One of the most concerning situation for the United States at present is the influence that Iran is wielding throughout the Middle East (and stretching into Venezuela). Iran is accused of training Iraqi insurgents and providing them with weapons. Iran has also been implicated as being the money and power behind groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. This influence into other countries using paramilitary and insurgent groups is a violation of the sovereignty of these nations.
However (you knew this wasn’t going to be a piece about how bad Iran is), the stance that the U.S. is taking regarding Iran’s foreign influence, although important for U.S. interest in the Middle East, is a very hypocritical position.
U.S foreign policy throughout the Cold War was not unlike the foreign policy being put forth by Iran. Our involvement in Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in support of insurgencies, military coups, training military personnel and financing paramilitary. The U.S. government is willing to pursue whatever means it deems necessary to accomplish its purposes. However, when another country pursues the same means to accomplish similar ends (to protect their own interests), we accuse them of meddling illegally in other states sovereignty. Until the United States returns to a foreign policy respecting the inherent rights of other sovereign nation, we cannot expect other countries to play by other rules than we are willing to operate under.
Understand, I am in no way condoning Iran’s method of operation. They have no business involving themselves in Iraq’s political situation (although whether Iraq is even a nation right now is unclear). I just hope that soon a critical mass of U.S. foreign policy planners will learn that it is completely asinine to expect a different set of foreign policy rules for different countries.