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Jason Holliston
Wednesday, October 06, 2004  
WorldChanging on the Election

An interesting column was posted today on, informing us that even though non-US citizens do not have the right to vote in the upcoming election, they do have a stake. At least some of them do. I can agree that other nation's citizens are certainly affected by our nation's policies, and who our choice as president is. While we are the 800 pound gorilla on the block right now, she'd be reminded that many American's lives are affected by other countries, as well. For example, while Great Britain have Tony Blair as Prime Minister was certainly helpful to the United States during the Iraq War, conversely, France having Jacques Chirac as their president absolutely hurt our efforts. Turnabout is fair play. Would the French citizens be willing to give me a vote in their elections? I would guess that a vast majority would be appalled at the idea.

So, put that aside. What's the solution? I really don't know, but I'm sure that civic evolution and great ideas will take care of itself, and meet the needs of the people. I think the idea of a one world government is flat out ridiculous, in our current state of the world. Can you imagine having North Korea or Iran have a say in my tax rates, our use of our military, or if music is illegal? Egad. We might be ready for such a government someday, but not any time soon.

The only other part of her article that I take a huge issue with is this:

Put another way, it's hard for the average American to feel, up close and personal, the consequences of its leader's actions, and more generally the implications of what's happening beyond its boarders. While this has always been thus, as I was reminded recently sitting on the beaches of Normandy recalling how long it took the US to join both World War I and II, September 11th may have changed this dynamic; for this was one gigantic feedback loop, the logical consequence of policies dating back to the American-lead coup in Iran in 1953, the first and best definition of blowback.

So, we go back to the idea that it's all our fault. That we caused the stone rolling down the hill, and that stone became four airliners used as weapons of mass murder. First of all, looking for blame anywhere but the people that actually did the actual murdering on September 11th is foolish and dangerous. By that line of thinking, anyone who was born poor (due to the inequality of the capitalist system!) is not really to blame when they kill a store clerk in the middle of a botched robbery. It's not really their fault, right? It's really the fault of the corporate leaders and millionaires of this country. Of course. Let the killers go, and let's storm the mansion with pitchforks and torches!

Anyway. Let's get to the second point, and entertain for a second that ball rolling down the hill started somewhere, and that there's a "root cause". Why was it that the United States got so involved with the Middle East during the last 50 years? Why was it that we sponsored governments and helped topple others? Here's a couple hints: the same reason why we got involved in Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa. And it doesn't involve evil, white rich men wanting to make a few more bucks. It was Soviet Communism. Iran sat right on the border of the USSR, and was right next door to the world's richest oil fields. Is it that hard to imagine that the Soviets would really like to add that entire region to their empire? Step aside for a minute from your preconceived notions of the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War, or whatever else you blame the Cold War for. Don't you think that the Soviets controlling most of the world's oil would be a bad thing for the democratic world? Incredibly bad. The modern army doesn't run on wheat -- it runs on oil.

During the cold war, many reluctant rationalizations were made in our involving ourselves in other people's business, and that includes the Middle East, and especially Iran. We couldn't afford to fall back to different lines there, no matter what the cost. Frankly, it was worth it. I ask the Muslim people of the Middle East: what would you prefer: having some American soldiers on holy land and messing some with your choice of leaders, or Soviet control where the option to worship Allah freely is taken away from you on pain of death? Those were the choices back then, period. Ask the old ones in the Muslim countries that were previously Soviet how it was, and then ask your grandfather the same question and compare. Let me say this plainly: even today, your freedoms are at least partially due to American sacrifices.

That's getting off the point, though. If the events of 9/11 started somewhere deep within history, they certainly didn't start in 1953 Iran. They started much earlier. Take your pick: the rise of Stalin, of Lenin, the writings of Karl Marx, the 19th century French philosophers, the French Revolution, or the Reformation. Arguments can be made in each case. But to pick the American involvement in Iran in 1953 is simply foolish, and as I said before, dangerous.

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