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A Time Saver

Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and the good people of the Reagan administration could scarcely have predicted the bizarre course events would take over the next 20 years. That said, in retrospect we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble if, instead of giving trade credits and chemical weapons precursors to Saddam Hussein in the 1980s we'd just given that stuff to Iran instead, and let them install a SCIRI/Dawa government way back when. That strategy wouldn't have had all the muss-and-fuss of backing Saddam, then tilting toward neutrality, then fighting the Gulf War, then years of sanctions, then another war, then occupation and counterinsurgency, and then an election that's going to install a SCIRI/Dawa government that will ask our troops to leave and effectively deny us much influence over the course of events in our once-so-promising colony. If only Paul Wolfowitz had access to a time machine and could travel back to 1984 and tell everyone how things were going to go....

December 11, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

So why don't we just make Zombie Reagan president to fix all our troubles?

He'd be better than the current occupant of the White House, no?

Posted by: Moo Cow | Dec 11, 2004 12:26:24 AM

The problem with that is that Khomenei is much crazier and was much crazier at that particular point in time than Iran's more pragmatic leaders are today. So they would have probably tried some crazy shit.

Posted by: praktike | Dec 11, 2004 12:40:37 AM

Down with America

Posted by: Kevin Sites | Dec 11, 2004 12:44:52 AM

What, are you saying that giving all those weapons to Iran in the Iran-Contra deal WAS a good idea or WASN'T? I'm really confused. Either way, Reagan and Bush were to blame. And it was all so we could liberate Latin America from those dangerous communists and their geo-political domino game.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 11, 2004 12:45:01 AM

Of course, if you're playing the trip down memory lane, it might have been a lot better to have supported the Shah and encouraged the French to arrange for that obscure cleric that they were sheltering to have a small accident in the bathtub.

The revolution in Iran is the key to the developments in the Middle East since that fateful day.

And in this case, it really is Carter's fault.

John

Posted by: John F. Opie | Dec 11, 2004 1:21:10 AM

The revolution in Iran is the key to the developments in the Middle East since that fateful day.

And in this case, it really is Carter's fault.

Reagan supported Iran as well as Iraq. To lay it all on Carter is to over-simplify the matter. If conservatives would bother to read up on the nature and history of the Iran-Contra scandal, they would see that a good deal of the subsequent 'blowback' in the Middle East belongs on the Republican's doorstep.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 11, 2004 1:44:31 AM

"And in this case, it really is Carter's fault."

I blame Ike and Dulles.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 11, 2004 1:47:32 AM

Interestingly enough, the U.S. did support the Shah. But the Iranian military was deserting so fast that it didn't matter, and Iran's generals basically knew the jig was up. 10% of Iranians participated in the revolution. People who lay all the blame for this at Carter's feet are full of shit. It was the Shah's fault.

Posted by: praktike | Dec 11, 2004 1:59:31 AM

People who lay all the blame for this at Carter's feet are full of shit. It was the Shah's fault.

And then we supported both sides of the Iran-Iraq War. Payback is a bitch.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 11, 2004 2:05:09 AM

I'm with Bob.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Dec 11, 2004 2:24:12 AM

You people made a mess of the place.

I don't know why I bothered.

Posted by: God | Dec 11, 2004 2:46:37 AM

Right. If there'd been no oil in Iraq we'd never had bothered, Babylon notwithstanding.

Posted by: bad Jim | Dec 11, 2004 4:04:22 AM

Nah, I think things would have been even worse if Iran had won a clear-cut victory.

There was just no possible good result that could come out of that war, for anyone.

And when you think about it, how much aid did either side really get from us? Not a heck of a lot. We gave the Sandinistas as much as we gave Iraq, at least until Reagan imposed sanctions in 1984, I think it was.

