Iran’s citizens, fed up with their oppressive theocratic government, are spilling into the streets and revolting at risk of death. Meanwhile the usual suspects – from the United Nations to leftists like President Barack Obama – are assuming the usual full-prone position of acute non-interventionism.
Iranians have written to me this week to ask why the United Nations isn’t doing anything. I replied that it’s because George W. Bush isn’t around anymore to file the necessary paperwork. What Bush did, however, was set up the framework for a cultural revolution in the Middle East. And most people probably aren’t even aware of how he did it. Leaving aside the significant fact that Iran has Bush to thank for the fact that Saddam Hussein isn’t around to interfere in this fight, Bush helped to lay the groundwork for a “soft power” cultural revolution.
Compare Obama’s wish for Iranians to more or less just sort it out nicely with the words of George W. Bush to the Iranian people in 2008: “My thought is that the reformers inside Iran are brave people, they've got no better friend than George W. Bush, and I ask for God's blessings on them on their very important work. And secondly, that I would do nothing to undermine their efforts.”
And how did Bush get his message into Iran? Via the main US government funded TV network: Voice of America’s Persian News Network (PNN). The satellite television network, broadcasting out of Washington, DC, in Iran’s own language, came into existence under Bush’s watch in July 2007. It now reaches 30% of Iranian adults.
I suppose one could argue that a US government funded network might consist of American government propaganda, but from the BBC and CBC to NPR, these publicly-funded outlets are almost always the exact opposite, and rife with leftist journalists who are attracted by the theory that that a lack of corporate and private funding ought to make them more objective and less beholden to outside interests (rather than just more leftist, as a result of the ideology of the journalists who gravitate towards them). The fact that the network is free of Iranian government propaganda makes it a powerhouse for cultural change in itself.
The American government also operates Radio Farda, featuring both music and news. Launched in December 2002, the network’s Persian language programming originates in Prague and is available on the internet and via radio transmission into Iran from various transmission towers in the Middle East.