20 January 2004

Republican foreign policy is even worse than I imagined?

David Neiwert at Orcinus has a long post quoting a fella named Mark D. Lew about how the ''October surprise'' story about presidential candidate Ronald Reagan's efforts to delay the return of American hostages in Iran in 1980 is a capsule example of how and why the US is a supporter of authoritarian regimes.
Members of the U.S. government are frequently expressing their moral support for the democratic reform movement in Iran. At the same time, our actions are supporting the vali faqih. Why? Because he can deliver the goods. What we want most from Iran right now is for them to shut down their nuclear weapons program. The democratic movement is basically for a peaceful Iran, but all you've got to show for it is the rhetoric of a bunch of activists who argue with one another, and who knows who will actually be elected? With Ali Khamenei, he can say the word and the nuclear program shuts down right now. That's a man we can do business with, and so we do.
It's a fairly intricate look at how the October surprise story connects to the internal politics in Iran, and the implications are chilling, as Neiwert observes.
If these accounts prove accurate, the Reagan team's behavior in this instance constituted treason, by any definition of the term. As Mark suggests, the Reagan folk directly undermined government negotiations to free the hostages. If George H.W. Bush was a direct participant in this, it casts an even darker light on not only his presidency but his subsequent actions regarding Iran-Contra and Iraq, actions for which we continue to confront the consequences.
The principals may indeed have said their piece, but sadly, the public is spectacularly unaware of this. The point is to put our current events in a clear and factual context that erases the mythology favored by Republican propagandists, who would have us get all misty-eyed over the wonders of the Reagan administration's moral clarity and farsighted vision.

After all, we are currently in a political environment in America in which it is a commonplace to characterize liberals as traitors and to suggest that they have behaved treasonously in our response to ''the war on terror.'' What the October Surprise scenario makes clear is that not only are the Republicans now running the government the principal traitors here, but their entire approach to dealing with terrorists is a poisonous cauldron of deceit, both at home and abroad.

No comments: