Iraq’s Role in the Iran Election
President Obama appears to be rethinking his strategy of reaching out to Tehran’s brutal dictators Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, especially after the government crackdown on Iran Election protesters. The brutality of the attempt to silence the pleas for justice and freedom within in the nation has rallied the world, with camps on the Left and Right declaring “we are all Iranians now “. In spite of the beatings, killings, and gassings by the radical authorities seeking to coerce their citizens back into the dark age, the peoples’ voices have still come through, as the President stated yesterday:
The Iranian people can speak for themselves. That’s precisely what’s happened in the last few days. In 2009, no iron fist is strong enough to shut off the world from bearing witness to peaceful protests [sic] of justice. Despite the Iranian government’s efforts to expel journalists and isolate itself, powerful images and poignant words have made their way to us through cell phones and computers, and so we’ve watched what the Iranian people are doing.
Just a few years ago, it became increasingly likely that Iraq would fall to hard-line fundamentalists, while the Shiite majority, fully supported in the insurgency by Iran, would become a vassal state to their terrorist supporting regime. Now, with the recent controversy over apparent irregularities in the Iran Election, it appears that it is the hard-liners in Tehran who are at bay, suffering from the Iraq effect sooner than many realized.
America went into Iraq in 2003 on what turned out as a controversial excuse, though it seemed relevant at the time, after the very real attack on New York and the Pentagon on September 11th. Following the deaths of 3000 Americans, it is understandable how the president was concerned WMD’s would get into the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists through Saddam’s regime. Such a worse case scenario had to be taken into account, and countered by any means necessary.
After a brilliant blitzkrieg by US forces under General Tommy Franks, a feat which will be analyzed for years to come, the Americans crushed a former member of the Axis of Evil. Though a backlash ensued after no illegal weapons were discovered, Bush insisted the operation justified as part of the Global War on Terror. Unlike many at the time, the President understood a democracy planted in the heart of Muslim culture would not only benefit that country, but the entire Middle East and the world.
The Polish Precedent
For such a bold plan to liberate a long oppressed people, history reveals many precedents. As recent as the post World War 2 period saw the rapid alteration of the former fascist nations of Japan and Germany into vibrant and free capitalist countries. There is however, a more recent example in Poland at the height of the Cold War. Once again, you have an ancient nation surrounded on all sides by oppressive dictatorships transforming itself into a Western style democracy.
Poland had communism forced on it by the Soviets under Josef Stalin after WW 2. The new government set about imposing Marxist policies on the nation, bringing farms and industries under government control and persecuting the Catholic Church. This latter practice was bitterly resented by the deeply religious Poles, even more so when one of their own became Pope in 1978: John Paul II.
The year 1980 was a momentous one in world history. In November Ronald Reagan, a fierce Cold Warrior, was elected US President with a mandate to win the Cold War short of bringing about nuclear Armageddon (despite insistence to the contrary by many of his critics). That same month saw official government recognition in Poland of the first non-communist labor union, Solidarity. The new union demanded higher pay, greater economic freedom, and political reforms, many of which the government granted.
Two years later, pressure from Moscow forced a crackdown on the reformers. Solidarity was outlawed and her leaders jailed, including the popular Lech Walesa. Despite this, the genie was out of the bottle. Reform movements soon spread to other communist dominated states within the Warsaw Pact for freedom and change.
In 1989, Poland conducted its freest election since before the war. Solidarity was voted into the legislature by a majority, and the next year the Communist Party was dissolved. Meanwhile the Berlin Wall fell and by 1991, the old Soviet Union ceased to be. From this history lesson, we see a tiny country in a sea of anti-democratic forces, defying those forces and eventually triumphing over them. The Poles became not only an example to its neighbors, but to the world when it joined the Coalition in Iraq, for a while the third largest military besides America and Britain.
Like the communists in Poland, those who try to stifle the spread of liberty among the long-suffering Iranians are doomed to fail. In the ongoing protests of the Iran Election, we see the roots of terror and oppression rotting from within, without the long-predicted US Invasion that many have predicted. The very chaos there is a reminder of the instability that can be aroused by a popular movement, one in which we has been greatly influenced by the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.