Conservatives Still Pushing for U.S. Meddling in Iran

Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes inexplicably argued that Iranians don't remember the 1953 U.S. overthrow of their democratically elected leader.

IT'S NOT JUST 1953.... Reader J.C. alerted me to this exchange on Fox News the other day, with the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes insisting that President Obama's rationale for not intervening in Iranian affairs is outdated.

BARNES: [T]he most pathetic thing is to say, 'Gee, well, we were involved in 1953.' 1953! This is an extremely young society. You think those demonstrators are thinking, 'Well, we hope the U.S. stays out because they were involved in 1953'? That's total nonsense.

KIRSTEN POWERS: I think there is a history there.

BARNES: 1953?

POWERS: They do remember the United States meddling.

BARNES: No, they don't.

This is absurd for a variety of reasons. Right off the bat, no one in the administration is pointing to 1953 as a rationale for the White House's current strategy relating to Iran. Barnes is convinced it's the principal basis for the United States steering clear of the ongoing developments in Iran, but that's "total nonsense."

What's more, Barnes assumes that contemporary Iranians couldn't care less that the United States helped overthrow Iran's democratically elected leadership 56 years ago. That's a debatable point, but it's worth noting that this is the kind of development that sticks with a populace. In fact, Chris Good had a very helpful item the other day, noting that Mossadeq, Barnes' assurances notwithstanding, remains very relevant to Iran's population today, with the former leader remaining a symbol for democracy.


Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
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