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January 13, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-01-13

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Ppge 4-Saturday, January 13, 1979-The Michigan Daily

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420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Eighty-Nine Years of Editorial Freedom

Old blunders or a new course?

Vol. IXXXIX, No. 86

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

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Hegemony and conflict
GEMONY SEEMS to be a popu- This was the government recently
lar word these days. It simply overthrown with Vietnamese
leadership, preponderant assistance. However, at its formation,
ce or authority. But the word the Khmer Rouge government, as an
7veloped a dirty connotation. indigenous Communist movement,
which used the word to describe received overt pledges of friendship
States imperialism, now uses from Vietnamese leaders.
ony with slighting references to Led by Prime Minister Pol Pot, the
viet Union. The Soviet Union Khmer Rouge appeared determined to
s refers derogatorily to keep Cambodia - Kampuchea as his
:an hegemony. And the United government called the country - free
in the '60s, was extremely from foreign control. Mr. Pot Pol
: about Chinese hegemony in brought Prince Sihanouk back to
the domino theory. Cambodia, and used his name to
China and the United States legitimize the new government's
to show little concern each policies.
hegemony, especially since But Mr. Pol Pot's rule was iron-
re in a position to benefit from fisted; his government instituted
tent of the others' sphere of controversial policies to de-
ce. Both nations, however, have evolutionize Cambodian society.
their criticism toward the Among them, was the depopulation of
Union. The United States Cambodia's cities, chiefly Phnom
ently admonishes the Soviet Penh. Other policies included
for its imperialist activities in cancelling the nation's mail services,
China attacks its former ally dismantling institutions of higher
imperialistic activities in Asia, education, and enforcing government
illy Vietnam. supervision of marriages.
)ite the justifications and
ies, each of these nations has A Washington Post reporter, one of
uilty of trying to maintain or two American journalists invited into
se its hegemony by using small the country in a last-ditch effort for
ies as pawns in a deadly western support, reported that
itical game. On one point we can bustling residential areas and markets
certain: although every world are now ghost towns. Persistent
suffers from these chauvinistic requests to interview former residents
verings, it is the peoples of of the city were refused, the reporter
powers who bear the greatest said.
Some estimates indicate that more
most recent example of than one million Cambodians from the
itical maneuvering can be found middle and upper classes were
ttheast Asia. The Vietnamese slaughtered after Mr. Pot Pol's regime
under the banner of a came to power. Others may have
uchean National United Front starved during the gruelling marches
tional Salvation," has invaded out of the cities.
dia and captured the capital Though little reason exists for
Penh. But a rose is a rose is a applauding the Pol Pot regime, at least
the Vietnamese government, it was Cambodian. How, after their
he implicit backing of their experience with the French and
ally, the Soviet Union, deposed Americans, can Vietnamese leaders
nbodian government. justify direct intervention in the affairs
is not the might of right which of another nation? Did the Vietnamese
d the Vietnamese victory. The want to rid themselves of foreign
mese victory was not the result domination only to dominate their
pulace supported guerrilla war. neighbor states?
etnamese army, equipped with Every sane individual was repulsed
apons and support materials left by the Cambodian tragedy incurred by
United States and also supplied the Pol Pot regime. Every civilized
Soviet Union, had little difficulty individual should be repulsed by the
plishing its goal. manner in which that repressive
regime fell. Whatever excuse
E LATEST government of Vietnamese leaders use, they cannot
ambodia is the fourth to rule the justify the invasion of Cambodia.
ation since 1970. The first Every moment the Vietnamese army
Iment of the decade, the remains on Cambodian soil, it
alist government of Prince complicates an insidious, immoral
>m Sihanouk, was toppled by the crime.
can-supported Lon Nol regime But to merely urge the United States
rch 1970. Only months after - which claims to have some influence
uk's demise, the United States among Vietnamese officials who
bombing raids on Cambodia in desire trade agreements - and other
ampt to massacre thousands of empathetic nations to pressure
ng guerrillas who found refuge Vietnam out of Cambodia is
side the border. insufficient. The Vietnam-Cambodia
years later, shortly after the conflict is merely a symptom of a
ication of Vietnam, another problem which pervades international
iment, this one with Chinese relations and for which the United
t, came to power in Cambodia. States shares responsibility.

