Friday, April 14, 2006
Commentaries: Iraq, Iran, Immigration
The Guardian,UK * Michael Kinsley * Eugene Robinson
The more interesting part about the role of the United States as a king maker comes later in his op-ed piece Where do we Meddle Next? No wonder that we are not liked by the Iranians.
- Half a century ago, Iran was very close to a real democracy. It had an elected legislature, called the majlis, and it had a repressive monarch, called the shah, and power veered uncertainly between them. In 1951, over the shah's objections, the majlis voted in a man named Mohammad Mosaddeq as prime minister. His big issue was nationalizing the oil companies.
- But in 1952 the United States had an election for president, and the winner (Dwight Eisenhower) got more votes than anyone in Iran. That must explain why in 1953, in the spirit of democracy, the CIA instigated a riot and then staged a coup. Mosaddeq was arrested, the majlis was ultimately dissolved and the shah ran things his way, which involved torture and death for political opponents, caviar and champagne for an international cast of hangers-on, and no more crazy talk about nationalizing the oil companies.
- After all, we invited these people to come here and pick our strawberries, clean our offices, pluck our chickens, bus our tables, wash our cars and perform a host of other jobs for which our society no longer wants to shell out working-class wages and reasonable benefits such as health insurance. By "invited" I mean that we left the Mexican border essentially open, gave employers the luxury of no-questions-asked hiring without any credible threat of sanctions, and failed to make clear who was supposed to enforce the immigration laws and how. That adds up to an invitation.