The National Review Is Screwing Over Brave Iranian Protesters...For a Second Time

Attempts at supporting Iranians will fall flat as long as the Right's paternalistic foreign policy mindset endures.

Always a strong performer in the 'Contradictory-and-Imperialistic-Ramblings-on-Foreign-Policy' Awards, the National Review has really outdone itself this time. We’re talking cream of the crop stuff here.

What put them a nose ahead of the rest? A front-page link to this little morsel, from a WSJ op-ed today titled, "An Alternative Nobel."

Suppose this year's Nobel Peace Prize had gone to the scores of Iranians now on trial for having protested the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June. For the three defendants who were sentenced to death over the weekend, a Nobel might have made all the difference in the nick of time. At a minimum, it could have validated their struggle.

Obviously, the problem is not in the statement. Giving the Nobel to Iranians would have held immense political significance. It would have both spotlighted the courage of dissidents and served as a subtle critique of Ahmadinejad. It may indeed have even "validated" the struggle to a degree.

No, the big insult here is the messenger. Directly following the Iranian elections, the National Review was chief among the media outlets rabidly advocating American intervention/interference in the country. They essentially spearheaded a campaign (one buttressed both by the Weekly Standard and the Washington Post) to relegate Iranians to a sort of helpless role within the America’s media narrative: "Without our help, they are doomed to suffer under this oppression forever!" went the braying punditry.

NR’s Jonah Goldberg was perhaps the worst perpetrator. In a June 17 piece, he classified Iranians as "huddled masses…yearning to breathe" (as if their wheezing wasn’t due to decades of U.S.-sponsored meddling) and asked Obama to "lift a finger for democracy." Really, just a finger? That’s all it would take?

The underlying assumption of Goldberg’s argument was that the U.S., simply by virtue of its status as a "colossus," was in a position to reach down and pull up a battered Iranian populace. Our indisputable superiority in all things democratic (though, bizarrely, Goldberg seemed to think we are not even maintaining our democracy that well) allows us to act on behalf of Iranians, because let’s face it. We know what’s best for everyone.

We don’t.

Anyway, the same jackasses who were advocating the essential suspension (or erasure) of Iranian sovereignty four months ago are now whining about how these courageous people have been robbed by President Obama of their rightful recognition.

Hmmm…wasn’t it that same recognition folks on the Right were working so hard to destroy this summer?

Byard Duncan is a contributing writer and editor for AlerNet.