The Painful Problem with Empire

Posted: August 13, 2009 by administrator in Uncategorized

The Iranian election and its aftermath has sent the world into a whirlwind of debate, empathy, and as is customary in a crisis of this nature… raving lunacy.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadenejad apparently won the vote over reform candidate Hossein Mousavi. Opposition supporters cried foul, saying the election was rigged (which wouldn’t be at all surprising considering the nature of all governments) and took to protests in the streets. After days of protests, Ayatollah Khamenei came out in support of Ahmadenejad and condemned the protests. Soon violence emerged, protesters were beat down by the police… but their resilience to tyranny persisted.

Now, to get one thing out of the way… Mr. Mousavi is far from a “Liberty-minded” individual. His candidacy was more of an Obama-esque run against someone considered “status-quo”. The two really don’t differ on policy all that much (Wow, we really do have a lot in common). Imagine if Obama had lost this last election, and the upset that would have wrought.

In fact, both Mousavi and Khamenei fought together in the 1979 revolution. Both are skeptical of American government and its policies. Both favor nuclear independence, and full Iranian sovereignty. And both hold to the basic principles of the Islamic Republic and its form of governance.

However, the people of Iran are genuinely hungering for more freedom and “westernization”. They want Capitalism, they want Personal Liberty and they want Human Rights, Smaller Government, and less militarization. And so, regardless of Mousavi’s record, the people of Iran are involved in a struggle against the rigid oligarchies theocracy that has cut off ties to the West, advanced a militaristic foreign policy, oppressed the people (especially women), and used propaganda to further it’s corrupt domestic programs.

I can say, personally, as an American and a Libertarian, that their cause is just and that the government of Iran is a violent, evil, and corrupt institution that needs reform (or, for better results, radical abolition) in the way of liberalization of economic and social life, less warmongering, and a smaller more responsible (and more democratic) form of governance.

Now… to how we made this about us.

The United States of America is the most powerful nation on the planet. After the end of the cold-war, it is accepted as the norm that we desire complete control over all global affairs. If there is evil, we go and defeat it. If there is hunger, we send food to stop it. If there is poverty, we spend money to combat it. If there is oil, we will gladly cause all the former to attain it.

Thus, there is a problem giving the Government power over anything. Of course the Neo-Conservatives, a particularly vexing brand of hybrid-Conservative (think how the Elves were tortured and mutilated by Morgoth to become Orcs in Tolkien’s Silmarrillion), tend to hate government intervention domestically, but gives the institution free-range on foreign affairs of other nations. They argue it’s for our national defense, and that it prevents attacks on this country… the thousands of people who died on 9/11 would beg to differ.

Of course, as always happens when you give Government more power, they will abuse it. Instead of fighting to spread “freedom and democracy”, they will fight to fill their pockets and increase their authority. This of course will breed hatred for America around the world (despite it being the Governments fault) and will inevitably cause blowback (most likely in the form of terrorism as no other military can touch us).
Not only is this a problem for our national security, and I would imagine the national security of other nations and peoples, but it also increases the tyranny here at home. As our national security becomes more under threat, the Government (once again acting as it always does) will expand its role in domestic “defense” by passing anti-constitutional and anti-liberty measures like the horribly mis-named USAPATRIOT Act.

Now let’s talk about the U.S. and Iran… and the Middle-east on the whole. In the 1940’s it was discovered that we needed lots of oil to fight yet another war, and the one place on Earth with the most oil was, I bet you can guess… the Middle-East. And so, the “wonderful” Franklin D. Roosevelt had an oil well placed right on Muslim holy land in the nation of Saudi Arabia.  This was the start, as Humphrey Bogart would say, of a “Beeeautiful Friendship!”

A Zionist State and two CIA inspired revolutions later… we come to the Islamic Republic. Of course until 1979, it wasn’t called the Islamic Republic. In fact, Iran was once a highly westernized, budding democracy. Of course when their leader didn’t want to share some of the oil, we paid and supported a revolution that brought about the Shah. Later, in 1979, when the people of Iran didn’t like the dictator we picked for them, they overthrew the Shah and installed the Ayatollah. Talk about spreading freedom and democracy.

Of course this type of meddling (most of which isn’t even good-intentioned) causes more harm than good (to us and to them). And it’s not exclusive to Iran. We have meddled in Iraq (we once supported Saddam Hussein and gave him Weapons of Mass Destruction which he used against the Kurds), and in Afghanistan (Yep, even Uncle Osama was on our payroll against the Soviet Empire). Not to mention the countries outside the Middle-East.

