Is America a fading beacon for freedom in the world?

There is significant unrest in Iran in the aftermath of their “election.” More here, here, here, and here.
Unfortunately, we now have a President whose response to the Iranian unrest (more here, here, and here) shows again how he does not believe in American exceptionalism.
Jonah Goldberg pleads for a different approach that endorses freedom. Both Goldberg and Power Line offer poignant comparisons of how America under JFK and Reagan was once the leading advocate for freedom in the world.
With nuclear weaponry imminent in Iran and the openly expressed threat to use it to destroy Israel, even a more narrow advocate of realpolitik should see value in endorsing freedom at this crucial juncture.
Hope doesn’t mean what it used to mean in America. And the world will be a lesser and more dangerous place as a result. How profoundly sad.
ADDENDUM #1:
Technology enables freedom fighters in their fight against oppression. It is simply precious how the human longing for liberty naturally brings together kindred souls around the world in this important battle. Sometimes the most radical changes can occur in the most unexpected of ways. More here (H/T Instapundit) and here.
How can your spirit not be drawn to news like this and this? Or this?
More on Reagan’s actions, contrasting with Obama’s responses thus far – including this one.
ADDENDUM #2:
Ralph Peters connects the dots to Obama’s speech in Cairo. Seth Cropsey offers his thoughts on the consequences of the Cairo speech.
And more on Reagan’s response to the 1981 imposition of martial law in Poland, again contrasting it with Obama’s response to current events in Iran. Bill Kristol exhorts Obama to speak out. Rich Lowry adds a thoughtful perspective.
ADDENDUM #3:
Is there really any question about Iran’s publicly-stated intention to wipe Israel off the map? Does anyone actually believe that Hezbollah is not one of Iran’s proxies in their war of terror against non-Muslim infidels?
With H/T to Instapundit, follow Michael Totten’s blogging for updates on the situation in Iran. Nico Pitney is live-blogging at The Huffington Post.
ADDENDUM #4:
Mona Charen states the liberal tendency is to view foreign policy as a form of social work. It comes down to a difference in core beliefs about human nature, doesn’t it? And the mullahs are showing their true colors, again, causing Charen to observe that it has suddenly become much more difficult to pretend that you are not betraying the Iranian people by engaging with the junta in Iran.
Nobody knows what will happen next in Iran, whether a true revolution is possible and – if so – what shape it might take. Amir Taheri offers thoughts on whether there is a nucleus in Iranian society to drive regime change. More on the nature of the Iranian regime.
ADDENDUM #5:
As a measure of how much Obama has conceded America’s leadership role in the world as a beacon for freedom, the President of France (yes, France!) is showing more support for Iranian demonstrators than Obama. So much for real hope and change.
Explaining Obama’s conventional view of the Iranian regime. By contrast, modeling on the Ukrainian revolution of 2004, here are some thoughts on what Obama could do instead.
Are crackdowns imminent?
Andy McCarthy, whose past experiences include prosecuting those responsible for the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center, brings the issues of the Iranian regime legitimacy and regime change into sharp focus, noting the often incoherent policies of past administrations.
Cogent thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson. More from Jonah Goldberg.

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Roland
Roland
12 years ago

America used to be a beacon of freedom, moral discipline, political equality and a collective sense of pride and exceptionalism.
Americans once had a sense of pride in our political leaders and a feeling of oneness in knowing we were exceptional and viewed as such in the world.
Now, with a so far left leaning President and the moral decay of our American pride, America has become Hedonism III, Club 54 and the Playboy Mansion on steroids.
We are not a beacon of freedom, we’re a beacon of capitalism on the back burner and socialism which will go wrong. I don’t think we’ll recover from the Obamanation of America.

Robert Balliot
12 years ago

Young people of Iran are no longer perceiving the US as their enemy after President Obama graciously offered an unclenched hand. Three quarters of the population is under thirty. They can no longer justify Ahmadinejad’s extremism and repression to maintain the status quo. President Obama was the catalyst for positive change.

