By Mohammad Mazhari

It is unlikely that U.S. policies produce democracy: Marvin Zonis

October 25, 2020 - 23:1

TEHRAN – Marvin Zonis, a professor emeritus of business administration, says it is unlikely that U.S. policies lead to democracy in any country, citing Iran before the 1979 revolution in Iran and Afghanistan and Iraq in 2011 and 2003 respectively.

"It is unlikely that any policies that the U.S. could have pursued would have produced any democratic outcome in either country," Zonis says in an interview with the Tehran Times. 

The professor describes the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that the Saddam regime was hiding weapons of mass destruction was “disastrous”. 

Most observers believe that U.S. policies in West Asia have ended in failure, and it is time for the United States to withdraw its forces from the region.

U.S. policy approaches, especially "constructive chaos" proposed by former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, brought nothing but misery and endless wars for people in the West Asia region.

Before invading Iraq in March 2003, President George W. Bush ordered war on Afghanistan on the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

"The stupid policies of the George W. Bush administration in both Afghanistan and Iraq were a disaster," Zonis added. 

After it was found out that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. claimed the invasion was worth to bring democracy to Iraq.

American academic emphasizes that "it is unlikely that any policies that the U.S. could have pursued would have produced any democratic outcome in either country."

U.S. rapprochement with the Shah regime in Iran help institutionalize corruption in the country.

However, the relationship between Iran and the U.S. has been deeply troubled since the victory of the 1979 revolution.

"The U.S. was humiliated by the overthrow of the shah, by the seizure of the U.S. embassy, by the holding prisoners of 52 American citizens for 444 days, and by the constant chants of 'marg bar Amrika' (down with the USA)," Zonis notes.

"Iran was also insulted by the constant U.S. support, over decades, for the shah, by his return to the U.S., by the shooting down of Iran Air 655," the academic argues.

Those humiliations and insulting policies produced rage in each country, which have been on the basis of the troubling relationship between Tehran and Washington.

While the ousted Shah of Iran tried to strengthen ties with powerful states like the U.S. and other international superpowers, he came to "see the Iranian people as the greatest obstacle to the realization of his dreams."

 "As a result, the ties between the monarchy and the Iranian people collapsed, paving the way for the revolution," Zonis concludes.
Before the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Americans manipulated the regime in Iran and saw it as a bulwark against the Soviet Union when the Cold War was at its height.

However, historians say that the U.S. didn't try to interact with the new government in Iran, which was established based on a referendum, standing on the side of despots in West Asia. 

Zonis claims that the American administration reached out to the first post-revolutionary government, making it clear that the U.S. supported the new political system.

"The seizure of the U.S. embassy and the captivity of U.S. diplomats led to the collapse of ties," he argues.

Nevertheless, the American administration failed to gain the trust of the Iranian people who were angry and fully aware of U.S. record in their country, especially organizing a coup that toppled the Mosaddeq government in 1953.

Regardless of being Democrat or Republican, today Iranian people are distrustful of American administrations and politicians and believe that it will not differ who will be at the White House.  

In this regard, the American professor predicts that a Biden administration will adopt a different tone and different policies towards Iran. "It can be hoped that this different policy will lead to new emotions between the two countries and the establishment of a mutually respectful relationship."

However, the polls show that most Iranian never forget the sanctions imposed by Democrats as well as endless wars waged by Republicans, which suggest that the confrontation between two countries is going to drag on.

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