November 19, 2022 | The Dispatch

Iran, America, and the Democratic Impulse

The collapse of the theocracy could change American attitudes about promoting democracy.
November 19, 2022 | The Dispatch

Iran, America, and the Democratic Impulse

The collapse of the theocracy could change American attitudes about promoting democracy.

Excerpt

The United States being the engine and guardian of democracy abroad is no longer a compelling image for many Americans, though the sentiment isn’t completely kaput. The war in Ukraine has reanimated the idea, as bipartisan consensus is willing to supply matériel and intelligence to the struggling democracy under siege. Trumpian Republicans who oppose this aid often cite Ukraine’s corruption and illiberal politics—further proving the opposite of what they intend: that the United States’ inclination to align with fellow democracies is in the country’s DNA.

But Ukraine might still be the exception. Vladimir Putin brought on a perfect storm. Donald Trump’s bromance with Putin, Trump’s soft spot for right-wing authoritarianism, and the Russian’s self-declared status as the guardian of conservative cultural causes guaranteed that the American left’s penchant to run from hot and cold wars would at least pause with the Ukrainian conflict. It might return depending on whether American support becomes more costly. Obviously the hard left in Congress is willing to cut back American support, especially if pressures mount to trim domestic spending, but the majority on both sides is for now willing to keep the arms flowing and support the expansion of NATO to include Sweden and Finland.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @ReuelMGerecht. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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Issues:

Iran Iran Human Rights