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Saudi Arabia, Iran, and American Values
May 8, 2017
by William P. Meyers

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It is time to re-friend Iran

What are American values?

At least as taught in high school civics classes and July Fourth political speeches, they have a few obvious elements.

1. We don't like Kings and dictators. We don't have one ourselves. Our American Revolution was fought against the King of the British Empire.

2. We don't like entitled nobility or aristocracy. Our Constitution specifically says: "No Title of nobility shall be granted by the United States."

3. We like equality under the law. We have not always been perfect at it, there are still problems today, but we favor the general idea.

4. We like freedom. We apparently need laws and police to keep some people from killing each other or committing lesser crimes, but we don't like the government bossing people around more than is necessary to keep the peace. In particular, women have the same freedoms that men have.

5. More specifically, we like religious freedom. If people want to join a cult or go to church, they can. Most of us don't want to, and don't.

6. We like democracy, or at least a republican form of government [See America: Republic or Democracy if you are not sure about the difference].

Aside from Mother and Apple Pie and The Flag, that is a reasonable list to start with for purposes of this essay.

Now lets see how Iran and Saudi Arabia stock up against our values. In this table I will give a 10 to Just like America, and a 1 to not at all like America.

issue Saudi Arabia
kings & dictators
aristocratic class
equality under the law
freedom generally
religious freedom
total points

Despite Iran being the clear winner here, the United States treats Saudi Arabia as a treasured ally and Iran as an enemy.

There are several explanations. One is ignorance: American's don't know much about either country, so they just buy the American foreign policy establishment line that Iran is a nation of terrorists and Saudi Arabia is a great friend of the United States.

There is a historical explanation. The nations got off on different paths in their relations with the United States. The Saudi family did not conquer Arabia until after World War I, and they were the Islamic State of that era. But they became very corrupt very quickly because of oil money. You can make friends with oil money, even if you run a religious dictatorship where women are not allowed to drive cars, alcohol is forbidden, and a bunch of royal family idiots own everything and boss everyone around.

Iran got off on a different path. The Shah of Iran was essentially a dictator, but he was a modernizing dictator. Women could drive cars, but political opponents were suppressed, if necessary by murder. The Shaw was a U.S. ally because he saw communist Russia as the main military threat. When the people of Iran revolted against the Shah and then elected a new government, you would have thought Americans would be happy. But some Iranians were anti-American because of our support of the Shaw, and surrounded the U.S. embassy. The Shaw had bribed a lot of influential Americans, so they hoped to restore him to power. The U.S. shot down a civilian airliner and claimed it was an accident, and also used the CIA to try to restore the dictatorship.

Hence, we are allied with Saudi Arabia and enemies with Iran. It is basically because the Saudi family and the Shaw's people were liberal with bribes.

We are also victims of our own propaganda machine. No American politician wants to explain the reality to the American people. It is easier just to pretend that black is white and white black.

The last time a situation like this got fixed was when Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon finally made friends with mainland China. That was back in 1972. It is hard to imagine an American President today taking the political risk that President Nixon took, but I believe the world would be a much better place if the United States would ally itself with Iran.

Because I actually have American values. Unlike the foreign policy establishment, the Pentagon, and the establishment media.


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