Tag: Woodrow Wilson

Iran vs The World

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

From its inception in 550 B.C., the Persian Empire reigned with fervor and might. The Persians carved out their territory that would expand across major parts of Eurasia, keeping the Greeks at bay, as well as other nations in pursuit of their own place in history. Ever since the first establishment of the Persian Nation-State, they have had to fight off other nations and were influenced by them. The biggest change first occurred in 637 A.D. when Persia fell into the hands of the nomadic Arabs at the Battle of Kadisiya which is close to the Euphrates River. Once the Arabs took hold of the Persian Empire, they brought with them Islam and Arabic, which forever changed the Persian language and religion casting out most Zoroastrian practices. Zoroastrianism was not only the main Persian religion of choice, but it is often considered the first monotheistic religion of the world. After a long period of delegation, finding peace under the new regime and identity of the Persian Empire, in 1722 Afghan rebels had a degree of conflict with the Persian Empire, and they pursued the capturing of Isfahan. This seizing of a major city led the way for Russia and Turkey to also plunder their way through Persia, and by 1724 the Russians and Turks split the spoils among their militaries and elite.

By the 1800s to mid-1900s, the British and Americans had tight economic and personal relations with Persia. Although the British and Americans were both there to better petroleum and crude business in their favor, it was only the Brits that were seen as adversaries while the Americans were generally seen in favor by the Persian people. This was surely well-established when many Americans who were living in Persia in the early 1900s fought along the Persians’ and their rights in the Persian Constitutional Revolution from 1905 to 1911.

As quoted in the book, All the Shah’s Men, one person wrote, “…The American contribution to the improvement and, it was felt, the dignity of our impoverished, strife-torn country had gone far beyond their small numbers…Without attempting to force their way of life on people or convert us to their religion, they had learned Persian and started schools, hospitals, and medical dispensaries all over…” They went on to say, “The dedication of these exemplary men and women was not the only reason many Iranians admired the United States. American officials had spoken out to defend Iran’s rights. The United States sharply criticized the 1919 Anglo-Persian Agreement through which Britain acquired colonial powers in Iran.”

“That same year at Versailles, President Woodrow Wilson was the only world leader who supported Iran’s unsuccessful claim for monetary compensation from Britain and Russia for the effects of their occupation during World War I. In the mid-1920s an American envoy in Tehran was able to report that ‘Persians of all classes still have unbounded confidence in America.'” Of course, needless to say, it was also the US President, Woodrow Wilson, who would, unfortunately, lead America out of a more non-interventionist leaning foreign policy, into a hawkish mentality of a pursuit of war and control in the world from WWI to his constant concern for control over the Middle East. To this day, his policies plague American politics creating countless numbers of problems for the US and the world in an onslaught of political blowback.

In 1935, with relations with and influence from Nazi Germany, Persia’s name was changed to ‘Iran.’ This was a cognate of the word ‘Aryan,’ as the Nazis were in pursuit of the origins of the actual Aryan nation of people, and Persia’s leader, Reza Shah, wanted to establish good relations with the growing German powers. Not only was this a means of changing the direction of the Persian nation, but it was also a way of aligning with the Nazis against the British and Russians who had plundered their land for well over a century. This allegiance to Nazi Germany would prove tragic for Iran in WWII, as in 1941, the Anglo-Soviet Allies invaded and ensured the Nazis could not keep reign over the region.

With growing tensions over the following ten years from the British setting up the Anglo-Persian Oil Company also in 1935, Persians’ boiling tempers over increased economic struggles, and the ongoing introduction and implementation of Socialism, after also being struck left and right by the British, Americans, Russians, Turks, Afghans, and others, Iran voted to nationalize the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The name was then changed to the National Iranian Oil Company. This, then, led to Mohammad Reza Shah officially signing the 1951 declaration that the State was the sole owner of the company, and put Mossadegh as Iran’s Prime Minister.

Mossadegh’s office prompted news outlets around the world to respond and criticize from various perspectives. The British press criticized Mossadegh for being like Robespierre, very Socialistic in a negative way, after Iran essentially stole the company rights. While the US, on the other hand, praised Mossadegh for being like Thomas Jefferson freeing Iran from the British as Jefferson helped to free America from the British. Although, the British interpretation of the events was probably more accurate than the Americans’, both the British and the US colluded together in 1953 to overthrow Mossadegh and return the Shah.

