Is this 1979? - Hot Air
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. — George SantayanaI'm having the strangest sense of deja vu over the last eighteen months or so, and the attacks on two diplomatic missions in the Middle East over the last 24 hours has only intensified it. Once again we have an American government that either tacitly or actively undermined an ally in the region in favor of supposedly democratic Islamist radicals, and once again we have an American government that gets taken by surprise when the government that results either fails to protect our embassies and consulates or arguably participated in an attack on them. Once again, the response to those attacks have been more mea culpa than mighty, and once again the weakness of the response puts our other diplomatic missions at risk.In that year, President Jimmy Carter abandoned a key regional ally, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran, who was no one's idea of a nice guy. But we didn't need Pahlavi to be a nice guy; we needed him to stand up against the Soviet Union. The CIA had squelched an earlier democratization movement in the late 1950s to maintain the monarchy and its influence in Iran, and apparently some in the US government thought Ruhollah Khomeini would bring that democratization to fruition in 1979. The Shah had to flee after his American allies withdrew their support, and Khomeini imposed a theocracy with a 12th-century mindset on what had formerly been one of the most liberalized Muslim nations in the region. When Pahlavi came to the US for medical treatment a few months later, a demonstration of "students" overran the American embassy in Tehran and took dozens of diplomatic personnel hostage, holding them for 444 days.