Has the land of the free and home of the brave traded its purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain for a bifurcated tail and a hayfork?
“Bush is the most hated person in the world. The U.S. is the new Satan,” William Mills said during his recent public address to UAA.
UAA’s Complex Systems Group welcomed the political scientist and national security expert to two special – topic public lectures Nov. 8 and 9.
Mills’ “How to Think About War Against Iran” lecture seemed attractive to large parts of the audiences that attended.
“I didn’t know anything about Complex Systems. Now I want to get on Google and find out more,” said Katy Sanders, a sociology major, after attending Mill’s lecture that included a brief history of U.S.-Iran conflict.
The U.S. and Iran – formerly called Persia – were political and social allies up until the post-World War II era, according to Mills’ lecture. Since then, the two countries have cultivated a history of “misperceptions, mistreatment, conflicts of interest and inconsistent policies” straining their relationship, according to UAA reports.
His lecture showed that those conflicts include the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 and 1988’s Iran Air Flight 655, where the deployment of a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser hit a commercial aircraft and killed 290 people.
Washington, D.C., is welcoming tension in Iran to distract attention from the foreign policy record, Mills said.
Washington has a failure in Iraq and needs to explain it, he added. Now, a critical foreign policy decision must be reached on whether America should pre-emptively attack a nation that President Bush’s administration reports is supporting terrorism and concealing a nuclear weapons development program.
Mills said he encourages Americans to look at the history and sequence of events from both Iranian and American perspectives to decide the appropriate course of action for themselves.
“Intolerance on one side leads to a reaction of equal intolerance on the other side,” Mills said, adding that the countries need to evolve together.
“We adapt to what they do. They adapt to what we do,” he said.
Mills said he thinks educating Americans is the first step toward creating enduring foreign policies.
Otherwise, absolute statements based on unsubstantiated facts, such as “the U.S. is the new Satan,” will reign.
Mills said there is hope for the hostility felt between the two countries.
“To a greater extent than we may believe, we have a considerable amount of control over the kind of future that will take place. It isn’t quick. It isn’t certain. Choices that make a difference do exist,” Mills said at the end of his lecture.
After the event, business management major Amanda Shold said the lecture changed her view on Iran.
“I have a better understanding of what’s going on – how to approach the situation and alleviate the problem. It was just amazing,” she said.