May 14, 2018


It's No Wonder Iranians Hate America: When will the U.S. stop reminding them how legitimate their grievances are? (Pankaj Mishra, May 11, 2018, Bloomberg)

These Western interventionists don't grasp why Iran came very late to decolonization, and then with a volcanic anti-Western eruption. For decades Iranians were victims of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the U.S. inflicted puppet regimes on many nation-states in Asia and Africa. Iran did have its own nationalist upsurge, which built up throughout Western and Soviet occupation of the country during World War II. But it was brutally suppressed by a CIA-backed coup in 1953 that deposed the country's democratically elected leader and empowered the despotic Shah of Iran.

The tens of thousands of Americans who once lived in Tehran -- some as advisers to the Shah's notorious executioners and torturers in the secret police -- may have occasionally felt the visceral hostility in the country to the Shah and his American enablers.

But they were not helped by "obtusely establishment editors," as Kennett Love, the New York Times correspondent in Tehran, called his bosses, who like most American newspaper editors couldn't look past the Shah's pharaonic modernization projects to his brutality and foolishness.

Such naivete and ignorance explains why, when they finally erupted in 1979, anti-American passions shocked policymakers and opinion-formers in the U.S.

Frustrated "real men" then took to assisting Saddam Hussein in his vicious assault on Iran, which entrenched the Islamic revolutionaries in power in Tehran. They trampled upon the few shoots of liberal reform in Iran in the early 2000s, insisting on the country's inclusion in President George W. Bush's "axis of evil." It is no surprise that their stampede into Baghdad helped turn Iraq into an Iranian client state.

Needless to add, during all these years of unrelentingly belligerent and incompetent American policy, Iranian nationalism osmotically grew, along with Iran's sphere of influence in the region.

Posted by at May 14, 2018 4:27 AM