Friday, February 11, 2011

Does Obama Support Protestors Against a Repressive Islamic Regime? It Depends

In an authoritarian Muslim country, young anti-government protesters clamor in the streets against a repressive government. Shouts for democracy are heard. Military action is feared. One side is anti-American, the other side is at least a tactical ally.  Which side does Obama support?

Well, in Iran he supported the government against the protesters, and in Egypt he supported the protesters against the government. In Iran the vicious and virulent anti-American group Code Pink supported not the protesters but the hard-line Islamist Iranian regime, and even visited the country recently as guests of the ruling mullahs (who were taking a well-deserved break from their exhausting duties of hanging gays and whipping to death 14 year old rape victims); but for them in Egypt, there too it was different. Hmmm. What could be the theme?

Of course, to anyone sentient the theme is that whichever side hates the West in general and hates America and Israel in specific is the side that gets the support of Obama and Code Pink (the leaders of which have already spent a nice day at the White House visiting with their friend Obama). There’s no other way to reconcile Obama’s lack of support for anti-government protesters in Iran and support for anti-government protesters in Egypt. No other way.

Peter Kohanloo and Sohrab Ahmari comment on this inconsistency at The Weekly Standard (link):
How can self-proclaimed “progressives” support one set of Muslim reformers, while so coldly abandoning another? The contradiction is a symptom of a deeper philosophical quagmire born of a sense of guilt felt by some Westerners for past sins, both real and imagined, committed against the non-Western “other.” Western guilt yields a state of perpetual self-loathing, which in turn leads its victims to celebrate any anti-Western cause as morally worthy. Thus, when Egyptians--rightly--rebel against a pro-American autocracy, their cause is automatically perceived as just. However, if Iranians rise up in pursuit of similar goals against a far worse, anti-American and totalitarian regime--one that murders its own citizens in the name of God--Americans are asked to stay silent. After all, they have “oppressed” Iran in the past.
Obama had a chance, by supporting the anti-government protesters, to help overthrow the vicious, radical anti-American regime in Iran. He took a pass then, but now in Egypt he’s suddenly interested in the rights and safety of the young people in the streets. With Obama it’s easy to predict where he’ll stand – just find the side that’s more in our interest to support and he’ll be somewhere else.

John M Greco