Slowly, almost tectonically, the intellectual ice age that froze the elitist left's thinking concerning the relative merits of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq, is finally showing signs of a thaw. One to today's archetypes of liberal thought, Thomas Friedman, made the following assertion in a recent New York Times op-ed concerning the astonishing events unfolding in Iran:
...for real politics to happen you need space...the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades.
Although he injects the typical liberal stretch, arguing that "Mr. Obama's soft power has defused a lot of that [the Iranian anti-Americanism]", the clear implication is that our incipient success in Iraq provided a linear legitimacy for revolt in Iran.
Expert opinion concerning the potential for regime change in Iran varies widely, but the fact that it's even being discussed is obvious evidence of the success of the Bush Doctrine. For those such as Friedman, and his less restrained cohorts on the left, who have been faithfully agnostic on the idea of Iraq being the beta site for a fledgling form of democracy in the Middle East, his statement borders on intellectual heresy.
The left's caustic dismissal of former President Bush's belief in the universality of democratic principles would be shocking were they not so utterly arrogant, xenophobic, and cynical. That their motivations were purely political was transparently obvious, but it also made one wonder whether there was any war--or conflict, to use their sanitized term--they would support. This, of course, in light of the paradoxical fact that it was Democrat presidents who either started or continued every major war in the 20th century. That, in turn, raises the legitimate question of why they felt that toppling Saddam Hussein and permitting 25 million souls to have a taste of freedom was antithetical to American values.
Now that the oppressed Iranians are revolting against both Ahmadinejad as well as the real titans of totalitarianism in Iran, the mullahs, even inveterate liberals such as Friedman have slapped themselves on the forehead and connected the dots to Iraq. But for Republicans, Iraq was always the conditional precursor for the potential liberation of Middle Eastern nations, although Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia were seen as the more likely candidates. It was only the liberals, whose blinkered reading of history--in particular, American history--fails to yield a constructive lesson for dealing with the latest iteration of tyranny, be it Iran or North Korea.
Driving the point home, you may have made the useful comparison between President Obama's speech in Cairo and his remarks concerning the brutality evolving in Iran: in Egypt he felt no compunction in inserting himself into the inner-workings of Israel--the only democratic nation in the Middle East--and effectively criticizing its leaders, but in his comments concerning Iran--a tyrannical state--he said we can't dictate how its leaders choose to govern, that it's up to the people.
Moreover, it's staggering to ponder his statement that we'll have to wait until the Iranian government completes its investigation into potential election irregularities; as Frank Gaffney recently observed on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, that's akin to Stalin looking into the problem of starvation in Ukraine.
Although it's unlikely that the mullahs will be overthrown, it's incontestable that the specter of freedom in Iraq that got its spark from American ideals--and might--is looming large in the collective psyche of the revolting Iranians. Were Obama the post-political transnationalist he professes to be, he would take a hard line with the mullahs and support the suffering citizens of Iran. But, it turns out he's as intellectually conventional--read politically predictable--as any DC liberal.