(Outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran - November 1979. Not the happiest place on earth.)
For all the recent saber rattling coming from the shrill sector, it seems the lessons of history have fallen on selectively deaf ears.
And speaking of Iran - the last time we got the good idea of being the world's policeman we had our embassy overrun by militant students chanting "Death to America" and the uneasy feeling we were stuck in a game of chicken, seeing who was going to do what first and who was going to blink while doing it.
Trouble was, we had a history with Iran, going back a long way. Contrary to what some think that the average Iranian has a short memory span, most remember our foray into nation building in 1953, where we actively supported the overthrow of a legitimately elected government and replaced it with a monarchy the people no longer wanted.
We had a vested interest and it was called oil and we became inexorably linked to supporting the wrong guy in our adventures abroad for a goodly chunk of 20th Century history, particularly in the area of the independence movements after World War 2.
So when the overthrow of the Shah came in 1978, we were stuck in the rotten position of giving tacit support to the Shah while ignoring the moderate majority and allowing the fundamentalist factors to hijack a populist movement and turn it into a radical version of the repression they were dealing with since 1953.
The rest, as they say, is history. It is with that in mind that our current administration is taking the position of holding their tongues and letting history play itself out. In light of running the risk of history repeating itself, it's the only option available at the moment.
But in case you forgot the last episode, here is a rundown of events that took place between Washington and Tehran starting on November 4, 1979 and going to December 29th with Jimmy Carter's press conference.
A refresher course in the consequences of screwing up seems in order now.