The comparisons of 2012 to 1979 continue to grow, especially with the recent Middle East uprisings seeming to mirror the circumstances President Carter was faced with in his battle against Ronald Reagan. I have read pundits arguing both ways, that this point and time closely resembles 1979 while others argue it is completely different for a number of reasons.
Report from the Times and Democrat:
In 24 hours, beginning with the 11th anniversary of 9/11, all hell has broken loose in the Middle East. Our diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya have been attacked, with the U.S. ambassador to Libya among those brutally murdered by Islamists.
Much will continue to be said about this, but the similarities to Iran 33 years ago are striking. And make no mistake about it, rightly or wrongly, this is now a major political issue in our presidential election, as it was in the 1980 presidential election. Just like that, in one explosive burst, foreign policy is on the front-burner in the 2012 campaign.
Over the last four years, longtime authoritarian Arab leaders in Egypt and Libya have been deposed, supplanted — we fear — by longtime extremist Islamic movements. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is gone. In Libya, Moammar Kaddafi is gone. Neither man was, by any stretch, a democrat. And yet, we worry that they have been replaced by something much worse.
Well, something similar unfolded in Iran 33 years ago, when a longtime authoritarian leader and close U.S. ally, the Shah, was replaced by an extremist Islamic movement headed by the Ayatollah, producing the world’s worst, longest-running theocratic/terrorist state. The moment was dramatized on Nov. 4, 1979, when the U.S. embassy was seized and more than 50 American hostages were captured and held for 444 days. Like in Egypt, it all seemed to begin, at least visually, symbolically, with the burning of the American flag at our embassy.
So, what do you think? Are we re-visiting 1979 with geopolitical forces now front and center in the national debate or is this an entirely different beast?
Side note, on my way to work this morning, I noticed gas jumped a good 10 to 15 cents in the pat 48 hours. Now $3.95 for regular and perhaps rising.