Tigerhawk notices that Iran is in the middle of a huge internal crackdown on dissidents. Are the Ayatollahs afraid of something? Some have argued that if the US wasn't stirring up trouble for the Ayatollahs, the nascent flowers of democracy in Iran would be in full bloom by now. So is the crackdown America's fault? Tigerhawk says, "I doubt that American money has 'led to the arrest of thousands' of people. ... the mullahs will only act against dissent if they believe that repression is in their interest. That calculation is independent of the impact of American aid." In other words, the Ayatollahs would be repressive simply because they are. It's the nature of the regime.
But there is a strange tendency, especially among those who would otherwise claim that America is everywhere declining, to ascribe to it an indirect omnipotence. Everything is America's fault. Is the climate changing? Are people in Gaza starving? Is there no help for those being killed in Darfur? Are the Ayatollahs beating up on student demonstrators? Look no further for the cause. It's all America's fault. It's always America's fault.
An unbreakable chain of causality is constructed from Washington politics to the smallest butterfly fluttering in the Amazon. It is the reverse Butterfly Effect; and the logical consequence is that if America does nothing -- if preferably it stops breathing -- then all the evils of the world will return to the lockbox whence they came. John Howard, speaking in Washington, likened this attitude to that of a frightened child. "And it's a war that confronts us all. Those who imagine that somehow or other you can escape it by rolling yourself into a little ball and going over in the corner and hoping that you're not going to be noticed are doomed to be very, very uncomfortably disappointed."