In 1953, the CIA and Britain’s M16 staged a coup in Iran to overthrow Mossadegh because it was clearly evident that he was attempting to allow the Soviets into Iran instead of the Western Allies. The US policy at the time, the Truman Doctrine, stated that the US would come to the aid and defense of any people threatened by Communism. Mossadegh’s introduction of disorder within Iran was eventually the downfall of the Shah and allowed Socialists and Communists to infiltrate Iran ever since.

Iran has been continuously influenced by the outside world in that it has lost most of its military capabilities coming from the 5th largest military power in the world and then losing most of it all by the early 1980s after the Iran-Iraq war. Iran now continues to seek to create nuclear weaponry in order to better negotiate their place in the world and to possibly end many of the sanctions put on them by the US. The US and Iran used to have very good relations and diplomacy prior to the end of the Shah’s reign.

Today, Iranian leaders continue to utilize Diversionary War Theory “which states that leaders who are threatened by domestic turmoil occasionally initiate an international conflict in order to shift the nation’s attention away from internal troubles.”  Many of the economic difficulties are not only due to the government seizing companies especially in the oil and natural gas industries, but also the sanctions brought on by the US. So, it is not as obvious that leaders in Iran are attempting to divert the attention of the economic struggles of Iran, rather there is some justification for their anger towards the US.

Iran’s justified anger with the US was initiated by the US’ infiltration and establishment of Mohammad Reza Shah and continued acts of aggression such as severe economic and travel sanctions, and completely encircling Iran with US military bases and battleships. Furthermore, since the US has now backed out of the Iranian Nuclear Deal that was being led by the Obama administration, Trump’s administration will most likely be reimplementing these heavy economic and travel sanctions, along with several others that are surely to assist in the near total destruction of Iran.

This, of course, is not to suggest that Iran is completely innocent. Iran has innumerable cases of human rights violations and a severally corrupt government which allows paying one’s way out of crimes and completely undermining the private sector as the Iranian government has the power to seize and control privately owned companies at near whim.

Overall, Iran has been shaped, influenced, benefited, and harmed by the international community from almost the beginning. The strife caused through interventionist policies of outside nations and States has also prompted internal domestic conflicts and turmoil for Iran. These instances of influence have led to destabilization and the pessimistic future for Iran. Although Iran has done everything they believed possible to leverage their negotiations by building nuclear weapons and attempting a Nuclear Deal with the US, unfortunately it has thus far failed. Iran’s past one hundred years has already been filled with chaos and confusion, surely the next one hundred will be the same as long as countries outside of Iran continue to intervene and act in hostility towards them; and if Iran continues to violate the rights of individuals within their borders, there is no hope for Iran as a country.


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World War 1 And The Danger Of The Ideology Of Democracy

By Mason Mohon | United States

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked what was quickly termed “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars.” World War 1 was an absolute bloodbath, causing about 17 million deaths, yet it doesn’t quite get that attention it deserves. World War 2 can easily be blamed on evil Nazis and an evil Japanese emperor, but World War 1 is a little harder to write off like that. What was the cause of this war, and how can we avoid it again?

The history is cloudy from the beginning. Historian Ralph Raico maintains that “there is no evidence whatsoever that Germany in 1914 deliberately unleashed a European war which it had been preparing for years.” Economist David Gordon says that “the catastrophe resulted from miscalculation and botched diplomacy.” It is a complicated conflict, and the true causes that plunged multiple continents down such a spiral must be rooted out.

Why was the U.S. involved, though? Historians and high school history classes will make it seem like it was very cut and dry: Germany said they would quit with the U-boats, and they didn’t quit with the U-boats, so the United States joined the conflict. This explanation seems sensible enough, but it has holes, and it has since the beginning. Senator Norris said in a speech on April 4, 1917, that the United States was being partial towards Britain in its actions:

The reason given by the President in asking Congress to declare war against Germany is that the German Government has declared certain war zones, within which, by the use of submarines, she sinks, without notice, American ships and destroys American lives. The first war zone was declared by Great Britain. She gave us and the world notice of it on the 4th day of November, 1914. Both of these orders declaring military zones were illegal and contrary to international law. It is sufficient to say that our Government has officially declared both of them to be illegal and has officially protested against both of them.

