In her Sunday column in The Sun News, Mande Wilkes’ attempt to equate the 1953 overthrow of the democratically-elected Iranian government of Mohammad Mosaddeq by agents of the American and British governments with the current effort by the United States and its allies to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is way off base.
The 1953 overthrow of the Mosaddeq government by the American CIA and the British was an inappropriate intrusion into the internal affairs of a democratic, sovereign nation. However, the current Iranian government is an undemocratic, oppressive regime whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened to annihilate the state of Israel, a sovereign member of the United Nations. The American effort to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is not based mainly on a desire to protect Israel. Israel has the capability to protect itself. Nor is the United States trying to meddle in Iran’s internal affairs. If anything, the Obama administration has been criticized by its opponents for not doing enough to assist Iranians who have protested against their government’s oppressive policies.
Iran is a nation which is the world’s leading supporter of international terrorism. It is a rogue state. Its neighboring Islamic nations are very fearful of a nuclear-armed Iran. A nuclear-armed Iran would encourage other nations to develop nuclear weapons to protect themselves against an expansionist, reckless, irresponsible Iran. The effects would be disastrous.
For the United States to “butt out America. Mind your own beeswax,” as Mande Wilkes states, would be a reversion to a pre-World War II isolationist policy which has been rejected by both major political parties. It would be an abdication by the United States of its responsibilities as the world’s leading democratic nation. The world is too small. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can’t protect us from what happens elsewhere. We can’t just mind our “own beeswax.” We have to be involved.
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The writer is rabbi of Temple Shalom in Conway.