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  • Why the Left Aids Despots and Despots Aid the Left

    Posted by Shannon Love on March 28th, 2008 (All posts by )

    The recent revelation that Saddam Hussein covertly paid for the pre-Liberation trip of U.S. Congress members Jim McDermott, David Bonior and and Mike Thompson, highlights a question that I think more leftists should ask themselves.

    To whit: Why do the foreign-policy proposals of the American Left so often agree with and reinforce the naked self-interest of murderous despots and autocrats?

    No one believes that the Congressmen knew of Saddam’s funding of their trip, nor does anyone imagine that the Congressmen approved of or supported Saddam’s mad reign in the least. Yet Saddam proved more than willing to fund their trip, no strings attached, and just let the Congressmen do what came naturally to them. He found them natural allies even though they seemed sincere in their opposition to his regime. We see this same dynamic repeated in the actions of leftists over and over again.

    I have often asked leftist opponents of the Liberation to engage in the following thought experiment: How do their behavior and policy recommendations differ from those of someone working as a paid agent of Saddam, the Baath, jihadists or Iran? Phrased another way, would a paid agent argue any differently than they do?

    After all, such an agent couldn’t just come out and say what a great guy Saddam is/was. Such a message would not find acceptance. Instead, the agent would need to argue circumspectly. The surest tactic avoids talking about the nature of the enemy and instead seeks to undermine public confidence in America itself. If people lose trust in American leaders, American institutions or American justifications, then they would not support the Liberation. By shifting the debate to one about America (or western liberal democracies in general) the agent accomplishes Saddam’s goal of preventing liberation without ever bringing Saddam into the picture.

    I’ve never had anyone answer the question directly. They usually just act offended and go on the offensive. The only real defense I’ve gotten depends on the idea that Saddam (or Al-Qaeda, Iran, etc.) wanted us to invade as part of byzantine strategy to draw us into an elaborate trap. I usually point out that only comic-book super-villains try such risky strategies.

    I think it clear that ever since WWII (and massively since the ’60s) the Left in the free world has done the dirty work of despot after despot. Every enemy of the free world has always been able to count on the Left’s energetic efforts to promote the very same policies in the free world that the despots would like to see.

    Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Min, Pol Pot, Kim-il Sung, Castro, Kaddafi, Arafat, Khomeni, et al all found natural and (most important) uncoordinated allies in the western Left. Pol Pot could have never seized Cambodia and killed 1-in-5 Cambodians if American leftists hadn’t cut off all western support for those fighting him. Had the Left won the policy arguments over Iraq during the last 30 years, one could reasonably extrapolate that Saddam would today be the nuclear-armed ruler of a combined Iraq and Kuwait.

    Why this accidental alliance? I think it has to do with the social and political role that leftists have carved out for themselves in the free world.

    For complex reasons which I won’t address now, leftists now think of their proper role as being negative critics of western society and politics. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that they oppose the policy of America, whatever that policy happens to be at any particular time. They do not do so because they disagree with the details of any particular policy but rather because of their self-appointed role as critics and moral consciences. They don’t see themselves in any other role. They must either oppose or remain silent.

    With this self-imposed restriction, they can only be a part of major events by mindlessly opposing whatever the rest of America wants to do.

    We can see this pattern most clearly in the shifts that occur in leftist arguments that trail shifts in majority or rightist policies. When Mao ruled China and American policy was hostile to Mao, leftists urged engagement. They ignored or downplayed the threat that Mao poised to his own people and the rest of the world. No one talked about Tibet. After China reformed, and America began to engage, suddenly the Left grew very critical of China and suddenly discovered that China had invaded Tibet in 1962. Numerous other examples like this one exist.

    Evil and despotic regimes eventually come into conflict with America (and the rest of the free world). When that happens, America enacts policies to contain or eliminate the despotic regime. The regime, of course, opposes those polices. Unfortunately, leftists, in their role as mindless, automatic critics, oppose those policies as well. The political interests of the despots and the Left naturally fall into perfect sync with no communication or even sympathy between the two.

    Since Vietnam, the enemies of America have known that they could reliably plan on the Left’s mindless opposition to whatever response America made. They refer to the effect constantly in their public pronouncements, internal debates and training materials. They make plans based on the Left’s de facto assistance in the same way that a general plans based on geography. Modern terrorist strategy hinges on the key understanding that the more innocent people terrorists kill, the harder the Left will work to accomplish the terrorists’ goals.