By Ervand Abrahamian
While much of the world watched the
United States blunder into the tragedy of
Vietnam, only a few foreign policy experts
were aware that the U.S. was quietly but
persistently making parallel mistakes in
Iran.
In 1953, when the popular government of
Dr. Mossadeq sought American support
against Britain to obtain a more equitable oil
agreement, Allen Dulles of the CIA
destabilized and eventually overthrew
Mossadeq on the grounds that those who are
not 100 per cent pro-Western must be 100 per
cent pro-Soviet. After the coup, the
Eisenhower administration extended
economic aid to bolster the shah's military
regime; purged from Washington analysts
who had sympathized withgMossadeq;
dispatched to Tehran FBI agents to help
create SAVAK-the dreaded secret police;
and encouraged the shah to outlaw all
opposition parties, including those that had
openly supported the U.S. Not surprisingly,
popular discontent began to take shelter
within the sanctuary of the religious
establishment.
In the early 1970s, when the oil boom
quadrupled Iran's income, Nixon and
Kissinger appointed the shah to be their
deputy sheriff in the Persian Gulf;
encouraged him to build the fifth-largest
military establishment in the world;
increased their praises when he inaugurated
a one-party totalitarian dictatorship; and
dismissed as "alarmists" those experts who
warned that the regime was unpopular and
unstable.
The height of absurdity was reached in 1977,
when on the eve of the present crisis, when the
CIA informed the White House that the
"shah, who firmly holds the reins of power,
will preside over a peaceful and prosperous
Iran for the next ten or fifteen years."
But if the present crisis had exposed the
extent of past mistakes and shattered myths
about the regime's stability, it has also forced
President Carter, his national security
adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Secretary
of State Cyrus Vance to reconsider this
country's special relations with the Shah. In
reconsidering policy, their advisers have
divided into two conflicting groups which, for
convenience sake, can be labelled as the
"hard-liners" and the "moderates."
The hard-liners, headed by William
Sullivan, the ambassador in Tehran, and
supported by Henry Kissinger, insist that the
U.S. must continue to give full support to the
shah. They claim that the shah is a
dependable ally, that his army is the only
viable organization in the country, that the
regime is the last bulwark against Soviet
expansion into the Persian Gulf, that
desertion by the U.S. would undermine other
allies, and that the opposition is led by
fanatical Muslims, foreign infiltrators, and
revolutionary subversives.
Although the hard-liners temper their
arguments with the claim that they will
encourage liberalization once law-and order
has been reestablished, their policy bodes ill
for Iran. In the short run, it offers the shah a
blank check to repress the opposition. In the
long run, it encourages the generals, most of
whom have been trained in the U.S., to carry
out their own brand of repression-especially
if they decide, sooner or later, that the shah is
a liability rather than an asset both for
America and the armed forces. In short, the
hard-line policy threatens to Chileanize Iran.
Meanwhile, the moderates-headed by
George Ball, the former undersecretary of

state and now the President's temporary
consultant on the Persian Gulf-argue that
the shah is already a major liability for the
United states; that the U.S. can help reform
the dictatorship into a parliamentary
democracy-as the West European states did
recently in Spain, Greece and Portugal; and
that the administration must energetically
reestablish ties with the
opposition-especially with the National.
Front led by Mossadeq's surviving
colleagues. In other words, the moderates
want a political solution rather than a
royalist-military solution, and seek a solution
in the National Front rather than in the
palace or in the armed forces.
The debate between hard-liners and
moderates, therefore, boils down to the
question: What is the National Front? Is it, as
the hard-liners claim, ineffective politically,
weak organizationally, and suspect
ideologically? Or is it, as the moderates
counter, the only force capable of
reestablishing peace, inaugurating a
parliamentary democracy, and at the same
time safeguarding America's vital interests
in Iran-notably the oil supplies?
Formed in 1949, the National Front is a
broad coalition of moderate liberal, secular
reformist and social democratic parties
whose aims have remained consistent over
the years. In foreign affairs, they want to
pursue a more even-handed policy towards
the super powers. In the early 1950s, they
nationalized the British-owned oil company.
Now they hope to diminish the U.S. military
presence, but have no intention of either
allying with the Russians or cutting off oil
supplies to the West. In internal affairs, they
want to implement the constitutional laws of
1905-11: to hold free elections, bring the
military budget under civilian supervision,
and end the monarch's personal, and thus
unconstitutional, control over the armed
forces. .
Almost all the leading figures associated
with the National Front-especially Dr.
Sanjabi, Mehdi Bazargan, Alayhar Saleh,
Dariush Foruhar, and Sayyid Havadi - are
Western-educated professionals who respect
the national and religious traditions of Iran
but are neither xenophobic nor fanatical.
Despite 25 years of repressions, the
National Front remains the main opposition
organization. In recent months it has
mobilized peaceful demonstrations of over
two million in Tehran and over five million in
the provincial cities. It enjoys the mystique of
its founder, Mossadeq, and its co-founder, Dr.

