A mistaken equation of democracy promotion with Iraq-style military intervention has led to a timidity and false realism about the prospects for supporting reformers like Iran’s Green movement, according to The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier.
He takes exception to Fareed Zakaria’s “false and heartless” op-ed column which attacks Sen. John McCain’s call for the United States to “support Iran’s people in changing the character of their government — peacefully, politically, on their own terms, in their own ways.”
Zakaria’s argument typifies the “at-the-highest-levels impatience with democracy and human rights” as central foreign policy objectives, Wieseltier asserts, a position that “conflates moral power with military power, democratization with shock and awe.”
The Obama administration’s reluctance to support the Green movement “is not prudent, it is perverse,” he contends.
For his part, Wieseltier argues elsewhere, he is “not prepared to surrender the tradition of liberal internationalism’ and refuses to follow those “who were ardent enthusiasts for democracy and human rights, whether or not they supported the Iraq war, [yet] suddenly lost their appetite for those aims and ideals in the winter of 2008-2009.”
He “still believe[s] in the power, and the obligation, of the United States to advance the cause of freedom in the world.”