Monday, November 12, 2007

The Iranian Problem

With Iran being presented much the same way Iraq and Saddam Hussein were in the past, and with it receiving so much attention in the 2008 presidential campaign, reason needs to be presented to counter our march to unnecessary war. You won't hear reason from any of the media-loved Republicans on this issue (Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani, or McCain) , nor will you hear it from the media-chosen Democrats (Clinton, Obama etc).

America's policy on nuclear proliferation in Iran specifically, and Iran's influence in the middle east in general, brings out the worst of American imperialist politics. First, America needs to step back from "pre-emption". That is, the policy of invading or taking military action against a country we "think" might be planning to harm our "interests". Pre-emption is a code word for imperialism. It means that we can attack anyone we think might be looking at us funny, as "interests" are so loosely defined as to make anything permissible. The only acceptable cause for using military force is to defend life or property of our citizens. Anything else opens up the slippery slope we have too often slid down, to our own peril and harm.

When a politician is asked, "Will you allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons if you are president?", it would be refreshing and give hope for peace and freedom if the politician would answer "it is not my place, or the place of our country to decide who can have what weapons". Unless we are currently at war with another country, we are overstepping our rights as human beings, when we presume to tell them how they can defend themselves. We are setting ourselves at a higher position, that of demi-gods or imperials lords, when we attempt to control others in such a manner. This is bad for freedom, bad for human dignity, and bad for our own souls.

Further, if one studies history, and understands why Iran and the United States are at odds today, one can see that the problem may not be intractable. Indeed, all the arguments made by our mainstream politicians regarding the sanity of the Iranian government and religious leaders totally ignores the fact that China, and Russia, and plenty of other countries are not terrified by that Iranian government. If Iran hated us for being Christian, or immoral (smut peddlers), or free, or whatever other imagined reasons Iran should like to kill us all, one who understands Islam, would have a hard time explaining why China and Russia and North Korea and all these other atheist nations, nations that one would think, based on their horrible human rights records, and their horrible records repressing the religious of any faith, are not at all worried about a nuclear Iran. This suggests to me that our problems with Iran are primarily political, that our terrible record in the middle east of supporting brutal dictators like the Shah in Iran, like Mubarak in Egypt, like Hussein in Iraq, like Fahd in Saudi Arabia, like Musharraf in Pakistan, like any number of others there and around the world, is a much bigger problem for our credibility and relations when dealing peacefully with Iran.

Perhaps, if our foreign policy met reasonable expectations and took reasonable actions, our problems with Iran would not fill us with such fear, but then, we would have to become educated about the bad things our country has done, in the name of its "interests". That may be too much to ask of Americans, but without that level of introspection and decency, our nation cannot stand in the face of the hate we whip up against ourselves around the world.

Now, there are clearly lines we may one day have to draw, to defend ourselves from religious fanatics who will not rest until everyone is Muslim or dead. But that day is not now, and that battle does not have to be ours alone. That war is not inevitable at this time. Before we walk down that path to destruction, that lonely path, we ought to regain the credibility and moral highground by reforming our imperialist and immoral policies around the world. We need to stop pushing our genocide against non-white people around the world (stop pushing abortion and birth control on other countries), we need to bring our troops home from countries and regions they don't belong in, such as Japan, Germany, South Korea, the middle east, etc. We need to stop supporting brutal regimes everywhere, indeed, we ought not be giving money to foregin police and military under the cover of the "war on terror" or the "war on drugs" or the war on anything else. That money is used by bad people to oppress and subjgate their populace. We need to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries and allow them to experience self-determination. We need to embrace our own ideals, and stop our mega-corporations from enslaving the peasants of the world, China must not be allowed to continue to enslave its population so that WalMart executives get richer. The way to stop this is not through more pre-emption, the way is through proper trade tariffs and trade policy and an American government that will educate its people to make the proper and honrable choices at the marketplace.

Short of this, we are on a march to war, indeed, we are on a march to destruction. One country cannot control the world, many have tried, they have all failed. Our history cannot be any different.