    When Saddam covertly funded congressman McDermott, Bonior and Thompson’s trip to Iraq he knew he would get the results he wanted, because he could easily predict the reflexive behavior of the American Left. He didn’t have to communicate with them or induce them towards any stance at all. He just needed to give them a highly visible platform and they would do his work for him. Today, those seeking to destroy Iraq’s nascent democracy likewise can plan on the Left to behave in the same clockwork manner.

    A free society needs thoughtful and flexible critics but a Left whose responses have become as predictable as the salivation of Pavlov’s dogs cannot fulfill that role.

     

    32 Responses to “Why the Left Aids Despots and Despots Aid the Left”

    1. fred lapides Says:

      and how many junkets to Saddam et al from GOP? Two weeks ago, Rev Moon-a felon–funded trip for Jeb Bush to South American despot.
      http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/moon.html

      the problem with this post: too broad a brush paints all on the left of center, congress, Dems et al as selling out to dictators when in fact such stuff is not unusual for both conservatives and liberals.

      Who sided with Saddam in the Iran war? The then president Bush

    2. Patrick Fitzsimmons Says:

      An alternative explanation is that the left is anti-Pentagon and anti-Red State. It’s simple politics. If Bush had overwhelming success in Iraq, it would have cemented a Republican majority for years to come. But his failure has made a democrat victory a certainty. Does the left complain about civilian deaths and call for strict rules of engagement because they really care about Iraqis? Or because it’s in their political interest? The incentives are perverse on both sides. The right has an unhealthy interest in getting us into wars. The left has an unhealthy interest in making sure those wars end up in quagmire.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      …too broad a brush paints all on the left of center, congress, Dems et al as selling out to dictators

      It’s a blog post, not a book. I would say that the left most half of the democrats those in the Ted Kennedy, John Kerry neighborhood, can be safely counted on to do what despots desire every time. They advance the cause of despots against the interest of the U.S. They do so only to secure their own political influence because otherwise they would just have to sit down and shut up.

      Conservatives by contrast use despots when necessary to advance the interest of the U.S. We supported Stalin against Hitler and Saddam against the Iranians both because a victory by their opponents was considered worse than propping them up. It’s an entirely different behavior.

    4. Vince P Says:

      The right has an unhealthy interest in getting us into wars.

      This is funny. Why do war critics seem to lack the understanding that the Jihadis are at war against us. It’s not a question if the right *wants* (what a stupid thing to say) war… we’re at war. They’re at war with us.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      Patrick Fitzsimmons,

      The right has an unhealthy interest in getting us into wars.

      I agree with Vince P, it’s an interesting conceit that wars are optional. When some one attacks you, you fight back. I think that modern strategy is to long term and to subtle for casual observers to grasp. A lot of people never wrapped their heads around the Cold War and I don’t think they can wrap their head around the War on Terror.

      It’s simple politics.

      Just saying the left does the bidding of despots because of politics really isn’t an answer. Why is it good politics for them to do so in the first place? Why isn’t advancing the interest of despots automatic suicide.

    6. Denny Says:

      Comment deleted as way off topic. Some kind anti-Obama spam –Shannon

      p.s. Spam my thread again and I will crash your server. — S

    7. Daniel Says:

      At the risk of inflaming this argument, I would suggest that a large segment of the hard left is intellectually lazy. Despots tend to use language that appeals to the populist mentality of the left, especially when they hear things like “THE PEOPLE!” and “STRUGGLE!” It is a romantic view of the world that is easy to defend. How can you be against the people in their struggle against the giants who would destroy them? How can you be for war? How can you support a multi-national corporation in its quest for filthy lucre?

      Yes, this is simplistic, but my 20 years in Berkeley, hearing this stuff spouted without real meaning has made me very suspicious of the intellect of those who, unwittingly, would do the bidding of tyrants.

