The protests in Iran show the neocons were right

June 17, 2009




Daniel Finkelstein has written a seminal piece in the Times today, and I would urge you all to read it. Danny has always been one of my political idols the man is a genius – pure and simple. He was a great loss to the party, but at least we can still enjoy his insight and musings on programs like newsnight and in his Times articles.

I am sure you are all aware of the demonstrations that are going on in Iran right now, the people are in open revolt at the fraudulent election and they are yearning for change. Danny has this to say about what he sees is going on;

“I am a neocon, and this declares my belief in two things – that in every country in the world, wherever it may be and whatever its traditions, the people yearn for liberty, for free expression and for democracy; and that the spread of liberty and democracy (not necessarily through the barrel of a gun) is the only real way to bring peace to the world. I believe that what we are seeing on the streets of Iran now is a vindication of these neoconservative ideas.

For years we have been told, we neocons, that other cultures don’t want our liberty, our American freedom. Yankee go home! But it isn’t true. Because millions of Iranians do want it. Yes, they want their sovereignty, and demand respect for their nation and its great history. No, they don’t want foreign interference and manipulation. But they still insist upon their rights and their freedom. They know that liberty isn’t American or British. It is Iranian, it is human.

The protests for Mr Mousavi do not just expose the lie of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory. They expose the lie that there is something Western in wanting democracy and human rights.”

When we liberated the Iraqi people from dictatorship the people did not know how to deal with freedom at first because their rights had been so brutally oppressed by Saddam Hussein. This largely led to the insurgency, and the violence that engulfed the country for years. However once people worked out that they had to work together and respect each other in order to move things forward violence plummeted and people became happier.

Iraq is now a flowering democracy and an inspiration to millions of others across the Middle East who continue to suffer under oppressive regimes. I like Danny believe that what we are seeing in Iran is as a direct consequence of the situation in Iraq. However as Danny says:

“the frustrating truth is that there are limits to what can be achieved by outsiders. Instead we have to wait as national movements, one by one, stand up for their rights. And sometimes, tragically, we even have to stand aside as those movements are crushed by their oppressors.

We may now see that happen in Iran. But at least we know this. The people of Iran might not get what we have. But in their millions, that is what they want. Really, they are just like us.”