Posted by: Adam Herman | Dec 11, 2004 5:29:27 AM

The more likely outcome of an Iranian takeover wouldn't have been a "SCIRI/Dawa" elected government but a carbon copy of the "rule of the jurisprudent" theocracy in Iran. The difference is not trivial. Moreover, there's no way Iran stops there. It would have gone on to try and overthrow many of the Gulf states, most of which still have large Shiite populations.

Posted by: rd | Dec 11, 2004 8:40:29 AM

"If only Paul Wolfowitz had access to a time machine and could travel back to 1984 and tell everyone how things were going to go...."

If only we didn't give a shit about Israel. Then we could make nice with the Arabs and Iranians, perform some occasional regional fine-tuning when needed, and get on with our lives.

Posted by: Adam | Dec 11, 2004 9:17:41 AM

"I blame Ike and Dulles."

Could someone give a very brief sketch of how that goes? I'm ignorant but (genuinely) curious.

Posted by: rbt | Dec 11, 2004 11:11:10 AM

Adam Herman: My memory's a little rusty, but I believe we blockaded Iran's Persian Gulf ports during the Iran-Iraq War.

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Dec 11, 2004 11:39:43 AM

Wolfowitz with a time machine is a scary idea. It'd be all Back to the Future, with the picture of Rumsfeld with Saddam instead of Marty McFly's siblings.

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 11, 2004 11:40:27 AM

rbt,
The problem is that it really isn't Ike and Dulles who are to blame, but the English way back when they partitioned that area in an artificial way for their own convenience. Let's lay the blame where it belongs.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Dec 11, 2004 11:41:49 AM

"If only Paul Wolfowitz had access to a time machine...."

And there was a lab tech who secretly programmed it to land him somewhere in the late-Jurrasic where he belongs.

Shiite happens!


Posted by: Armasgettin' | Dec 11, 2004 11:42:30 AM

Vaughn, thanks. I did some cursory searching and found some info on the Dulles-Shah thing. Funny how we don't learn from our mistakes.

Posted by: rbt | Dec 11, 2004 12:06:03 PM

http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=23929

Andrew McKillop: There's no supply side answer to the coming oil crisis...

This article deals with pending oil issues,
sample quote:

"..In total, the trend for world oil demand growth is firmly set in a range of 2.3-2.7 mbd/year, and without intense economic recession is likely to stay there. About 4 months or 150 days of world oil demand growth at this rate will make the Saudi princely boast of ‘raising exports by 0.8 mbd’ a vital necessity ... and not a weak attempt to help the Bush administration obtain a few more months of fragile economic growth, with volatile oil price trends that are a godsend for traders.."

A very thorough article, please read.

Posted by: George | Dec 11, 2004 12:31:26 PM

"Bush administration obtain a few more months of fragile economic growth"

This crunch is fascinating. Presume a fixed point, say the Euro. Oil, because of increased demand and inelastic supply, goes up in price versus the Euro....while simultaneously, because of the two deficits, the dollar goes down in value vs the Euro. So the value of oil versus the value of the dollar wildly diverges, while everyone has to buy oil in dollars. What cannot be sustained won't, and 2005 gonna be a trip, folks.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 11, 2004 1:25:17 PM

And then we supported both sides of the Iran-Iraq War. Payback is a bitch.

This is vaguely reminiscent of this one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Things didn't work out too well there either.

Posted by: JP | Dec 11, 2004 2:20:24 PM

Of course, if you're playing the trip down memory lane, it might have been a lot better to have supported the Shah and encouraged the French to arrange for that obscure cleric that they were sheltering to have a small accident in the bathtub.

The revolution in Iran is the key to the developments in the Middle East since that fateful day.

And in this case, it really is Carter's fault.

John

Gee, you don't think that maybe supporting a tyrannical regime with some of the most brutal secret police outside the Iron Curtain might have been a problem down the line, no matter *who* was president?

(Google is your friend: read about SAVIK if you want nightmares about Ye Goode Olde Days when we were busy spreadin' freedom around the Middle East a generation ago.)

Posted by: bellatrys | Dec 11, 2004 2:59:04 PM

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