This is a bold commentary by someone with limited actual knowledge. My recall of history says that the invention of the internal combustion engine, followed by Henry Ford’s assembly line and mass production – put the oil rich countries of the Middle East on the map. My memory says the Saudi family took charge about 1927 and the Shaw of Iran came to power in 1952. My memory is fuzzy on how much the United States had to do with the entry of the Shaw – but that is not as important as how the Shaw governed the next 27 years. My hypothesis here is to compare those 27 years to the past forty years in the United States – and the consequential political upheaval as a result.
What happened in Iran was a phenomenon of relative modern times. The United States immediately saw Iran as strategically important both economically (oil) and militarily. The Shaw was given access to the latest military technology. Tehran grew prosperous for many – but not all. Rural Iran was almost totally neglected. Rural Iran existed pretty much as it had since the 1600’s.
While the Shaw brought Western luxury to the ruling class the remainder of the country languished in middle ages poverty. Pressure built from the masses to return to the religious ways of middle ages Islam. The material wealth of the Shaw was seen directly as an affront to Allah. What was perceived as spiritual corruption finally resulted in mass revolution. The Islamic State grew out of class and cultural differences.
Meanwhile in America technology took hold and the information age was born. Technology permeated the lives of every economic class. Student loans, Pell Grants, the G.I. Bill and a variety of scholarships and Viet Nam sent part of a generation off to college. The divide between the educated and less educated widened. Concepts of socialized economies, understood by the educated class to have cultural value, entered the vocabulary. Social Security had been adopted in 1936, Medicare in 1967. Civil Rights in 1964. The social revolution of the 1960’s gave way to the end of the Viet Nam War in the 1970’s. Attention turned to the individual interaction with Government. The late 1970’s saw the rise of Ronald Reagan. The divide was established.
There was an unintended consequence to the rush to education during Viet Nam and the Reagan political revolution. Working class democrats joined the conservative social movements of the evangelicals, including opposition to abortion, gay rights, holiday acknowledgements, and prayer in government. The divide followed that line, working class evangelicals with conservative social values versus the more educated progressive agenda of liberal America. I equate the conservatives to the rural uneducated of 1970’s Iran. The liberal elite in America were as arrogant as the Shaw.
Donald Trump is the Ayatollah Khomeini.