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June 29, 2009

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All I can say is...

"D'oh!"

Why the very people who will brook no criticism of their own country, even when it's fully justified, should fail to understand this is a mystery.

Because they have genuine pride in their own great country, not fake pride in some dungheap that anybody with any sense would have gotten the hell out of long ago.

The reason they don't identify it with an endorsement by Hamas is that we're not Hamas, we're America. People should want to be endorsed by us in their minds. Why our past meddlings shouldn't negate that is another mystery.

But I don't think it's the humiliation or national pride that that turn native citizens against their invaders, occupiers or liberators. Europe sure didn't mind our meddling in WWII. It's the stuff that comes after the liberation. Europe got tired of the American soldiers rather quickly. But in Iraq the liberation has been followed by six years of bombings, killings, torture, and so on.

Why the very people who will brook no criticism of their own country, even when it's fully justified, should fail to understand this is a mystery.

Not isn't. The very fact that you have the this attitude, and the source that it arises from, is the very thing that keeps them seeing it; they've been aculturated in such a way that they must be blind to another's use of it for it to work.

"Only the Church has martyrs"* (cleric in The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco).
Same mindset, different age.

*on the question of whether heretics dying for their faith willingly could spark a movement that the church could not handle.

I think it's got to be bad faith. Every single book on Iran, including the most US-centric (Pollack's The Persian Puzzle, for example), begins with a discussion of Iranian nationalism and suspicion of outside meddling. Sure, some commenters may have become so enthusiastic about the protests that they lost sight of the history, but a lot of the conversation around the Iranian election seemed to be domestic grandstanding---and even setting Obama up for catastrophic blowback.

Not really the topic, but can we all just stop for a moment and give thanks that Daniel Larison exists? A wise, principled, thoughtful conservative with fantastic writing chops . . . the Times sure dodged a bullet when they hired Douthat instead.

In the same way that most evangelical fundamentalists believe that those who don't share their faith nonetheless know it to be correct, yet do not follow it due to wickedness or stubbornness, I think that the most ardent American nationalists believe that people in other countries do in fact think that America is the most awesomest country ever, but they just won't admit it in public.

Under that interpretation, when Iranians ask that Americans not interfere in their domestic affairs, they're just engaging in reverse psychology.

"do not see how an American endorsement of a candidate in another country's election might be viewed with similiar and perhaps even greater distaste by the people in that country."
I think it goes along with the viewpoint that anyone who doesn't yearn for our endorsement/intervention is subhuman.

And a lot of it is a willful play to ignorance. The presumption being that Joe Sixpack doesn't know any history. They are perfectly aware that because of history Obama won't be able to act in a way that pleases Joe, but rather than viewing that as a reason to be discreet, they threat it as an opportunity to undermine.

A wise, principled, thoughtful conservative with fantastic writing chops . . . the Times sure dodged a bullet when they hired Douthat instead.
If you read Larison only on matters relating to foreign policy or entirely secular matters of domestic policy, this assessment is a fair one. But on anything tangentially connected to religion the man comes across as totally unhinged - although, in fairness, Douthat does so on religious issues as well, although he's usually more polite about it.

Sadly, more than a few super-Americans believe so much in what is best about our country that they can't get around the notion that not everyone else, particularly people who love their own countries, sees things the same way.

The left is overcome with the notion that the right wants to invade Iran. I haven't such anyone of consequence say that, but I haven't been online much lately either--maybe Boehner submitted a Declaration of War and I just missed it. I suspect the criticism of Obama is partly opportunism--unique, of course, to the right--and partly a belief that Obama is non-confrontational to the point of abject weakness, and his silence is proof of that fact.

Silence was the better policy. Too bad Obama didn't stay with it. Whether his silence was calculated or whether he is naturally inclined to view widespread repression as a 'realist' and make whatever accommodations are needed with the repressors remains to be seen. Recent events in Iran really don't tell us much about Obama.

Regardless, on the narrow point of actively aiding and abetting the protesters, even if doing so succeeded in doing more than upping the body count by a wide margin, the best possible result, from a super-American's perspective, would be a new government permanently tainted with the stamp "Made in America." That might work for blue jeans; it's a solid loser for governing an Islamic country.

There's more trouble putting oneself in others' boots out there than's easy to believe some days. It's true, though. Don't forget to put yourself in their boots, too! ;-). It's especially common in aristocratic cultures like the Old South and, ironically, Iran.

Many aristocratic communist elites in China a few years ago felt a sense of injustice that their country's proposed wireless standard was rejected. They just don't understand why so many countries' reps were so down on a standard that would've given their gummint the keys to the whole world's wireless conversation. And, the Union in the Civil War was lucky in that lack in Southern leaders; it kept the border states from leaving, and the world against the Confederacy.

And a lot of those same people thought that Iraqis would adore us because we had overthrown Saddam Hussein, apparently without thinking: however much they hated him, it's deeply humiliating to have someone else overthrow your dictator and occupy our country.

You don't get it. They still think the Iraqis adore us because we overthrew Saddam Hussein. Sure, a bit of unpleasantness followed, but we won during the surge and now Iraq is a stunning success to be emulated everywhere. You don't believe me? Try reading any Krauthammer etc. column on the subject.

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