    8. Anonymous Says:

      Left Wing ideology is based on laziness. It’s the perfect recipe for those who fail to think or act on their own. It’s programmed over and over into our heads: If you hate America, you are brilliant and humanitarian. You can achieve all this by not lifting a finger, but not cracking open a book. All you have to do is oppose the US, on all levels regardless of the issues, and even advocate for its desruction, then retreat to your local coffee shop with your laptop in tow and feel quite smug about your superiority over the rest of the “unwashed masses.” If you really want to know how far the Left goes in this kind of thinking, just look at gay socialist groups. They believe EVERY story about U.S. soldiers killing and raping innocent Iraqis, but they have come to Iran’s defense insisting claims that Iran executes homosexuals is a lie perpetuated by Washington’s propaganda machine. Hating America is the only thing the Left stands for today. America stands in the Left’s way of establishing universal socialism.

    9. fred lapides Says:

      I am unsure where some of these “facts” come from. As for Berkeley, the left referred to I assume are those strident students–I was a grad student at Berkeley and found that like Wisconsin etc students when young tend to be to the left. But that aside, refer please to the adults who are “left,” by which I assume you mean liberal or–lordy lord–Democrats.

      The Left went to Spain to fight fascism. The right did not. The right did not want us to go into WWI. The “left” gave us FDR and took us into a new era and out of the depression, but that is but laziness?

      I believe the pattern is that anyone who does not believe in what many believe here represent The Left.

      Now when I was last aware of the admirable Right, it was fiscally conservative, liked budgets that balanced; preferred small govt, the smaller the better, and tried to prevent the liberals from getting the nation into warl. How things have changed.

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      The Left went to Spain to fight fascism.

      And most of them tried to keep America out of the war against Fascism after Stalin signed his pact with Hitler. They were fighting for leftism not against fascism.

      he right did not.

      The American right of that era was largely isolation and viewed the conflict in Spain as a war between two evils. In retrospect, they were correct. Read Orwell’s Homage to Catalin. Had the communist dominated Republican’s won, things would have turned out just as bad if not worse.

      More to the point, the left and the democrats are not synonymous throughout American history. A vast sea change occurred in the 1960’s which caused a massive realignment. The intellectual core of the Democrats abandoned the traditional American perspective and instead adopted a European one largely influenced by fascism and communism. It is this intellectual movement that know dominates the Democrats to the near exclusion of all else that I am criticizing. After all, democratic leaders like FDR, Truman or JFK who had a positive and optimistic view of America’s role in the world, would be classified as evil neocons by most of today’s left.

      I purposely use the term leftist to distinguish the ideology from any particular political party.

    11. renminbi Says:

      Don’t like being pedantic,but their are too many spelling errors using to for too.
      For Fred:
      The Iraq- Iran war was over before Bush the Elder was even in office; if you can’t misinterpret a fact one can always make one up to suit the narrative.

      Ayn Rand called the New Left a “bunch of Fascists shouting Communist slogans”. These people are losers who resent anyone who isn’t one. Of course if you are a loser isn’t it better for one if the fault lies with a rotten society? Always someone elses fault. When I was growing up on the upper west side (no yuppies then) we had commies around.One of them enjoyed describing Einstein as an idiot; another one loved saying nasty things about any of the little girls who were pretty ( here own daughter was homely ). The malice, I think , comes from envy and resentment. They like tyrannical regimes because they like the idea of the jackboot stomping on someones face.

    12. Stephen Says:

      While not wholeheartedly agreeing with Fred, he has something of a point. Generalizing about the Left in terms suggesting it is monolithic may obscure important facets of the phenomenon Shannon is trying to get at. It is quite true that a dangerously large and influential part of the Left in the 20th century supported Stalin and others, often during their periods of greatest repression. However, important and influential Leftists publicly dissented from their fellow Leftists and criticized what they saw as a betrayal of the ideals of the Left. George Orwell is, of course, the best-known such figure. Contemporary examples would be Christopher Hitchens and Oliver Kamm.

      I’d suggest is that we see in such cases a division of the Left that, I suspect, is rooted in the tension between the classical Enlightenment and Romantic movements. The Romantic-inspired despot-supporting Left seems to have an infatuation with the will as the fundamental force in politics, which leads both to an expressivist style of politics (getting things done matters less than expressing oneself politically) and an enthusiastic embrace of despots ala Sartre. Enlightenment leftists tend to find the Romantic glorification of the will an irrational force that leads the true (in their view) Left to betray its own ideals.