Our meddling has only cost us in the long run (expensive wars that only further the problem, and attacks like 9/11) and cost the lives of so many of our men and women… not to mention the civilians of the countries we attacked, invaded, and occupied.

In fact, to compare the U.S. Empire to the Soviet Empire in its latter days is not all too extreme. We are on the verge of bankruptcy, and yet we continue to fund expensive campaigns in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. We are printing out money daily, devaluing our currency. We are bailing out failed institutions left and right, and the corruption is becoming all the more apparent.

Yet we never think of our Government as an evil force in the world… only others can garner that sort of connotation. We never try to understand what we would be thinking, saying, and doing if the same we do to others was done to us. We are like Rome, or Britain, as the Empire which expands it’s size and authority, takes what it wants, plunders, kills, and rules with an iron fist. We never like to look in the mirror, and our hypocrisy is painfully obvious.

We fight for “democracy”, yet our two-party duopoly continues its despotic control. We push for “freedom”, yet our country has more laws than any other on the planet, our Government is larger, more expansive, and more powerful than any other on Earth. The tyranny in this country makes our attempt to “liberate” others all the more hypocritical. Of course “liberating” is not our government’s goal. Not in our country, not in other’s countries.

No Government is the ally of Liberty.

And yet for all of our history, and our tarnished record with Iran, we still have the audacity and the arrogance to want to put our nose in the middle of it. Luckily, and it may be too soon to say this, Barack Obama (for all of his shortcomings) has actually done the right thing so far. He has recognized that Iran is a sovereign nation, and that it must deal with it’s own internal affairs. It is up to the people of that country to work out its own problems, and to find its own solutions. To decide for itself and not be held captive or indebted to the American Empire that has dominated the region, meddled on the behalf of tyrants, and made wars for the good of corporations and special interests.

Even the reform camp in Iran is skeptical of America, and rightfully so. They know the people are good, and the ideals of freedom and capitalism are wonderful discoveries indeed… but they wisely distrust the Government. They realize that our government is no less corrupt than theirs and that our tyranny (both foreign and domestic) will not help their cause but impair it.

Of course the Neo-Cons, still stuck in their own little world where America only does good things and every country loves us for being so generous and peaceful, are advocating intervention. They attack Obama for not doing enough (isn’t it just a little bit ironic that “small government” advocates are asking a statist to do more with his power and the taxpayers money). Even Bill Bennet was saying, on national news, that the Government should be sending duplicators to help the Iranian people. (I know, I know… he’s an idiot)

The fact of the matter is that if we “helped” the Iranian people, we would stop the revolution dead in its tracks. This needs to be a movement of the people, not the American Empire. Our actions in the past, and the recent past for that matter, should be an indication that we’ve done plenty to “help” Iran and the Middle-East. It’s time for us to butt out and mind our own business for once.

We don’t own the world.

What we should be doing is beginning to open up relations with Iran, not put on more sanctions. This would be a sign of good-will towards the Iranian people, that we await a new and freer Iran with open arms. We should re-evaluate our strategy now. We should be expanding diplomacy, trade, and friendship to all nations. We should support freedom everywhere, through peaceful relations and most importantly… example. If we actually looked to our own affairs instead of putting our nose into other’s problems, we might be able to lead by example.

This would make us, not hypocrites and Imperialists/Mercantilists out for our own interests at the expense of everyone else, but a nation to be looked up to. It would make us a country to respect and admire for its freedom and prosperity (and its probable generosity to the rest of the world… through private and voluntary means of course). An America made great by its people and its principles, not it’s military might and it’s government.

We should follow Washington’s advice, and the strict rules of the Constitution. To not entangle ourselves in the affairs of other nations, to trade and be friendly to all. That is the best way to fight for freedom in the world… through peace (and by actually standing for freedom ourselves). We would then truly be the light of liberty to the world.

I stand in support of freedom in Iran, as I do all around the world. Perhaps the time has come for Iran to finally taste, if not true liberty, at least a little more space for freedom and a government that is a little more chained down from tyrannical actions. And I also stand in support of freedom here, where the people have become complacent and ignorant.

If the people of this country had half the dedication and will-power of the Iranian people… Ron Paul might be president, our troops would be home, the Fed would be powerless, our liberties would be restored, and our Government might actually follow the Constitution.

As for Bill Bennet… there’s no cure for stupid.

– Justin T. Buell; June 25, 2009

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