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Seventy years ago, “Who lost China?” was one of the queries that bitterly divided the United States. From the late 1940s through the 1950s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy and his supporters persecuted hundreds of Americans for being “communists” or “communist sympathizers.” That was a period known as the Second Red Scare.

Thirty years later, a similar divisive question was raised in 1979 following the collapse of the shah’s empire in Tehran. “Who lost Iran?” was a favorite topic of the time. A Washington Post article harshly criticized former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s comments that U.S. President Jimmy Carter should be held responsible for the fall of the shah.

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