I have watched several of the Republican debates in the last couple of months and have listened to Ron Paul talk about how it is understandable that Iran would hate us because we went in there and overthrew their democratically elected government in 1954. That overstates the actual facts but we did in fact work covertly to install another government in 1954. The effort had begun in 1953. Unfortunately his statement without any background completely mis-characterizes the actions of the US at that time and the necessity or lack thereof for that action. It is always a mistake to have people take matters out of a context and use them to create a false impression of history. As any experienced journalist knows all too well you can write a story that true facts in it but still give the slanted impression you want with the use of language and the omission of other facts equally true.
In 1953 we were at the height of the Cold War and indeed it was a war. It continued on for another three plus decades. Stalin didn’t die until 1953 and the usual mystery surrounding the power brokers in the Kremlin prevailed. The Soviets had just developed their H-Bomb at that time. The Iron Curtain was firmly in place across all of Eastern Europe. The Rosenbergs had just given away our secret regarding the bombs to the Commies. Alger Hiss had been exposed for what he was as a secret agent for the Soviets. Even that dolt and drunk McCarthy had his run at exposing the Commies in our government. Just because he was a boor, brute and crude didn’t make him wrong about his basic allegations. There were in fact Commies in the State Department and other governmental agencies just not as many as he alleged. But the ones there were bad enough.
Poland, Hungary, Austria and Berlin and other areas of Eastern Europe were under the oppressive thumb of the Kremlin and the trials and the Gulag were in full flower. The Commies never hesitated to achieve their goals at the blunt end of a gun. Oh, don’t forget that little exercise in Korea. It had just ended. The Soviets had helped along with their then brothers in cause, the Chicoms. Soviets advisors were all over Korea along with their MIG aircraft to shoot down our planes.
The Commies were on the march everywhere throughout the world during this period and stated their overt intention to dominate the world with their policies and their actual rule. All our Presidents and leaders for decades believed it was the right and proper course to oppose this Communist assault. Truman in Greece and the Truman Doctrine. Eisenhower with our European troops in place, Kennedy at Cuba and Viet Nam, Johnson in Viet Nam and all of Asia are only some of the examples.
In the early ’50’s Iran was still primitive. The notion of them having a “democratic” election during that era is laughable. The Communists were pushing hard in that area just as they were in Tibet and India for greater control, influence and outright dominion. Remember every country that had a communist party in place did in fact follow exactly the dictates from Moscow or Beijing as the case may be. Iran was ripe for the picking at this time for Moscow and they were pushing for it.
I have heard Paul people say we went there with our covert operations to gain oil. Again their historical facts are phony. In the early 1950’s the US was still energy independent. We didn’t need their damn oil. We were just beginning our Gulf Coast offshore development and had onshore supplies plus Mexico and Venezuela. Iran didn’t have that much in proven reserves at that time in any event. We could have bought oil cheap if we wanted it or needed it from that area from Saudi Arabia. We didn’t take our covert action in Iran to get oil but to counter a move by a real enemy–the Communists.
Lastly, it way overstates the case to say our covert actions in fact caused the change in government. People always think that covert action of a political nature is more effective at the moment than it really is. Heck, if covert action only would work to change governments we wouldn’t have had to endure the Communists in Russia for so many decades. Lord, knows we tried hard enough to change that regime covertly and otherwise. When all is said and done the people of Iran wanted that change or it wouldn’t have happened. All they had to do was stand up and say no and it would not have occurred. Those in the intelligence community have debated how effective our effort was there after the event. Many believe it was not very influential other than to put a guy forward for the Iranians to accept or reject. They accepted him.
This isn’t a commentary about Paul’s candidacy as such but only about his allegations. He paints a picture that the US just woke up one fine morning and decided to go over throw another government and did so for oil. That picture is completely wrong. All are invited to do your own research on this topic you don’t have to accept my word for anything.
“We will bury you.” Nikita Khrushev. www.olcranky.wordpress.com