Was for Middle East democratization before Bush discovered it as a rationale for war, still for it now.
Somehow, amazingly, the media icons on the right like Beck and Limbaugh are reverting to George H.W. Bush/Reagan Republicans, who knew that it was better to strike a deal with a dictator than risk a populist uprising that could lead to a government actually representing the interests of the Middle East.
There is, of course, great potential for bad as well as good in these kind of transformative moments in history – the Arab 1848 as it were. We should be vigilant on that score. But it is bizarre to read conservatives who praised the Iraq war that led to the empowerment of al Sadr and the deaths of hundreds of thousands in a country occupied by the US to be now retroactively endorsing the other Saddams of the Middle East.
Their thinking is also predicated on the 1979 Iran revolution that tossed out the Shah, who we had installed in the ’50s. It just led to “America is Satan,” so who needs more of that, right? Except one example of one country in an era already thirty years past doesn’t write the rules for everybody until the end of time. This is about sunshine hitting the Middle East, and dictators losing the ability to control what their citizens learn. This is about a group of countries mostly composed of young people with cell phones and internet cafes. This is about truth getting in where it couldn’t get in before.
Plus, we’re so in the middle of the storm right now. What do you want the Middle East Revolution to be about? Say it. They’re listening. It should go without saying that we reserve the right to dislike a democratic government’s choices, but we must always advocate for democracy over totalitarian regimes.
If you can’t hold that simple line in the sand, don’t talk to me about the Constitution, which was based entirely on philosophies that extend to all human beings. We don’t have rights because we’re Americans, we recognize rights that are universal to our species and enforce their boundaries in the courts. Siding with an authoritarian regime as a matter of principle is to have no principle at all.
It’s one thing to make do with a ruler that cannot be easily displaced, but when the people are storming the castle, one roots for the people, not the corrupt dictator inside. That’s the kind of principle that resonates with me.