A Disastrous Year1979 was a terrible year for Jimmy Carter and for America's interests in the world.January brought the fall of the Shah of Iran, a pro-American dictator who had long served as an anticommunist ally in the Middle East. The Iranian people, however, had come to despise the Shah for his autocratic rule, and many blamed the United States for propping up his antidemocratic regime. The Shah's government ultimately fell to fundamentalist Islamic revolutionaries, who built an uncompromising new political and social structure upon the principles of sharialaw and denounced America as "the Great Satan." In March, Marxist revolutionaries staged a successful revolution in the tiny Caribbean island ofGrenada, which had been a British colony until 1974. Though Grenada—just twenty miles wide and home to only 100,000 people—was hardly a nation of great strategic significance, the unexpected success of a Communist revolution in an English-speaking country so close to the United States came as a shock to American policy-makers.
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