Britain and Germany were in violation of the same international laws. They had both done wrong, so why was the United States so upset with Germany and why did it find allegiance with Britain. As a matter of fact, most of Woodrow Wilson’s administration was partial towards the British from the very start, leaving no room for any blame to be put on the rainy little island.

Britain and Germany had both violated international laws, but Wilson turned a blind eye to their actions to act in favor of Britain and declare war on Germany in response to the Zimmerman telegram that was intercepted. The president declared war with the intention of making the world “safe for democracy,” an idea that at this point had become all too vague. This allows us to root out the real issue that brought such peril to the global table.

Mises explains the following on pages 819-820, and 827 of Human Action:

Aggressive nationalism is the necessary derivative of the policies of interventionism and national planning. While laissez-faire eliminates the causes of international conflict, government interference with business and socialism create conflicts for which no peaceful solution can be found. While under free trade and freedom of migration no individual is concerned about the territorial size of his country, under the protective measures of economic nationalism nearly every citizen has a substantial interest in these territorial issues…. Economic nationalism, the necessary complement of domestic interventionism, hurts the interests of foreign peoples and thus creates international conflict. It suggests the idea of amending this unsatisfactory state of affairs by war. Why should a powerful nation tolerate the challenge of a less powerful nation? Is it not insolence on the part of small Lapputania to injure the citizens of big Ruritania by customs, migration barriers, foreign exchange control, quantitative trade restrictions, and expropriation of Ruritanian investments in Lapputania? Would it not be easy for the army of Ruritania to crush Lapputania’s contemptible forces?

Economic nationalism is the cause of such great and powerful wars, and economic nationalism goes hand-in-hand with general nationalism. Much like how Trump’s “America First” policies come along with protectionism and military growth, the rise of American tariffs under president Taft and the idea of “Dollar Diplomacy” allowed for the growth of the “America is the greatest” attitude. This attitude was not unique to the U.S. either because much of Europe had adopted both economic and noneconomic nationalism, causing a race to high military power. Limiting free trade and becoming obsessed with the idea that the ideals of your nation are the best is sure to lead to war.

Germans were told their entire way of life was under attack, so absurd numbers of Germans threw themselves towards the war effort, creating a massive German army to reckon with. The destruction of so many untrained soldiers and fighters resulted in a mythos the Nazis could later propagate for support.

Ludwig von Mises went on to say that “To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war.” The ideology backing war is what causes it. Let us remember what Wilson’s rationale for involvement was: making the world “safe for democracy.”  That right there is the problem.

David Gordon said in response to this Wilsonian idea of Democracy promotion that “`democracy’ was already beginning to mean what it means today-of a government legitimized by formal majoritarian processes to dispose at will of the lives, liberty, and property of its subjects.” We still fight wars in defense of what we call Democracy. We bomb innocent civilians in the middle east, wiretap American citizens, and restrict movement across the globe, all under the guise of Democracy protection.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe was no kinder in his socioeconomic analysis of the system of governing. In my summary and explanation of Hoppe’s book earlier this year, I explained the following:

Public [democratic] governments at war engage in total war. Because the distinction between the rulers and the ruled is nonexistent, there is no ruler to target, so the entire civil population is suddenly involved in the conflict. This also means the would-be ruled get especially involved, leading to nationalism, or “the emotional identification of the public with large anonymous groups of people” based on language, culture, race, or just country, according to Hoppe. These wars now mold into national wars. The war is against two different ways of life, which means that the only way to win is “cultural, linguistic, or religious domination and subjugation (or extermination).” The distinction between combatants and noncombatants becomes null and the brutality of war increases to a horrific degree. “The new era of democratic republican warfare… is the era of total war.” Think of the American Civil War, where the Northern Union was intent on the complete decimation of the Southern lifestyle, causing entire towns to be burnt to the ground and a profound number of American-born troops to be lost.

A total war of nation against nation results in profound destruction and loss of life. Mises explained that we must take the roots out if we want to eliminate the fruits. The root of war is nationalism, and the root of nationalism in the modern age is Democracy. Eliminating such a bizarre socioeconomic system that promotes such horrid acts is the aim of many radical libertarians, and an elimination of this flawed and corrupt neoliberal American system must be our primary aim.