Iran’s protesters see what should be obvious to all
There’s a geopolitical truth that dares not speak its name these days — except by Iranian protesters demanding freedom from the mullahs who rule with a Koran in one hand and an AK-47 in the other.
The word on the street from Tehran is imbued with a moral clarity and political wisdom that eludes Western foreign policy sophisticates who advocate appeasement towards the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The American airstrike that killed arch-terrorist Qassem Soleimani brought forth a predictable gnashing of teeth from all the usual suspects. “Reckless and lawless,” proclaimed outgoing British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Prominent Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused President Donald Trump of “trying to goad us into a military conflict”.
And here at home, Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi went so far as to call for the trashing of Australia’s alliance with the US. “We cannot be an ally of the imperial war machine in the face of Trump’s warmongering,” Faruqi declared.
Yet these progressive predictions of doom and destruction proved to be utterly wrong. When it came, the Iranian response to the Soleimani killing was a symbolic affair, fastidiously calibrated to save Iranian face without inflicting a single US casualty.
The mullahs were clearly intimidated by Trump’s vow to wreak havoc on Iran if the hair on a single American soldier’s head was mussed. Contrary to conventional wisdoms voiced from think tanks and newsrooms in London, New York and Melbourne, American deterrent power was once again in play.
But progressive detestation for Trump runs so deep that any public expression of support for any presidential action would be tantamount to political heresy. And this kneejerk compulsion to oppose the President at every turn propels leftists into very dodgy moral territory.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have shown little interest in the Revolutionary Guard’s bloody track record of international terrorism that includes the murder of Iranian dissidents in Europe and a plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat in Washington, DC. And after the airstrike that killed Soleimani and a Shia militia leader who orchestrated the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, congressional Democrats passed a motion that condemned not the Iranian mullahs but Trump.
Not even the destruction of a civilian airliner by the Revolutionary Guard’s trigger-happy anti-air missile battery was enough to elicit condemnation where condemnation was due. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttiegieg absolved the Iranians of blame for their incompetence, blaming this deadly catastrophe on “unwanted military tit for tat”.
But it was Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale who plumbed the depths of moral cowardice by faithfully parroting the propaganda line being peddled by the mullahs in Tehran.
“Tensions are escalating thanks to Trump’s illegal assassination of Iranian General Soleimani, and the devastating shooting down of PS752 shows how volatile the situation is,” the senator proclaimed.
In other words, Australian Greens think the Revolutionary Guard who actually blew that Ukrainian airliner out of the sky is without blemish; the true culprit can be found at the White House.
Contrast the warped moral compass of Western progressives against the clarion calls for freedom being voiced across Iran. While Corbyn, Buttiegieg and Di Natale hem, haw and temporise from afar, Iranian pro-democracy activists are putting life and limb on the line to protest against the venal incompetence of the mullah-cratic regime. One particularly telling video clip shows thousands of demonstrators flooding the streets of the Iranian capital, chanting: “They lie that our enemy is America. Our enemy is right here.”
When it finally comes, the liberation of the Iranian people from jihadi despotism will have been purchased in blood. In recent months the Revolutionary Guard has murdered 1500 demonstrators across the country, with untold thousands more cast into prison.
For his part, Trump has voiced unequivocal support for these brave Iranians who dare to rise up against tyranny and demand their freedom. “Your courage is inspiring,” the President declared in a Farsi-language tweet that garnered the greatest number of likes in Twitter history.
The President’s words should bring joy to the hearts of all liberty lovers, particularly when compared to Barak Obama’s contemptible silence as Soleimani directed the brutal repression of Iranian pro-democracy activists in 2009.
So what is the ultimate truth that is so obvious to Iranian protesters while remaining so elusive to progressive foreign policy elites in London, Washington and Canberra?
It’s simple really. The only true remedy to the plague of Iranian internal tyranny and external terrorism is regime change. The Islamic Republic must be cast on to the rubbish heap of history.
Iranian pro-democracy activists have the courage to declare this loudly and clearly in the face of the Revolutionary Guard’s guns, cudgels and boot heels. From the safety and comfort of our Australian democracy, we at least should have the basic decency to agree.
Ted Lapkin is a government relations strategist and former ministerial adviser in the Abbott government.