      This is itself overly simple, of course. Still, it appears to me that a fundamental reality of the Left since the Bolshevik revolution is that it is not unified. Notice the way Hitchens, Kamm, and those “men of the left” who side with them are routinely denounced by other leftists as fascists–an almost exact repetition of Orwell’s own experience after the Spanish Civil War. Indeed, the Spanish Republic lost the Spanish Civil War partly because an underground civil war was fought within the Left in Spain at that time, and winning that factional war was more important to what I would call the despotic Left than was defeating Franco.

      Recognizing that there is a Left that is not inclined to support anti-Western despots is important both to understanding the Left that is so inclined, and to the pragmatic work of opposing such despots.

    13. Mark Says:

      The Left and Right are birds of a feather. Both sides are trying to fight over who gets to rule over us with an iron fist. It’s our own fault. We have allowed government to creep into every facet of our lives, and now we see it as an extension of ourselvess, as a validation for who we are. Years gone by, religious people in America, for example, would have seen government as repugnant; government was seen as dirty and something to avoid. Today, however, the religious right cannot worship without validation from Washington. Tradtionally in America, as even Alex de Tocqueville noticed, religious groups in the US were instrumental in keeping government at bay. Now there is no one to oppose Big Brother. The Left and the Right are birds of a feather. Both sides now fight to get the most attention from the beuracrats in Washington. Who is the winner in such a popularity contest? Why, the government! The rest of us lose big time, in the case of personal liberties….

    14. Shannon Love Says:

      Stephen,

      Generalizing about the Left in terms suggesting it is monolithic may obscure important facets of the phenomenon Shannon is trying to get a

      I agree, but again, this is a blog post that I try to keep under 1,000 words and not a 1,000 page book wherein I can spend 250,000 words creating a laser like description of exactly which contemporary group and intellectual lineage I am talking about. My post are already overlong for this format.

      However, important and influential Leftists publicly dissented from their fellow Leftists and criticized what they saw as a betrayal of the ideals of the Left.

      Individuals are not particularly relevant when examining broad patterns that occur over decades. I’m attempting to explain patterns of behavior using specific contemporary events as a launching point. I am also seeking to put the contemporary events into some sort of broader context.

      Labeling someone a leftist, conservative etc. doesn’t imply that you believe that the label defines that persons beliefs and behaviors completely. It merely provides a generally predictive description.

      From this perspective, as a general rule, individuals that most cogent observers would describe as “leftist” exhibit the behavior I describe more often than not.

    15. Anonymous Says:

      Interesting article here about the affinity for Castro felt by people like Sartre and Mailer. Note this line from Mailer: “One felt life in one’s cold overargued blood. … It was as if the ghost of Cortes had appeared in our century riding Zapata’s white horse.”

      I think Stephen is probably on to something with the division between the Enlightenment Left and the Romantic Left, and it seems pretty clear that the second is now the dominant force.

    16. David Foster Says:

      “Anonymous” just above was me.

    17. Mario Says:

      “When Mao ruled China and American policy was hostile to Mao, leftists urged engagement. They ignored or downplayed the threat that Mao poised to his own people and the rest of the world. No one talked about Tibet. After China reformed, and America began to engage, suddenly the Left grew very critical of China and suddenly discovered that China had invaded Tibet in 1962. Numerous other examples like this one exist.”

      Pretty clear that the Left is for what America is against and against what America is for. I always wondered what position the Left would take if the United States suddenly provided tax-run drive-thru abortion clinics. I have an inkling the Left would suddenly oppose abortions on the grounds that it’s a capitalist conspiracy.

    18. David Foster Says:

      Still on the Enlightenment vs Romantic thread, here’s an interesting passage from Aldous Huxley:

      In the field of politics the equivalent of a theorem is a perfectly disciplined army; of a sonnet or picture, a police state under a dictatorship. The Marxist calls himself scientific and to this claim the Fascist adds another: he is the poet–the scientific poet–of a new mythology. Both are justified in their pretensions; for each applies to human situations the procedures which have proved effective in the laboratory and the ivory tower. They simplify, they abstract, they eliminate all that, for their purposes, is irrelevant and ignore whatever they choose to regard an inessential; they impose a style, they compel the facts to verify a favorite hypothesis, they consign to the waste paper basket all that, to their mind, falls short of perfection…the dream of Order begets tyranny, the dream of Beauty, monsters and violence.

