The arriviste Democrats undermining the values of America’s traditional statecraft
Barely a week after a US Reaper Drone eliminated Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and his top Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes in Baghdad on January 3, US President Donald Trump retweeted an image depicting Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer in Iranian-style headdresses in front of an Iranian flag. The tweet read, “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”
The satirical image is a scathing rebuke to America’s two top Democrats, but it carries some truth to it. In the aftermath of Soleimani’s assassination, many influential Democrats sought to portray President Trump as an impulsive and reckless leader, thirsty for a new war in the Middle East. However, it appears that they have shot themselves in the foot. In the process of their campaign to smear their political opponent, they turned into defenders of a vile terrorist whose hands were stained not only with the blood of innocents in Iran, Syria, and Iraq but also with the blood of Americans. MSNBC’s liberal anchor Chris Matthews even went as far as suggesting that to Iranians, Soleimani was a national icon—a hybrid between Princess Diana and Elvis.
“When Princess Diana died, for example, there was a huge emotional outpouring,” warned Matthews. He was like, “Elvis Presley in our culture. It turns out that this general we killed was a beloved hero of the Iranian people.”
Partisan competition can drive politicians to take irrational positions, but defending Soleimani was shameful.
Soleimani was no better than al-Qaeda and ISIS leaders Osama Bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All three of them killed innocents in cold blood to further political agendas and caliphate projects, be they Sunni or Shia. Moreover, there is documented cooperation and strategic alignment between Soleimani personally and members of al-Qaeda whom he harbored in Iran when the Iranians sought to undermine US troops in Afghanistan. Despite all of this, many reactions to Soleimani’s death seemed to insinuate that he was a man of peace who was mercilessly murdered.
The elimination of Soleimani brought out of the woodwork the reservists of the Democratic party –even retired ones. Former Secretary of State John Kerry might as well have been Iran’s Foreign Minister in his frequent television appearances commenting on the incident. On the other hand, Ben Rhodes, an Obama staffer infamous for gloating that he set up an “echo chamber” to promote the Iran Deal, has been tireless in his efforts to discredit and undermine President Trump’s Iran policy while glorifying Obama’s appeasement of the Iranian regime.
As the majority of the proponents of Obama’s Iran deal lost hope in its resurrection, Ben Rhodes continued to promote it like a guard dog left behind in an abandoned house.
After the killing of Soleimani, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Forces as a humanitarian organization. And some critics of Soleimani’s killing began to sound like they were describing the assassination of an aid worker.
The descent of some Democrats to defending Iran and Soleimani is a reflection of deep rifts within the party, between a traditional school that sees America as a vanguard of a global liberal order, and reckless, radical arrivistes who have not only abdicated political and moral responsibility but actively served as instruments of influence to defend characters with dark and bloody histories.
We must not forget that US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt rescued the world from the evils of Nazism and that his Democratic successor Harry Truman cemented the foundations of the new world order within which we have been living for the past 70 years. And lest we forget, it was the Democrats of more recent years, like Madeleine Albright, who said, “If we have to use force, it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.” Even more recently, we heard echoes of this doctrine when former National Security Advisor to President Obama, General James Jones said: “What the Trump administration did in the Soleimani case was absolutely correct.”
This school of thought lost traction after a group of political newcomers in the Obama administration began to exercise influence on US foreign policy. These new staffers even systematically blocked veteran US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, the president’s then-envoy to Afghanistan, from seeing the Commander-in-Chief. Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered scathing criticism of President Obama in his memoirs, writing, in reference to Obama’s Afghanistan policy, that the President “doesn’t believe his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
What we see today is the extension and prosperity of this camp’s worldview empowering social media pundits and inexperienced analysts who are, in growing numbers, undermining the values of America’s traditional statecraft while echoing Iran’s propaganda.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the General Manager of Al Arabiya and Al Hadath.