Friday, June 19, 2009

Peggy Noonan is a fool, but as a draftsman and apologizer for power she understands how to create Special Moments. What's happening in Iran now, she insists, is not one of them. For an American president to tempt another international crisis by openly supporting the protesters in Iran this week (emphasis mine: who knows what will happen tomorrow or next week) is to lapse into the kind of messianism and democracy-building that we thought neoconservatives and their allies got out of our systems after the Iraq debacle:
To insist the American president, in the first days of the rebellion, insert the American government into the drama was shortsighted and mischievous. The ayatollahs were only too eager to demonize the demonstrators as mindless lackeys of the Great Satan Cowboy Uncle Sam, or whatever they call us this week. John McCain and others went quite crazy insisting President Obama declare whose side America was on, as if the world doesn't know whose side America is on. "In the cause of freedom, America cannot be neutral," said Rep. Mike Pence. Who says it's neutral?

This was Aggressive Political Solipsism at work: Always exploit events to show you love freedom more than the other guy, always make someone else's delicate drama your excuse for a thumping curtain speech.

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