Reagan Comparatively Defends the Shah – Not His Best Moment

I happened upon this video clip in the midst of some research on another subject.  Despite the Cold War and the box that was (is) the basic hegemonial worldview of American elites then (and now), it would have been nice if Reagan had chosen the option of unabashedly criticizing both the fundamentalist regime then in place and the Shah’s brutal government.  Here it is (including the cringeworthy “whatever he might have done….” line):

BTW, I don’t know the source that posted the video (so it could be a pro-Iran group) nor am I pleased with how it is cut at the end.  But the video is noteworthy for those interested in Cold War history.  I tried to find another version but the only other one I could find on the web was also cut the same way.  If someone has the whole clip (to see if Reagan did criticize the Shah), please send the link along.

One thought on “Reagan Comparatively Defends the Shah – Not His Best Moment

  1. You didn’t put a date on this video, but I assume this was from a presidential debate in 1980. Reagan is challenging Carter for president. Americans are being held hostage in Iran. The fundamentalists have taken over in Iran. The Cold War is on. The Russians have invaded Afghanistan. The U.S. has boycotted the Olympics.

    That is the context in which Reagan is criticizing Carter for mishandling our relationship with someone who has been our ally in the region – the Shah. In terms of the national interests of the U.S., we were certainly better served by the Shah in power than the fundamentalists. I wouldn’t have counseled Reagan to attack the Shah for his internal policies in the debate with Carter.

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