Many progressives understandably suspect that Trump has ulterior motives in backing the protesters and that his confrontational policies could drag us into another Middle Eastern conflict. We’ve seen this movie before — the Clinton and Bush administrations’ policies of supporting Iraqi exiles eventually led the United States into a war in that country. No one wants a repeat of that fiasco, yet Trump is surrounded by aides, such as Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who are unrepentant supporters of the Iraq War.
These are all good reasons to be suspicious of what the Trump administration is doing — but they are not a good reason to be standoffish in our support of the Iraqi dissidents. Big-D Democrats should support Iran’s small-D democrats even while continuing to criticize Trump’s incoherent Iran policy.
We should be vocal not because of who our enemies are (which is all that Trump seems to care about) but because of who we are. We are a nation dedicated to the “self-evident” proposition that all men and women “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” When people in other countries risk their lives to vindicate those rights, we owe them moral support at the very least. If we fail to provide even that, we have lost our way as a country.