The fiction of the universalist Left and the universalist Right is the notion that the best human values, including that alleged “longing for freedom,” are somehow transcendent and universal. It’s one reason why so many otherwise- mart people fell head over heels for the Arab Spring. They thought the “longing for freedom” was emerging, as opposed to a will to power and a thirst for vengeance. Instead, the Arab Spring brought forth the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, ISIS in Syria, and a vicious war in Libya.
This universalism is a reason why both previous presidents made serious mistakes abroad. As I’ve written before, President Bush was idealistic about our alleged friends — believing they wanted liberty more than they wanted to settle old scores — and failed to adequately plan and prepare for the Iraq that would emerge after the American invasion. President Obama was idealistic about our enemies, believing that if you addressed their “legitimate grievances” against the U.S. and Israel, then the alleged universal values would have a chance to prevail against the forces of hate.