      (from Ape & Essence, 1949)

    19. Jim Miller Says:

      Shannon – The best explanation for this phenomena that I have seen is in Paul Hollander’s “Political Pilgrims”. In the preface to the paperback edition, he says: “. . . the more estranged a Western intellectual was from his own society, the more likely he would end up admiring other social-political systems representing a counterpart to his own.”

      In other words, intellectuals came to support, for example, Stalin not because they understood his system, but because they were unhappy with the West.

      In our time, that would explain why some of the same people favor secular leftwing dictatorships (or at least apologize for them) and Islamic theocracies.

    20. Stephen Says:

      Shannon,

      I understand that you are interested in examining broad patterns that occur over decades. I am trying to draw attention to just such a pattern. This is why I implicitly compared Orwell with Hitchens and Kamm. My suggestion is that there is a pattern here, in which the Left during moments of crisis splits into two quite distinct factions, each of which claims to represent the true Left, or at least the responsible Left. And the faction exemplified by Orwell/Hitchens/Kamm is not insignificant. After all, Tony Blair would also be a member of that faction. He certainly did and does support our effort in Iraq, and he is clearly not a right-winger.

      Moreover, if the idea is to understand why so many on the Left tend to idolize tyrants, then it is rather important to understand why others on the Left do not, and go so far as to publicly criticize such foolishness. Consider this analogy: one is studying the prevalence of a disease within a certain population. If it was found that some members of the population were resistant to the disease, would this not be an important fact, worthy of serious attention?

      I don’t at all mean this as a blanket criticism of your post. Rather, my aim is to advance the discussion, if possible, beyond mere polemics.

      Since I have offered a criticism, it is perhaps only fair that I put forward a claim to be criticized. Consider the truly remarkable lot of moralistic posturing that passes for political action among many Leftists–examples being the Code Pink grannies and Berkeley activists trying to shut down a USMC recruiting station. This sort of behavior obviously does their cause more harm than good, so why do they do it? All that such activists do accomplish is to express, as publicly as possible, their anti-war bona fides. And that appears to be the only purpose of such posturing–to express the right-mindedness, or good will (in the sense of a will aimed to the good), of the activist. Let’s call this expressivist politics.

      Now, I would argue that there is a common thread between expressivist politics and the tyrant-idolization of part of the Left. That common thread is the central importance attached to the will as a transformative political force. In the case of the tyrant, his will (sometimes fig-leafed as the collective will) is envisioned as a force operating to transform whole societies and, in time, the world. In the case of individuals engaging in expressivist politics, the will rightly expressed marks out the individual as pure, unpolluted by the corrupt political forces of the age–which is simply to shift the site of transformation from a society to the individual. Much of the Left (in numbers, probably the larger part of it) appears to be inclined to this Romantic approach to politics. However, a significant minority finds this approach, with its inherent irrationalism, repugnant. In times of crisis, the divisions between these two factions becomes a gulf; or, to use another metaphor, a cold civil war breaks out between them.

    21. Mario Says:

      “The best explanation for this phenomena that I have seen is in Paul Hollander’s “Political Pilgrims”. In the preface to the paperback edition, he says: “. . . the more estranged a Western intellectual was from his own society, the more likely he would end up admiring other social-political systems representing a counterpart to his own.””

      Or, to put it succinctly: Prosperity breeds contempt.

      As Joshua Muravchik wrote in his brilliant masterpiece “Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism” (I strongly encourage all to read it) no socialist movement was ever initiated by the “proletariat.” Socialist revolutions were always ignited by aristocrats and trust fund brats who never worked a day in their lives (Karl Marx, Che Guevera, Robert Owen, to name a few).

      There is a rich guilt issue here, as well as a stain of pathological narcisim.

    22. SOL VASON Says:

      Democracy is not an ideology. It is a Process for determining what to do next. Socialists know what to do next – they don’t need democracy except as a source of legitimacy. Socialists prefer socialist dictators over democratic legislatures.

    23. Shannon Love Says:

      Stephen,

      …if the idea is to understand why so many on the Left tend to idolize tyrants…

      Actually, the idea is to understand why the left advocates the policies that despots want enacted even though they hate them.

      This sort of behavior obviously does their cause more harm than good, so why do they do it?

