1. "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." -- Mark Twain 2. One would think that the most brilliant of Presidents, Barack Hussein Obama, would have studied the result of turning Middle East governments over religious ideologues.... ...a study of the result of same by Jimmy Carter is instructive. The United States pushed for liberalizing reforms in Iran...and the world was gifted with a murderous Islamofascist regime..... 3. Dr. Abbas Milani is he Director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University. His recent book is The Shah, is based on ten years studying the archives of the United States and of Britain. Compare the lessons from the Shah to the 'Arab Spring'... a. The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran has been compared in importance to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. The central problems of world affairs today spring from the Iranian Revolution much as those of the 20th century sprang from the Russian Revolution. Book review: The Shah - WSJ.com 4. During the 1953 through 1969, Eisenhower and Kennedy and Johnson pressured the Shah to engage in various reforms based on their fear of a popular uprising, as predicted by the CIA as just around the corner! In mid-1958, Tomorrow will be a revolution! Of course, the CIA at that time was factually correct, but chronologically premature by some twenty years! In comparison, in 1978, the CIA was dismally incorrect: the Shah is here to stay! There will be no fundamental change no group is powerful enough. 5. Due to the American pressure, the Shah launched a series of reforms, known as the White Revolution, in 1963. This included many American ideas for modernization, such as a) land reform, b) modernization of infrastructure including railroads, c) education, d) enfranchising women, e) urbanization, f) encouragement of a class of technocrats and competent bureaucrats, etc. tried (unsuccessfully) to enable Irans religious minoritiesprincipally Bahais, Jews, and Christiansto take the oath of office on a holy book of their own choosing. 6. The conservative clergy viewed the White Revolution as an affront to Islam and a dangerous move toward Western modernity: Ayatollah Khomeini immediately denounced the proposed reforms, led the clerical opposition Strangely, the success of the White Revolution lead to new social tensions that helped create many of the problems the Shah had been trying to avoid. It produced a middle class, economically privileged, that formed the insurgents who demanded political reform later just what the Shah had hoped to avoid. 7. While the Shah enforced his autocratic regulations, the only one organization had the freedom to form clubs and groups and networks, was the clergy! Their clubs formed in mosques, in the schools where they taught the Koran, they trained in summer camps for the pious. And what did the clergy preach? Revolution among the urban poor. 8. Ayatollah Khomeini immediately denounced the proposed reforms, led the clerical opposition, and spent eight months under house arrest for his speeches against the Shah, and the reforms. His arrest, in 1963, provoked powerful urban protest, the so-called uprising of 15 Khordad 1342, which led to a large number of deathsthousands according to the opposition, 400 according to more reliable sources. Boston Review — milani.php 9. Khomeini and his allies in Iran actually reached out to the Americans, to whom he promised a) to hold the country together, calming the unrest, b) to keep the communists out, and c) to keep the oil flowing. Thats all Carter had to hear! Carter then intercedes with the Iranian military on behalf of Khomeini and in opposition to Bakhtiar, and that the US would not support any coup in favor of the Shah. In 1991, Bakhtiar was assassinated. 10. Carter believed that Khomeini would support democracy, contrary to all that he had written while in exile. In over 110 interviews he gave in Paris in the three months prior to re-entering Iran, he never mentioned the rule of the juriscouncil, the clerical guardianship, i.e., the regime in control currently. He promised that he would retire to a life of study, and leave all powers to the people. So...is Obama foolish? ... ineducable? ...an ideologue? ....incompetent, a la Carter....and naive? There are far too many similarities between the actions, or inactions, of Carter and Obama not to expect the same results.