009


This is pretty interesting but, for me, this statement stood out:
The greatest sources of Islamist ire--the empowerment of women and other trappings of modernity--were hardly issues that could unite a broad coalition, especially one that included communists and discontented swaths of the middle class.
The most important revolution of the twentieth century was that of women -- this was a shift that is important for all human history, not just some political turn in the Cold War. The commies and middle class couldn't take this "trapping of modernity"? That's some pretty poor analysis, Bud.
posted by CCBC at 2:02 AM on December 12, 2009


Summation: we did a little handwringing after we and the British overthrew Mossadeq for daring to steal our oil. Why, we even talked sternly to that murderous bastard.

That makes everything "nuanced", and therefore okay if we start trying to interfere there now.
posted by Malor at 5:12 AM on December 12, 2009


Academic colleague of Condoleezza Rice rewrites Iranian history, news at 11.
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:06 AM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


CCBC, if there's anything I've learned about communists, it's that they hate womens' rights. *eyeroll*
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:41 AM on December 12, 2009


The most important revolution of the twentieth century was that of women -- this was a shift that is important for all human history, not just some political turn in the Cold War. The commies and middle class couldn't take this "trapping of modernity"? That's some pretty poor analysis, Bud.

No, he's saying that the commies and middle class didn't share the Islamists' opposition to the modernizing reforms that the Shah's government enacted during the White Revolution. Milani's claim is that Khomeini and his followers hijacked the language of the left to forge a specious alliance between reactionary and progressive groups that ultimately had nothing in common but their opposition to the Shah.

This part of his argument seems much more plausible to me than his overall claim that democracy flourished in Iran when America got involved (except for that little matter of the '53 coup) and withered when America stepped away. Milani's take on Iranian history seems a little, uh, tendentious (not surprisingly--it's basically a piece of policy advocacy) but there are some interesting bits if you read around the rah-rah-American-interventionism obnoxiousness.
posted by DaDaDaDave at 9:08 AM on December 12, 2009


Right you are, DaDaDaDave. My bad for sloppy reading.
posted by CCBC at 1:48 PM on December 12, 2009


I don't understand his argument, it makes no sense. He cites American involvement in the coup, and in SAVAK, and then claims that America disapproved of the Shah's authoritarianism.

If USA disapproved so much, why give that support? disapproval like that is only so much talk.
posted by eustatic at 3:01 PM on December 12, 2009


Yeah, like I said, we talked sternly to the dictator we helped install, and somehow that makes it okay.

He also seems to argue that we didn't do it all by ourselves, so it's not our fault, that "forces in Iran" caused the takeover. Well, of course they bloody did, you can't foment a coup unless there's an opposition to fund and support. It's entirely disingenuous, but it's couched in Scholarly Language, trying to make what's actually not a complex thing at all into a 'nuanced reality'.

Regardless of whether or not our actions directly caused the coup, there A) WAS a coup, and B) we were in there trying like hell to make it happen. We carry full responsibility for the outcome, just as all the other players do. The fact that Iran can now call us the Great Satan is entirely our fault, and given the destruction, at Western hands, of their early Muslim democracy, they may be correct to do so.
posted by Malor at 7:30 PM on December 12, 2009


not a complex thing at all

(I meant morally/ethically, and wasn't terribly clear about that, sorry.)
posted by Malor at 7:31 PM on December 12, 2009


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