The Cost of Liberal Tribalism: Iranian Freedom Marchers Hung Out to Dry

Much has been said about the situation in Iran over the past couple of weeks. The images of peaceful opposition demonstrators, and the thuggery displayed by the Islamic Revolutionary rulers of Iran, speak for themselves. It was absolutely clear: the demonstrations were not about vote-counting fraud, or about the non-reformist “reformer” Mousavi. The demonstrations were about freedom. Handed an opening by Mousavi and his brave wife (who seemed to be the one pushing her husband far beyond where he ever expected to go in his opposition to the Mullahs), hundreds of thousands of fed up Iranians took to the streets and shouted “Down with the Dictator”. While many in the west took this as opposition to the psychopathic lackey Ahmadinejad, Iranians know this was a chant not against the apocalyptic holocaust denier, but against the Ayatolla and the regime itself. The vast majority of Iranians are fed up with Islamic revolutionary rule. The vast majority of Iranians want a new revolution.

Now, what Western liberal wouldn’t stand with freedom-yearning demonstrators against a tyrannical theocracy? Ten years ago, you probably couldn’t find one. And yet liberals throughout the Western world followed their new messiah, Barack Obama, off an amoral cliff, ignored their own instincts, and worked overtime to justify the US administration’s official policy: do not show any support for the Iranian opposition. “Don’t meddle”…”if we speak up, they will blame us”…”we don’t want to encourage them, in case they get slaughtered”…”we still have shame because of some 1953 coup”. 

The cowardice displayed by most liberals over the past two weeks is the cost of the liberal tribalism of the past decade. Lefties everywhere spent eight years following orders: oppose, mock, and deride George W. Bush without hesitation. If it’s Republican, it’s wrong. If you’re part of the liberal tribe, you fall in line, and accept the new marching orders. Mockery of Bush’s freedom agenda, which aimed to support democracy and freedom anywhere and everywhere – a bipartisan agenda if there ever was one – was labeled “neo-con” and thus unacceptable. A principled position became Bush-bashing fodder for Democrat operatives and late-night television idealogues. Millions of Iraqis celebrating free and open elections joyously in the streets were ignored almost completely by the mainstream culture. A generation’s Berlin Wall moment was treated like it never even happened.

Liberal tribalism of this most heinous kind got Barack Obama elected. Unfortunately, it seems that the President not only accepts the anti-freedom-agenda as a tribal position, he takes it seriously. His absoulte abandonment of the young freedom protestors in the streets of Tehran led to the slaughter of many, the arresting of thousands, and the snuffing out of freedom at the hands of Islamo-fascist thugs. Would the crackdown have occurred anyway? Perhaps. But the message would have been sent: the free world supports freedom for all, and stands against thuggery everywhere. Now, we cannot say this, which is a travesty.

Now that the inconvenient little uprising is more-or-less over, Obama can return to negotiating with that “unclenched fist”. Hopefully, some of Obama’s tribal acolytes will have had their eyes opened, and understand that what has happened is an absolute moral tragedy that must never happen again. This shame cannot be washed off.


1 Comment

Filed under Islamist-Leftist Alliance, Leftist Duplicity, The Confusion of The Left, Understanding the Left-Right Divide

One response to “The Cost of Liberal Tribalism: Iranian Freedom Marchers Hung Out to Dry

  1. cmac

    lol, ironic that i found this blog while researching Naomi Klein’s politics. Based on your blogs, i’m sure you absolutely adore her 😉

    I really think you completely misunderstand what the foreign policy purpose of not sternly denouncing the Iranian regime so close to the election was. I also take issue with the claim that “liberal tribalism” is the cause of dissent against the war in Iraq. Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul were both outspoken critics of the Iraq war, and many high-ranking generals, some of them decorated veterans of foreign wars, have also voiced their dissenting opinions regarding our involvement there. I don’t think anyone would take seriously the notion that any of these men could be described as Liberal, or, for that matter, willing participants in this rhetorical pejorative past-time called “Liberal Tribalism.” People of many different political backgrounds opposed the war in Iraq for many different reasons. But more to the point, I think you are making a mistake by interpreting the Obama administration’s response to the Iranian election as a failure, when in fact, it was a diplomatically intelligent response that allows us to continue to put pressure on their nuclear program without strengthening Amahdinejad’s political base within Iran. Some background is in order, as I can only shake my head at the commenters who simply make fun of you for being Conservative instead of addressing your arguments like an adult.

    Newsweek reported in the weeks after the Iranian election that the CIA informed President Obama in the aftermath of the election that they felt the likelihood of voter fraud was extremely low. It was determined by the White House that, based on this information, denouncing the election results as fraudulent would risk alienating a majority of the Iranian voting populace that may have actually voted for him, which would in turn give more popular support for Ahmadinejad, and making it more difficult to prevent them from advancing their nuclear agenda. Obama later came out and used stronger language when some raw data became available (130% voter turn-out in one district), and it also became clear that the protests were in-fact representative of a much larger opposition movement than the intelligence community previously believed existed. In other words, instead of rushing to condemn the election as a fraud, he waited until more information was available, and made an informed decision. I believe this was the correct course of action based on the information that was available at the time.

