Literary entrepreneur Dave Eggers laments that his home state of California voted for Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama in the Super Tuesday Democratic primary.
With Mr. Obama’s newness comes a certain element of chance, and Mr. McCain, though he leans ever more doctrinaire, is still erratic enough that on the Internet he can be found singing — to a classic Beach Boys tune, mind you — about bombing yet another sovereign nation.
Eggers’s defense of Iraqi or Iranian “sovereignty” is made in passing, but it is one of the more obnoxious ticks of the Left. It is part of a Democratic Party tradition that goes back at least as far to Henry Wallace, up through George McGovern and to the supporters of Barack Obama today. This is the “Hands Off [fill in the rogue state]” crowd, which always sees America as the root of international instability and promises that if only we “engage” our enemies and “restrain” our warlike impulses, the world will be a more peaceful place. It is this world-view that places such stock in the wondrous “sovereignty” of a theocratic, terror-state like the Islamic Republic.
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq did not have sovereignty for the international community to violate. He had committed genocide, repeatedly, against his own people. He stood in defiance of 17 Security Council Resolutions regarding his weapons of mass destruction programs. He had illegally invaded his neighbors on two occasions and provided assistance to terrorists around the world. All of these actions warranted intervention according to the very international legal mandates that liberal internationalists so revere and that the supposedly reckless neo-cons denigrate at every turn.
Iran has a similar rap sheet. Neither Hussein-era Iraq nor present-day Iran — authoritarian states that do not rule by popular consent and flout international law as a matter of routine — is “yet another sovereign nation” alongside Canada, Hungary, or Botswana. To presume otherwise represents a grave and a deeply pernicious mode of thinking, yet it is one shared now amongst the Democratic base and its presumed nominee.