Past Parallels To Ponder: Iran
When a foreign power overthrows a democratically elected government to install a puppet favorable to them, they sow the seeds of multi-generational enmity with the people they have betrayed.
If they do not make amends for their behavior by recognizing and negotiating with the new government those people will eventually flock to in revolt, but rather deny their complicity in their crime against those people and continue to seek to harm them, they will make it impossible for peace to exist between the two nations.
Winston Churchill toppled the first domino when, as Lord of the Admiralty prior to World War One, he decided to switch the British fleet from coal propulsion to fuel oil.
The great North Sea oil reserves not having been discovered yet, Britain had no oil reserves of its own; the nearest supply was in the Middle East under the domain of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of the Germans and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
During World War One the British encouraged an uprising of the Arabs (most of the Middle East) against the Ottomans (Turks) by promising them self-determination after the war.
This was a flat out lie as the western allies divided up the Middle East as they saw fit, with particular attention paid to who got which oil reserves.
For a while bribery and corruption worked well enough, and a few local strongmen and families kept the population under control for European benefit.
However, when democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh began taking steps to renegotiate Iran’s oil dealings in a more equitable manner (the country having received a paltry “take it or leave it” offer from Britain in the decades previously), Britain and the United States used their respective intelligence services to ferment a coup against Mosaddegh and to install a new monarchy to run the country in a way that western -- and very specifically, anti-Soviet -- governments approved.
The new shah enriched himself and his family and friends while the bulk of Iran suffered. Those who opposed this injustice were imprisoned, marginalized, or exiled.
One such exile was the Ayatollah Khomeini who managed to inspire and link various anti-shah and anti-western groups into an effective coalition that overthrew the shah, seized control of the government, and -- when the United States offered asylum to the much hated deposed shah -- seized the American embassy as well, triggering a lengthy hostage crisis that has soured U.S. attitudes towards Iran to this day.
In exchange for overthrowing a pro-democracy / pro-modernization / anti-communist prime minister’s government, the west gained a fanatical theocracy determined to stick the screws to them whenever possible.
And when progress is seemingly made in the relations between the two countries, it is invariably sabotaged by internal U.S. political interests who still fume over the “humiliation” of the hostage crisis -- a crisis brought about by their bad faith actions against a nation that had done them no harm and had been willing to remain our ally in the region.
Lessons to learn:
Once again, give rich people -- or international corporations -- a chance not to pay their fair share and they’ll jump at it, bringing ruin on those around them. Sacrificing potential political allies for the sake of money only gains you a new enemy. Interfere in the politics of other nations only at your own risk -- and be prepared of generations of enmity as a result.
© Buzz Dixon