Fatemi, who was martyred by the shah in
1955. It is supported not only by many
experienced politicians but also by numerous
young, well-trained economists, technocrats
and professonials. Moreover, it has received
assistance from the many independent grass
root organizations that have appeared in the
last 12 months -including the. Oil Workers'
Strike Committee, the Writers' Association;
the Jurists' Association, the Teachers' Union
and the Government Employes' Syndicate as
well as the many bazaar guilds. No
government will be able to persuade workers
to return to work unless it has the support of
these independent organizations.
Although the National Front is a realistic:
and a pragmatic organization, it.refuses to
compromise with the shah, for it has learned
from bitter experience that he cannot be.
trusted, especially if he retains personal
control of the military.
Moreover, few opposition politicians dare to
cross the wide gulf of blood that now divides
the country from the shah.
Since the bloody massacre of September,
the National Front has demanded a national
referendum to decide the fate of the
monarchy. With the present mood of the
country, there is no doubt of the outcome. The
Front, however, may settle for a regency
council if the shah agrees to abdicate and
leave the country. The function of such a
council would be to create a genuine
constitutional monarchy, and, even more
importantly, to reassure the officer corps that
the new government will not dismantle the
army.
The inability of the National Front ,to
compromise with the shah is now forcing
Washington to choose between, on one side,
the shah and his army, and, on the other side,
the Front and the country. If the hard-liners
prevail, the President will soon discover to his
own cost that the opposition in Iran is too
widespread, too deep-seated, and too
organized to be repressed. The U.S. will find
in its hands not another Chile, but another
Vietnam.
Ervand Abrahamian is associate
professor of history at Baruch College of
the City University of New York. He
writes frequently on Mideast affairs for
Middle East Research and Information
Project (MERIP) reports and other
publications.

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Editorials which appear without a by-line represent a con-
sensus opinion of the Daily's editorial board. All other editorials,
as well as cartoons, are the opinions of the individuals who sub-,
mit them.

An open letter to University students

l e + lltcl igttn ttil
SPORTSSTAFF

There has been a great deal of
controversy and'
misunderstanding concerning the
question of the role taken by
LS&A Student Government (LSA-
SG) in the December 19 lecture
by Yi:gal Allon at Rackham
Amphitheatre.
That LSA-SG was listed as a
supporter of activities organized
by a coalition of student groups
in protest of Allon's appearance
should be clarified:
1) LSA-SG does not condone
disruption of speakers or
educational forums in any
instance, including that which
took place during Allon's speech;
2) LSA-SG is in no position to

understanding of the role of the
University through its ties to
corporations and government
agencies in foreign policy
relating to the Middle East, and
the implications of this
relationship to the perspectives
presented in classrooms and
University-sponsored forums;
4) In its support of the coalition
activities, LSA-SG Asserts its
traditional position that the
University has no responsibility
to provide broad informational
and educational perspectives in
the service of human rights.
The relationship that exists
between the University,
corporations, and government

consuming task for any group.
For those organizations that have
unpopular opinions, the task is
yet more problematic, in that
their bases of support are
limited, and their ideas are often.
given little credibility. LSA-SG
has a long history of supporting a
free exchange of ideas, both
popular and unpopular, and
consequently faces many risks.
LSA-SG has pursued a strategy
of activism in spite of the
traditional role of student
governments as mechanisms by
which the administration may
impose its policies on students. In
attempting to go beyond the usual
minutes and meetings of student

SG has been wrongly identified
with the disruptive, opportunistic
tactics which surfaced at the
Allon lecture activities which
LSA-SG does not in any way
support or justify.
LSA-SG has discussed these
questions at great length and
formulated procedures by which
these misunderstandings may be
avoided in the future. We
appreciate the concerns
expressed to us by many students
and hope to promote and continue
an educational, constructive
dialogue on these issues.
LSA-SG has arranged a
meeting for further discussion
and comments on Sundav.

EDITORIAL STAFF
Editors-in-chief

DAVID GOODMAN

GREGG KRUPA

Managing Editor
M. EILEEN DALEY
Editorial Director

BOB MILLER ................................... Sports Editor
PAUL CAMPBELL .................... Executive Sports Editor
ERNIE DUNBAR ..................... Executive Sports Editor
HENRY ENGELHARDT .............. Executive Sports Editor
RICK MADDOCK ..................... Executive Sports Editor
CUB SCHWARTZ ..................... Executive Sports Editor
BUSINESS STAFF
NANCY GRAU ............................. Business Manager
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