As the situation worsens, the President assures the world that the U. desires only that the “people choose their own form of government”; he blocks delivery of all arms to the government and undertakes negotiations to establish a “broadly based” coalition headed by a “moderate” critic of the regime who, once elevated, will move quickly to seek a “political” settlement to the conflict. Should the incumbent be so demoralized as to agree to yield power, he will be replaced by a “moderate” of American selection.Should the incumbent autocrat prove resistant to American demands that he step aside, he will be readily overwhelmed by the military strength of his opponents, whose patrons will have continued to provide sophisticated arms and advisers at the same time the U. Only after the insurgents have refused the proffered political solution and anarchy has spread throughout the nation will it be noticed that the new head of government has no significant following, no experience at governing, and no talent for leadership. will have been led by its own misunderstanding of the situation to assist actively in deposing an erstwhile friend and ally and installing a government hostile to American interests and policies in the world. assisted the Shah’s departure and helped arrange the succession of Bakhtiar.Although the Shah very badly wanted to create a technologically modern and powerful nation and Somoza tried hard to introduce mod- ern agricultural methods, neither sought to reform his society in the light of any abstract idea of social justice or political virtue.Neither attempted to alter significantly the distribution of goods, status, or power (though the democratization of education and skills that accompanied modernization in Iran did result in some redistribution of money and power there).In each country, the Carter administration not only failed to prevent the undesired outcome, it actively collaborated in the replacement of moderate autocrats friendly to American interests with less friendly autocrats of extremist persuasion.It is too soon to be certain about what kind of regime will ultimately emerge in either Iran or Nicaragua, but accumulating evidence suggests that things are as likely to get worse as to get better in both countries.Both these small nations were led by men who had not been selected by free elections, who recognized no duty to submit them selves to searching tests of popular acceptability.Both did tolerate limited apposition, including opposition newspapers and political parties, but both were also confronted by radical, violent opponents bent on social and political revolution.
Both relied for public order on police forces whose personnel were said to be too harsh, too arbitrary, and too powerful.
The “Marxist” presence is ignored and/or minimized by American officials and by the elite media on the ground that U. sup- port for the dictator gives the rebels little choice but to seek aid “elsewhere.” Violence spreads and American officials wonder aloud about the viability of a regime that “lacks the support of its own people.” The absence of an opposition party is deplored and civil-rights violations are reviewed. Requests for help from the beleaguered autocrat go unheeded, and the argument is increasingly voiced that ties should be established with rebel leaders “before it is too late.” The President, delaying U. aid, appoints a special emissary who confirms the deterioration of the government position and its diminished capacity to control the situation and recommends various measures for “strengthening” and “liberalizing” the regime, all of which involve diluting its power.
Liberal columnists question the morality of continuing aid to a “rightist dictatorship” and provide assurances concerning the essential moderation of some insurgent leaders who “hope” for some sign that the U. The emissary’s recommendations are presented in the context of a growing clamor for American disengagement on grounds that continued involvement confirms our status as an agent of imperialism, racism, and reaction; is inconsistent with support for human rights; alienates us from the “forces of democracy”; and threatens to put the U. once more on the side of history’s “losers.” This chorus is supplemented daily by interviews with returning missionaries and “reasonable” rebels.
S., sending their sons and others to be educated in our universities, voting with us in the United Nations, and regularly supporting American interests and positions even when these entailed personal and political cost.
The embassies of both governments were active in Washington social life, and were frequented by powerful Americans who occupied major roles in this nation’s diplomatic, military, and political life.