Their vehicle for change is the Democratic process – which does appear to have failed. Gunboat diplomacy would simply have the opposite effect and re-solidify support for Ahmadinejad.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

You guys on the right are sure easy to get riled up. You’d think the disinformation campaign leading up to the Iraq invasion and occupation might cause even a little skepticism? Here’s the only poll I’ve seen on the Iranian election:

The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election.

But to you it’s an “election.” OK, fine.
So what about these “imminent” nuclear weapons? Interesting word choice, by the way, and one not supported by the findings of the IAEA, which has found no evidence of an active weaponization program or of enrichment of nuclear material to a level that could be used in a weapon.
Plus, you seem to be confused by the difference between Iran and Hezbollah (the one’s with a poster in an office somewhere that you and Hitchens find so threatening). But, hey, why get bogged down in nuance when there’s freedom (GOP TM) to promote!
And if we’re going to plug Reagan, let’s talk about his policies not his rhetoric, which included funding right-wing paramilitaries in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Columbia, and Guatemala, funding to such great champions of democracy as Manuel Noriega, and muted cricism of the apartheid government in South Africa, internationally isolated but recognized by the Reagan govenment.

Andrew
Editor
12 years ago

Russ,
The poll cited in the op-ed article you referenced actually gave the incumbent a whopping 34% of support, with 27% saying “don’t know” and another 22% unaccounted for in the results (the results only total to 78%, great source we’re relying on here).
Undecideds notwithstanding, here was the pollsters’ conclusion at the time…

A close examination of our survey results reveals that the race may actually be closer than a first look at the numbers would indicate. More than 60 percent of those who state they don’t know who they will vote for in the Presidential elections reflect individuals who favor political reform and change in the current system…

The current mood indicates that none of the candidates will likely pass the 50 percent threshold needed to automatically win.

An honest post-election polling post-mortem would have mentioned some of this, and why there was supposedly an incumbent groundswell at the end.
Especially since, whatever society you’re talking about, the combination in the poll of only 33% of people saying the economy is headed in the right direction, with 90% saying “improving the economy” is an important priority, isn’t usually a precursor to an incumbent surge.
Just because America is strong, doesn’t mean that democracy is wrong.

Tim
Tim
12 years ago

So hilarious and ironic how libs want Obama to get credit for brave, intelligent, highly educated, very western (modern) Iranian citizens taking to the streets under threat of violence and/or arrest while seeking fair elections and “freedom” (libs, that’s called human nature) from government tyranny as Obama and these very same libs seek to undermine the very foundation of freedoms MOST Americans hold so dear and are seeking to expand government tyranny here in America.
Barry won’t “meddle” when it comes to Iran or North Korea but has no problem telling Israel what to do (of course Bibi ignores him TOO) and loves to meddle in the lives of every single American citizen on some level.
Obama is a fool in a world that does not suffer fools gladly and we will all pay the price for it.

Robert Balliot
12 years ago

‘Tim’ – Using the term ‘liberal’ in the way you have here is defined as ‘thinks for themselves, reads books, considers both sides of issues and not dependent on FoxNews and talk radio to formulate opinions’.

This sort of rhetoric will, unfortunately, continue to drive people away from the Republican party. The appeal to ignorance has played itself out.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

You’re grasping at straws here casting aspersions that a reputable, U.S. based polling organization is in the bag for Ahmadinejad.
For the record, the totals were:
34% Ahmadinejad
14% Mousavi
27% no opinion
15% refused to answer
8% none of the listed candidates
2% minor candidates
Certainly not proof of the validity of the election, but what do you have other than the complaints of the loser? I’d say given the disinformation we’ve been fed in the past, a little skepticism is in order.

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

“Is there really any question about Iran’s publicly-stated intention to wipe Israel off the map?”
Yes, of course there is, in fact as stated above it’s entirely false. Easily confirmed by anyone who cares to actually check (versus parroting dittohead talking points). Here’s what actually was said:

“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word “regime.” pronounced just like the English word with an extra “eh” sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase “rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods” (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want “wiped from the map”? The answer is: nothing. That’s because the word “map” was never used. The Persian word for map, “nagsheh” is not contained anywhere in his original Farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase “wipe out” ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran’s president threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” despite never having uttered the words “map.” “wipe out” or even “Israel.”