    One of the moral justifications the Mullahs are using to crack down on protesters is foreign intervention in their affairs. They claim that foreign nations are instigating the protest movement, and the government is using this as a justification to use escalating levels of violence to pacify the protests. If we were to come right out and call the elections a “fraud,” it would legitimize their claims, due in no small part to the fact that America has a history of using foreign intervention, both subversive and overt, as a means of regime change. Let me articulate this better to avoid the obvious counter-argument which misses the point: There are Iranians in Iran who most certainly voted for Ahmadinejad. These are the voters we need to win over by contradicting Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric. If we don’t act the way he claims we do, then they will become disenchanted with his rhetoric and begin to turn against him. So if we do anything to legitimize his rhetoric,we are working against the interest of the protestors in Iran, rather than for them, and this, of course, would lead to more violence and loss of Iranian life. This makes progress on Iranian nuclear disarmament more difficult, and reduces the likelihood of internal regime change in Iran.

    While the regime uses a police state to enforce the integrity of the Islamic Republic, the fact of the matter is that the Iranian Rev. Guard have families too. There is clear dissension right now within the ranks of the IRG over the election results, and Iran’s religious leaders are well aware that they have to tread lightly in this respect. In short, by condemning the violence of the Iranian authorities, but not questioning the election results, we can support the cause of the protestors without further inflaming the violence being used against them. This is what diplomacy is about. It is nothing more than playing games with words in order to avoid foreign policy land mines that might trigger a transnational crisis, and consequently, can save lives. It’s the same reason we assuage China by telling them that Taiwan is part of mainland China, but that we’ll intervene if China attacks the island. It’s a tentative arrangement that, while a contradiction of terms, is comfortable to both sides and maintains peace, again, with the intention of saving lives of Taiwanese, and preventing a war between China and the United States, which would be the start of WWIII.

    I would like to address the broader approach to foreign policy that your post represents because I think it has shown in the past to make North America less secure rather than more secure. When Clinton left office in 2000, he had nearly completed a nuke deal with the North Koreans that would have effectively shut down their nuclear operations. The feigned respect and cooperation that Clinton used with The North Koreans to win them over was replaced by the Bush Doctrine, which was summed up nicely by Dick Cheney: “we don’t negotiate with evil. We Defeat it.” This attitude might make us feel good about ourselves, but it is completely irresponsible, not to mention naive. Once Bush labeled North Korea a part of the Axis of Evil, North Korea stepped away from negotiations, and renewed its efforts in nuclear production. By the end of the Bush II presidency, Kim Jong Il’s nuclear program had progressed farther than under Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton combined. By every measure, his approach to North Korea was a complete failure. By alienating the regime and, to quote John Bolton, “not rewarding bad behavior,” we now have a regime that poses a greater threat to the world than it ever did previously.

    Fourthly, to address your point regarding the “bi-partisan” cause of spreading freedom and democracy: Social injustice alone is not grounds for intervention or regime change. In fact, if we dictated foreign policy by this standard, we would literally self-destruct as a country. America’s current prosperity is fueled by trade with China, a regular Human rights violator. If we renounced China, we would have a fiscal crisis on our hands, seeing’s how they are purchasing the lion’s share of our national debt. Our economy is fueled by oil that we get from countries like Saudi Arabia, where women can still be blamed for their own rape. We were diplomatic allies with Pakistan under Musharraf, who perpetually delayed Democratic elections and used the military to keep his leadership secure until he was forced out by his own people in the 2008 general elections, when it became apparent that the new parliament would be unfriendly to him. And now, because we supported Musharraf, we have a Pakistani population that distrusts America and is electing its own leaders, which surely does not bode well for winning the hearts and minds of everyday Muslims who we must have on our side in order to stem the flow of new recruits to Al-Qaeda.

    Did I mention that we established military bases in Uzbekistan in order to secure a strategic advantage in Iraq? Did I mention that they boil political dissenters alive?

    There is undoubtedly good that can be attributed to our intervention in Iraq, but you are making the same intellectual faux pas that most supporters of the war make by articulating the good without mentioning the bad. Instead of seeing our actions the lens of American nationalism, you should pay attention to how the Iraqis feel about our presence there, and a great many resent us. One recent event was particularly telling: Iraq recently declared a national holiday marking the end of combat operations for U.S. troops in Iraq. I ask you to consider if this is symbolic of a country that viewed our intervention positively. There was also a poll conducted at one time that was able to poll a majority of Iraqis approving of attacks on U.S. soldiers. How could a poll like that come even close to a majority in a country populated by the grateful? What of the Shoe-throwing incident and the immense outpouring of support for the reporter that threw the shoe that followed from Iraqis across the coutnry? An Iraqi governor also recently noted around the same time as the holiday was declared that he felt that the U.S. pull-out would lead to a reduction in violence in his town because U.S. troops are treated as targets by extremists. In other words, by maintaining our military presence, it is entirely possible that we have actually increased the likelihood of violence in municipal areas rather than reducing it. And it cannot be questioned that as long as American soldiers remain in Iraqi cities, America’s enemies will remain as well, since they’re only goal pretty much is to kill us. Why are we giving them the targets?

    I would ask that you take the time to read Retired Marine Lt. General Gregory Newbold’s statement on the war in Iraq, where he articulates his opposition to it, speaking not as an anti-war activist, but as a man who believes it was an unnecessary strategical blunder that served as a distraction from our efforts fighting terror elsewhere:,9171,1181629,00.html

    Also, I ask you to re-consider your opinion about the wisdom of the current Administration’s response to the Iranian conflict. We have denounced their violent crackdown while letting the Iranian people themselves decide how illegitimate the election was. This allows us to stand in solidarity with the protestors without galvanizing the regime’s supporters, or lending creedence to their arguments of foreign influence. It was, in my opinion, the best response we could have offered to this conflict.

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