      I think such counterproductive behavior serves two purposes: (1) It serves to differentiate the group from the rest of the population (2) it serves to enhance to status of individuals within the group.

      I think that the answer to the riddle of why some individual leftist oppose tyranny whenever they find it while most don’t is simply that most leftist are leftist out of psychological need to elevate their self-perception of their social status. Most leftist look at a despot like Saddam and think, “how can I use this to elevate the sovial status of my group and by extension myself?” Leftist actually interested in leftist values seek to destroy the evil.

    24. Stephen Says:

      Shannon,

      You entirely fail to answer the question. It was not why some, perhaps the majority, of Leftists idolize tyrants. It was why other, quite sincere leftists, do not. I am not a leftist at all, but I respect the thinking of Orwell, Hitchens, and Kamm, as well as Blair’s remarkable political courage. It does us on the right no benefit to pretend that we are alone in respecting such principles as: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, the rule of law, and democratic governance. Yes, I do believe the right has the better grasp of these principles. Yes, much of the left has become hostile to these principles. But that does not mean that the Left as a whole is hostile, nor that these principles are best maintained when construed as principles of the Right. I’m a right-winger, born and bred, but I am sure that no principle critical to our survival as a republic can be sustained if it is supported only by the Right.

    25. tehag Says:

      “Why do the foreign-policy proposals of the American Left so often agree with and reinforce the naked self-interest of murderous despots and autocrats?”

      I like the naive explanation: they admire and wish to emulate them. (Some, few, say differently, but if politician couldn’t lie….) McDermott, et. al., genuinely believe than Saddam solved the problem of alienation caused by Capitalism, ended racial divisiveness, reduced factionalism by forming a one-party state, etc.

      In the course of my life I watched people begin by hating America and end by becoming Communists, and proud of it. When I ask them is Stalin what you really want here; they answer yes: Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot is better than AmeriKKKan Capitalism. Why should McDermott be different because he ran for office?

      tehag

    26. Steve Johnson Says:

      Patrick Fitzsimmons suggested a good predictive model of leftist behavior earlier in the thread. The left’s foreign policy goal is to increase its power in the United States.

      Some of the examples given in this thread looked at through this lens:

      “When Mao ruled China and American policy was hostile to Mao, leftists urged engagement. They ignored or downplayed the threat that Mao poised to his own people and the rest of the world. No one talked about Tibet. After China reformed, and America began to engage, suddenly the Left grew very critical of China and suddenly discovered that China had invaded Tibet in 1962. Numerous other examples like this one exist.”

      1) China – official left position before Nixon: we must engage. Reason: engagement allows for more power to the State Department. Official left position now: we must condemn them over Tibet and issue commercial sanctions. Reason: the US / China relationship is mostly commercial, leftists don’t control WalMart so putting power over trade with China in the hands of bureaucrats increases the power of leftists (pretty much all bureaucrats) over their domestic enemies (those who are doing business with China).

      2) Iraq post Kuwait invasion – official left position: let’s talk Saddam out of Kuwait. Reason(s): several, including opposition to a military victory that would make the left’s domestic enemies (the military) look good.

      Why does the left oppose a military victory? Throughout the history of western civilization, leaders have frequently come from the military. In Europe there are no ex-generals as head executives and in the United States the last ex-general to be president was Eisenhower. The left has successfully substituted academia for the military as a source of authority. The left controls academia; they do not control the military. Opposing a victorious general is difficult. Ensuring that there are no military victories solves that problem neatly.

      Stephen:

      Consider the truly remarkable lot of moralistic posturing that passes for political action among many Leftists–examples being the Code Pink grannies and Berkeley activists trying to shut down a USMC recruiting station. This sort of behavior obviously does their cause more harm than good, so why do they do it?

      They do it to make their enemies look weak. Humans are status conscious apes. These people taunted and interfered with the the USMC and didn’t suffer any consequences. This transfers some bad-ass-ness reputation from the USMC to the Berkeley activists. Translated to individual terms – the activists walked up the toughest guy in a bar and slapped him across the face. The fact that the tough guy didn’t go after them and beat them senseless makes everyone think he’s weak (or afraid of them). Foreign dictators do the same thing. They taunt the US. They provoke the US. As long as they suffer no adverse consequences from these actions it makes the US’s military look bad. This serves the domestic political interests of the left.