The full quote translated directly to English:
“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”
Word by word translation:
Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).
If that’s not apparent, why should we be listening to the rest of this nonsense?

Andrew
Editor
12 years ago

Telling readers that the poll predicted a greater final “margin of victory” than actually occurred, but not mentioning that 1) the polling result involved over 40% don’t know/won’t answer and 2) the pollsters themselves didn’t believe the results pointed to anything near a 2:1 victory for the incumbent, when they initially analyzed it is misleading to readers. I’m not saying they made their odd expository choices because they’re in the bag necessarily, maybe they’re just not very good at what they do.
Do you think the Iranian people have a right to a little skepticism about their government too?

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Here’s the important conclusion being ignored here (from the Washington Post article originally linked):

Iranians view their support for a more democratic system, with normal relations with the United States, as consonant with their support for Ahmadinejad. They do not want him to continue his hard-line policies. Rather, Iranians apparently see Ahmadinejad as their toughest negotiator, the person best positioned to bring home a favorable deal — rather like a Persian Nixon going to China.
Allegations of fraud and electoral manipulation will serve to further isolate Iran and are likely to increase its belligerence and intransigence against the outside world. Before other countries, including the United States, jump to the conclusion that the Iranian presidential elections were fraudulent, with the grave consequences such charges could bring, they should consider all independent information. The fact may simply be that the reelection of President Ahmadinejad is what the Iranian people wanted.

Again, casting aspersions without proof of any problem with the poll tells me quite a bit. I’d say those on the right who refuse to “consider all independent information” including info that doesn’t conveniently dove-tail with neo-con talking points aren’t really interested in the freedom of the Iranian people (when’s the invasion planned?).

Andrew
Editor
12 years ago

Without “proof”? The pollsters changed their analysis — without informaing their readers — from saying it’s not likely that any candidate can pass 50%, to telling us that the incumbent margin’s 2:1 margin of victory was smaller than the poll predicted. That’s quite a change. Why should I take their post- analysis more seriously then their pre- analysis? Also, the fact that a dictatorial regime’s reaction to criticism might be “belligerent and intransigent” isn’t a valid reason for employing different standards for analyzing a numerical results.

Monique
Editor
12 years ago

“when’s the invasion planned?”
For the twelfth of never, if we’re smart.
Conversely, Russ, when do the “invasions” of Iraq and Afghanistan end?

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

When do the ongoing occupations end? My guess is none too soon unless we start demanding it (I think you’ve mistaken me for a dyed in the wool Obama supporter – I’ve been a long time critic of his support for U.S. militarism).
Not sure what’s with the scare quotes. You don’t think we “invaded” those countries?

Russ
Russ
12 years ago

Not to get too geeky on you, but it is consistent to say that candidate had a 2 to 1 margin and not be likely to exceed 50% of the overall vote. The data are also consistent with the results because so many were undecided as you pointed out above. In any case, the real question is what proof exists that the election was stolen, not what proof exists that the election was not stolen. I’d add that the “Silence of the Bams” link above goes way further than the nuanced comments of these pollsters without any supporting data, all without question at least from most on this blog.
As near as I can tell the reasoning goes as follows:
– the election was stolen because we don’t like the winner
– Obama is bad for not interfering
– discussions of whether U.S. interference would help further the cause of reformers in Iran is less important than scoring domestic political points

Russ
Russ
11 years ago

How’s this for contrast?

“Let me repeat and state what I stated during the course of the campaign,” [President-elect Barack Obama] said. “Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable. We have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening.”

Ronald Reagan indicated today that he believed the United States should not stand in the way of foreign countries’ developing their own nuclear weapons, saying: “I just don’t think it’s any of our business.”

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