February 08, 2009
The infamous showdown during the Republican presidential primary debates between Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani, led to Dr. Paul explaining the CIA term “blowback” and he specifically brought up the 1953 American-led coup in Iran and it decades-long consequences. The Huffington Post’s Robert Naiman makes many interesting points here:
When President Obama told al-Arabiya, “if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us,” the most widely reported Iranian response was President Ahmedinijad’s suggestion that if the U.S. truly wants good relations with Iran, it should begin by apologizing for U.S. “crimes” against Iran, including U.S. support for the coup that overthrew Iranian democracy in 1953.
Not surprisingly, there hasn’t exactly been a groundswell of popular support in the United States for President Ahmadinejad’s suggestion. Just 11% of U.S. voters think America should apologize for “crimes” against Iran, according to a poll from Rasmussen.
Of course, if you know anything about the United States, you wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that Americans, as a country, are a bunch of jerks who can’t admit when they’ve done anything wrong. Occam’s Razor suggests a simpler explanation: most Americans have little knowledge about the history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. As far as they know, the U.S. hasn’t done anything wrong. So why should we apologize?
Unfortunately for us, outside our borders U.S. foreign policy isn’t judged according to what we know, but according to what our government does and has done. And it is well known in Iran and throughout the Middle East that the U.S. (at the urging of and with the assistance of the UK) organized a coup against the democratically-elected Iranian government of Mohammed Mossaedgh in 1953, in retaliation for Mossaedgh’s stubborn insistence that Iran’s oil belonged to Iranians. And for the next twenty-five years, the U.S. kept in power a dictatorship in Iran, actions justified in no small measure by the alleged need to protect “our oil” that God had misplaced “under their sand.”
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