My, My! How much we do forget!
Obama tried to connect with our old foes Cuba and Iran to smooth out the decades old conflicts and make the world a more friendly place. However, now Mr. President Grinch has decided to throw them back to the corner of the ring and start boxing with them again. Sigh! Some dictators always need a punching bag enemy to entertain their publics.
We say that Cuba is our enemy because they are communist and that the Russians tried to put missiles there against us. All true, but what made them become communist? Don’t know? It’s because that is one of the many things those history books in high school that we hated so much didn’t tell us about. It is an embarrassing part of our legacy- we supported a dictator. His name was Batista. Although at first a genuine hero of Cuba and a Socialist (!), he later de-evolved into the worst of the Franco clones of that time, torturing perceived enemies and repressing Constitutional rights, including ones he himself introduced in 1940. He let American interests seize control of most of Cuba’s major businesses ( the golden phone in the Godfather 2 movie was a real thing!) in return for kickbacks and let the American mafia turn the island into a literal brothel.
Also, why did Russia put missiles in Cuba in the first place? Because we put our own inside Turkey right next to Russia.
Here is what John F. Kennedy had to say about Cuba:
I believe that there is no country in the world including any and all the countries under colonial domination, where economic colonization, humiliation and exploitation were worse than in Cuba, in part owing to my country’s policies during the Batista regime. I approved the proclamation which Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will even go further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we shall have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.
— U.S. President John F. Kennedy, to Jean Daniel, October 24, 1963 (Quote courtesy of Wikipedia)
This absolute corruption of our neighbor lead to the revolt by Castro who had no choice but to accept backing from the Soviet Union and thereby become communist. In other words- we made Cuba what it is today both by interfering with them shamelessly before Castro and then by boycotting them during his regime. Now Mr. So- Called President Trump wants to continue the repression and cannot see the mote in our eye.
Ditto this with Iran. In 1951 the Iranians elected a new Prime Minister, Mosaddegh, that the U.S. and Great Britain were not in favor of because he wanted his country to be more independent and they plotted against him, dethroned him and set their own preferred candidate in the position of power- Mohammad Pahlavi, who had formerly ruled Iran and been driven out. He did modernize the Persian nation, but also ran one of the most ruthless secret police there were at the time- the Savak. He was again overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini and his hordes of young extremist Muslims. Angered over decades long U.S. meddling in Iranian domestic and financial affairs, they famously took over the U.S. Consulate in Tehran, taking 52 employees there hostage. Painstakingly piecing together huge trash bins of internal documents that the embassy employees tried to quickly shred, the Iranians published proof of Americas tampering in their country.
And we wonder why they don’t trust us.
Then there is the biggest bug-a-boo in our modern history- the Cold War. Essentially an underground power game between Communist forces and those of Capitalism; or, as one could say, between the greedy and the controlling. The Capitalists were greedy and the Communists were controlling. Pick your poison.
The joke of the whole matter is that if Capitalism hadn’t developed so strongly, so oppressively and so controllingly then Socialism and Communism would never have existed. They evolved from under the boot heels of the ruthless capitalists. The lower classes of the industrialized world were so trampled under and kept so poor and illiterate that it took a couple German thinkers hiding out in England to put it all to paper. The resulting philosophy literally caught fire and became like a new religion. And for all intents it was.
A more recent bit of forgotten history involves the much loved and much reviled Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare as it has become known by) which was supposed to help save Americans from going into debt paying off hospital and doctor bills. The Republicans claim it has raised the cost of health insurance and it has. But forgotten in the debate is that one essential tenet of the original bill- the single user clause- which was beaten to death by the right because the health care industry knew it would hurt their profits. So they thought it was better to hurt the insured with higher than need be rates rather than lose any of their smarmily gained money. Had the single payer option been included in the bill, Obamacare might have been an entirely different creature. But it was stillborn upon birth.
All of these things are long forgotten, some of it intentionally. Our history books are very sanitized and our memories short. We see only what is in front of us. A new Cuba and a new Iran were finally rising out of the dust of foreign intrigue and wished to rejoin the rest of the world. Obama did right by extending peace to them. It is time we all got over our grievances. Unfortunately a thick headed individual decided to throw a monkey wrench in the proceedings and drag us all back to the 1950’s to make himself look good to his constituents. Now the world is settling back into old black and white ways of viewing the world. We have become a victim of our own political habits and attitudes.
There is one thing to remember from all this- We started the fire. We shouldn’t complain about getting burned by it.