    27. Vince P Says:

      Just think back to the 1992 election. Clinton attacked Bush relentless over Bush’s soft approach with China. Clinton told the world that there was no way his adminstration would treat China with such kindness if he would be elected.

      What did Clinton do once he got elected? Maintained an even softer policy toward China.

    28. Tyouth Says:

      Interesting post and comments.

      One motivation for the anti-American outlook is simply that it is easy.

      The ease with which one can (in hindsight and without the impediment of responsibility for having one’s ideas put into action) find fault with the publicized and documented actions makes taking a negative slant on “what has been done” a favorite propagandist’s “argument”. Context be damned, it is convenient. Without this tactic, the American leftist thought gets a bit thin, to say the least.

    29. Loki on the run Says:

      One motivation for the anti-American outlook is simply that it is easy.

      Not only was it easy, it was chic, trendy, and all of those things that people who believe in style over substance fall for.

    30. sol vason Says:

      Leftists think they know the answers to most problems. This is no surprise because Rightists think they know the answers, too. Leftist answers always involve direct goverment action. That is why they are called Leftist. Rightist answers usually depend on free markets or non-goernmental organizations. That’s why they are called Rightist. (sorry to state the obvious)

      Democracy is NOT an ideology. It is a PROCESS for deciding what to do next. Leftists know what to do next. For them, Democracy is an impediment. They prefer dictators because dictators have eliminated Democracy in order to do the Right Thing. Leftists, an most dictators, support elections (100% participation) because they are a splendid source of legitimacy. Dictators always need legitimacy.

      Leftists criticize the USA because it is the most democratic nation in the world. This means that Leftists have to waste time and energy convincing other people to support Leftist ideas. The price of support is always comprise and compromise is always fatal to good ideas.

      Lefists admire dictaors who do not compromise.

      Rightists don’t get upset by gov’t inertia because if they have a good idea they just spend their own money and do it. This lets them execute the idea the way they want to do it. Rightist don’t like government because it interferes with the implementation of their Good Ideas – usually for some hare-brained leftist reason. Rightists prefer governments that are not socially active but can be relied on to enforce contracts. Leftists don’t like contracts.

      Voila. The answer to your questions.

    31. sol vason Says:

      Leftist foreign policy is simple isolationism based on Fortress America. The Atlantic and Pacific are so big that no one can doubt they protect us no matter what happens in the rest of the World. Therefore Leftist Isolationists will argue any excuse to avoid Entaglement in Foreign Affaires.

      Who knows? Perhaps the US would be the same as it is today if we had not opposed Stalin and Mao. Was our opposition the glue that legitimized their totalitarian rule, or did our vigilance preserve freedom in the non-communist world?

    32. JewishAtheist Says:

      I have often asked leftist opponents of the Liberation to engage in the following thought experiment: How do their behavior and policy recommendations differ from those of someone working as a paid agent of Saddam, the Baath, jihadists or Iran? Phrased another way, would a paid agent argue any differently than they do?

      What a stupid question! First, it’s irrelevant, because what’s best for America might just coincide with what agents of Saddam wanted, and second, because you included Iran, who is one of the few countries on Earth to have greatly benefited from this stupid war. Funny how it’s so easy to rationalize Reagan’s support of Saddam, but if a leftist suggests that starting an unnecessary war to destabilize a region crucial to our national interests might be a bad idea, it’s as if we’re writing love poems to Saddam.

      Your larger point is founded on an incorrect and completely unjustified claim — that many or most “leftists” support despots. You base that on a few nuts here and there that don’t begin to represent the American left. And of course you ignore the folks on the right who think that the biggest problem with America is that we aren’t enough like Muslim theocracies. And those who think Saudi Arabia is our best friend.

      Jesus, guys. How about the slightest, tiniest assumption of good faith? Maybe we thought the war was a bad idea and continue to think that it’s unwinnable. Maybe we actually care about the thousands of American lives and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (we don’t think staying will help, btw) and the hundreds of billions of dollars? Why assume we hate America and WANT to be defeated? That’s just stupid and mean.

      What a bunch of smug ignoramuses. Try going out and talking to some typical “leftists” rather than gathering your information from Rush Limbaugh and a tour through Berkeley.