The Lights Are Going Out. Or Is It On?
Are the anti-neocons ready to reconsider? For years now, they've been lambasting us (presumed marionettes of Bushitlercheney) for unleashing war and misery on the world's unfortunates, and death and mayhem on our own young fighters. They yelled, "Hands off! Let peace prevail! Or if it doesn't, so be it; it's not our problem."
They yelled other things, too, mostly along the lines of "you can't get a democracy in a place that's never had it." They vigorously deny that there is anything remotely resembling a universal impulse toward freedom.
Some of them, now in the Peace and Love room, or in the White House residence, where policy is committed, remain convinced that most of the world's problems are our fault, and they are unwilling to take action against foreign nations whose regimes rest on the same conviction. Better to talk. That way, our (soon-to-be-former) enemies will see that we have learned our lesson, and so we can All Get Along.
They called it "leading from behind." In normal English, it's "retreat."
Are they pleased with the results? As America withdrew from the world, we got new wars. Terrible wars, complete with weapons of mass destruction (Syria), ethnic and tribal slaughter (Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Iran), a revived al-Qaeda (whether "core" or "peripheral"), and growing involvement of the likes of Moscow and Tehran in areas where we used to have something to say.
The main thing is the slaughter. Have you looked at Venezuela or Ukraine today? The Iranians--officially--hung more than a dozen citizens today. Don't those big crowds of demonstrators remind you of the anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations in Egypt? Or of the anti-Khamenei demonstrations in Iran?
All these monster demonstrations have taken place during the Obama years, the years of retreat. We didn't organize them, any more than we organized the Syrian resistance to Assad, or the Iranian resistance to Khamenei. In my view, we should have, but we didn't. So who are the anti-neocons going to blame them on?
The truth is that we did not organize them but we did inspire them. A 35-year old Ukrainian woman says it elegantly: "Almost all my life I have been bitter about us, Ukrainians, being not like Europeans, or Americans. Today I’m bitter about Westerners being not like the brave people on Maidan’s barricades."
She used to hate her oppressors, as she still does. But now she's added us to the list of the contemptible. You can easily find similar language among Syrians, Iranians, Egyptians, Venezuelans, Lebanese and Iraqis, all of whom have been betrayed by the United States. Yes, betrayed, because they looked to us for support, at least for words of support, since, after all, we are the leader of the free world. What these brave souls understand, which the anti-neocons do not, is that the enemies of freedom, wherever they may be, are automatically our enemies, not because of our policies but for our existence. As the Ukrainian woman says, freedom-seekers wish they lived as we do, and they risk their lives on the chance they might get there.
Therefore, supporting democratic revolutionaries is both a moral and a strategic obligation. We and they will often fail, as most human enterprises. But those who lecture us on the impossibility of achieving successful democratic revolution in a country which has never been democratic, forget history: no nation was democratic before it was democratic. They all had to struggle, often to fight, in order to get there. Just like the Kievans and Caracans and Isfahanis. They expect at least strong political support from us, instead of the pitiful pap that's been coming out of Washington.
Today's battles are not epiphenomena in distant lands, they are directly linked to our national security, pace the self-misproclaimed realists. For we are always the ultimate targets of the tyrants. Sooner or later, they will come for us. Meanwhile they are preparing that assault.
Anybody seen an Iranian warship headed our way?
image illustration courtesy shutterstock / Chones