Abilities Based Assignment: Think Piece Taken Hostage On David Farber’s book Taken Hostage, Farber informs us about the Iran Hostage Crisis and America’s First Encounter with Radical Islam. This book tells us how the United States and Iran got into conflict, leading to the Iranians holding American Embassy members hostage as revenge for them feeling betrayed by the United States. It also informs us about other events that occurred in a decade that caused the United States many problems. Reading this book taught me a lot more than what I was expecting.
I was expecting it to be a boring hard to read book, but it honesty grasped my attention. I like the fact that Farber talked about all the events that lead to the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Yes we had already learned quite a bit about it in the research we had to do for the Thursday Topics, but they were not all clear and detailed as the book. For a fact I learned that President Nixon and his key advisor Henry Kissinger tried to replace the simple anti-communism. They tried to do so by using a more pragmatic realpolitik.
His realpolitik approach was being attacked by Dixon’s Democratic opponent in the 1972 election, senator George McGovern. McGovern attacked Nixon’s approach by saying, “Our children look at us for moral guidance-for Americans true ideals. But we protect the prestige of warmonger. And we pay with the soul of our nation” (17). The CIA at Nixon’s bidding was engaged in many illegalities in the United States and they helped overthrow the legally elected Chilean government. Operations like these (realpolitik and CIA revelations) left many Americans to question the role of the United States in the world.
Although Americas uncertain role in the world, Americans were more worried about the economic issues during that time. The larger crisis in America was that many people expected the economy to do better annually, a dream that seemed to be crushed for many Americans. In the 1970s, the economy wasn’t working; prices were increasing, foreign goods were flooding the American marketplace, income was stagnating, etc. By the end of the 1960s unrelenting inflation was one of the problems the fueled people’s economic distress.
In a country that was used to cheap foods, prices were skyrocketing fifteen percent a year or more. The cause of inflation was complicated to tell, some argued that it was a result of President Johnson’s push of budget into deficit. Others argued that Americans were buying huge quantities of foreign made goods, which meant that they were sending more money than what they had to other countries and putting us in a trade deficit. It also seemed that President Carter instead of helping the economy get better when he was elected as president, things got worse with the inflation.
Inflation was then at a 17 percent increase annually. To make things worse, oil imports raised from 35 percent to 50 percent in domestic consumption in just four years. A matter that worsened things because the price of oil had raised from $1. 80 a barrel in 1971 to $12 a barrel by 1973. I was surprised and shocked to find out that people were going crazy for a chace to fill up there cars with gas. But what shocked me the most was the fact that they would wait in line from two to three hours just to get gas because they were scared that it would run out.
The panic was so big that there would start fights at the gas stations, which to me is too crazy. I don’t know if I would be able to do all that just for gas. Even though we had already talked about the Iranian Hostage Crisis, there were still many questions and thoughts that were left unclear, like why did they dislike the Shah so much? Why take American Embassy members Hostage? Etc. Many questions that didn’t quite help me understand the crisis so well until I read this book. I was able to learn that the Shah wanted to modernize Iran, a thought Iranians weren’t too happy about.
This modernization were rejecting the sovereignty of Islamic law. Something the Shah didn’t really put much into consideration since he wanted to make Iran into a successful nation. Leading the Iranians to start to disrespect him and hate him. Even though there were many problems, crisis occurring in Iran, the Shah didn’t do anything to stop it or make things better. He simply continued his modernization and secularization campaigns. He eventually started losing control of Iran leading him to leave Iran.
I also learned that President Carter didn’t want the Shah back into the United States because he wanted to once again have Iran as an alliance. President Carter didn’t want the Shah to be in the United States doing nothing while Americans are being kidnapped or killed in Tehran. Nothing could change Carters opinion in letting the Shah into the United States, until the Shah’s sister sent him a letter demanding that he be in the United States because he was dangerously ill and the only place he could be treated was in the state-of-the-art U. S hospital.
Shah’s allowance into the United States furies the Iranians and thought of it as a backstabbing plan to help the Shah return to Tehran. This surely lead to a plan break take Americans hostage and used this event as symbolic and to show everyone around the world that God is the Ultimate Power. The reading didn’t really influence me personally due to the fact that we had already talked about this in class. I noticed that everything on this book were things we discussed in class, but with way more detail and explanation. I really like that fact that the book made me understand the concept of the Iranian Hostage Crisis better.
It didn’t influence me personally but it sure did help a lot to understand what Americans had to face in the past and how things were worse for them than what they are now. Or so that’s what I believe. The book helped me shape the understanding of the time period better in a way that it made me realize that there are a lot of things that we don’t know about and that in a way we don’t really care much about them because it’s not affecting us directly at first, but we should always be aware of whats going on around us because sooner or later it can affect more than we can image.
This time period was a really hard era for many people to face through. Jobs being lost, prices increasing, inflation being a big part of the problems Americans had to face, wanting to sell there houses to start somewhere new, etc. That’s a lot for any person to have to overcome. Makes me be glad that I wasn’t born during that time, because I know for a fact that I would have hated it and that I wouldn’t have known what to do to survive, or what to do in general.
The United States current relationship with Iran is bad. So bad that we wouldn’t want to go into war with them because of the Nuclear program. I believe that every since the outburst problem that occurred with the United States once helping the Shah, has slowly decreased any type of good relationship that we may have with Iran. The current relationship with Iran is worse than the relationship the had during the decade of 1969-1979.