Stalin Sure To Enjoy Disunity Of The West
Edgar Ansel Mowrer — October 4, 1951

The Mossadegh Project | July 16, 2021                           

Edgar Ansel Mowrer — journalist, foreign correspondent and commentator

Syndicated columnist Edgar Ansel Mowrer (1892-1977) on Western alliance in the Cold War.

Stalin To Be Only Real Gainer in Iran Dispute

Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeqh’s performance at the United Nations in New York must not deceive us. No matter what the UN Security Council decides about the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute (if, indeed, the USSR allows it to do anything), the only real gainer will be the Kremlin.

In fact the spectacle of two anti-communist nations quarreling between themselves at this juncture is made to tickle Joseph Stalin.

It reveals something that unless corrected may end in delivering the the free world piecemeal to its communist enemies.

The communist bloc is monolithic. When Stalin sneezes, pious communists from one end of the earth to the other wipe their noses. Much as they may quarrel, suppress their heretics and murder incurable “deviationists” from the party line, the communist rulers (with the single exception of Yugoslav Tito) manage to maintain toward the outside world a united front.

Not so we non-communists.

Despite complete good will, the twelve members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) revealed at Ottawa a shocking inability to agree on how much of it each separate people should provide. In fact, that conference was a “success” only to the extent that the delegations postponed important outstanding differences until their next meeting in Rome this November. They hid their basic disagreements under the thin but handy device of entrusting them to new committees.

Outside NATO, it is worse. If twelve nations with a single, well-defined purpose and sense of a common danger could not agree, how expect other non-communist nations not to quarrel fiercely among themselves?

The Anglo-Iranian oil dispute is one of such out standing quarrels. Most American officials feel that Iran has overstepped the borders of sense and ethics. Yet even a justified armed intervention against Iran by Britain might be worse. It might even drive the temperamental Mossadegh into Stalin’s waiting arms.

No less potentially explosive is Egypt’s determination to oust Britain from the Suez Canal zone and from the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by tearing up the existing treaty which authorizes the British to remain in both places.

Needless to say, the Egyptians are no more capable by themselves of protecting the Suez Canal (the world’s most sensitive water-way) than the Iranians are of extracting and refining their oil. Nonetheless, their national pride (some would say vanity) compels them to insist upon trying—for the ultimate benefit of Moscow.

Even worse is the Indian-Pakistan row over Kashmir. There, a real war could easily start within the next thirty days. Intellectually, we Americans can hardly refrain from taking sides for one people or the other. Nationally, we cannot but note that from such a struggle between two (to us) friendly peoples, only one country would profit—the USSR. Yet unless some new factor arises, that is how the Kashmir mess seems likely to end.

What all these situations seem to show is the lack among the anti-Communists of appropriate organs for settling their differences.

There is, of course, the United Nations. But Iran has ignored a formal “indication” to go slow by the International Court of Justice (July 5, 1951). How then expect a Security Council, where the U.S.S.R. exercises a veto, to reach an agreement to end the very trouble that it is in the interest of the Kremlin to widen?

Indicated—it seems to me—is some sort of new international body open exclusively to non-Communist countries whose members pledge themselves in advance to obey. So far, only Canada has had the courage to propose this.

Alternate titles:

Free Nations Need ‘Court’ To Settle Own Quarrel


Related links:

Iranian Oil Crisis Closely Linked to Europe's War Materials Scramble (Oct. 1951 letter)

Twists and Turns In Policy of Iran | George Weller, March 10, 1967

Unwanted Peace | The Herald and Review (Illinois), July 18, 1951

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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