Depending upon your concept of the world: universalist democratic socialist, or hierarchical tribalist, or utilitarian economist, you might see US policy toward Iran in a different light.
One thing is for sure: we are accomplishing for militant islam, on behalf of Iran, precisely what the Persians and the radicals have always desired — a restoration of the empire from the mediterranean to the Sino-Hindu border, and a vehicle for concentrating wealth via oil revenues that will surpass both the classical era’s means of concentrating wealth via agriculture, the renaissance era’s means of concentrating wealth through shipping, or the industrial era’s means of concentrating wealth through institutional capitalism and industrial production.
We will have an expansionist, anti-rational, totalitarian civilization, operating on non-market principles, with which much of the developed world cannot compete.
We will lose the dollar as a reserve currency, and as a Petro-currency, and finish the cycle of credit expansion, finish the Keyenesian economic era, and eradicate the ability of the west to pursue debt-dependent social programs. We will see europe need to remilitarize just when it cannot afford to. We will see the USA split between a hostile and patient china and a hostile and impatient islam, just when the USA is itself split by political, regional and racial discord.
One cannot ‘spread democracy’. One can only spread capitalism and consumerism. Democracy is a unique property of the west, because the west is the only civilization to have broken familial and tribal bonds — having forbidden intermarriage for centuries. Democracy will never succeed except among families, tribes, villages and small cities. It is antithetical to human nature. Even capitalism is ‘democratic’. Nations adopt democratic republicanism when the middle class requires access to politics, and when the antiquarian political systems can no longer accomodate the increased number of people with economic interests. Republican democracy is not ideological, it is simply a necessity born of increases in the numbers of economic interests.
For these reasons I did, and do, favor war in the middle east on an entirely humanistic, as well as economic, as well as cultural basis: We have spent five hundred years raising humanity out of agrarian ignorance and poverty, through the spread of rationalism, science, technology and the capitalist institutions that make industrial production possible. We must treat Islam as we did the Soviets and the Chinese communists: a militaristic, expansionist form of anti-market regressiveism. A threat to our existing way of life, by a mystical, tribal and familial empire, its culture and religion.
Until the last, most primitive civilization has joined the movement, they are a regressive threat to all of humanity. They are the latest luddite movement — yet another variation on Marxism, and nothing more. An attempt by existing power structures, and existing cultural investments, to hold onto antiquity despite the obvious failure of their culture in the contrast to others.
And while my libertarian friends do not like battle drums, they too often ignore the fact, that one must defend one’s market from non-market forces. Markets of the peculiar composition in the west, were made by man, by intent, not by accident.
The institution of property itself requires defense of not only the property itself, but the institutions of property, and the market itself. Our libertarianism evolved within that set of institutions. And within that set of Institutions it is viable. That does not mean the same principles apply without. Those broader threats pose to high a risk.
Ideology is for children living under the convenience of those institutions.
Although I would argue that the attempt to contain Germany actually caused the suicide of the west, our attempts to contain the Russians, Chinese and now islam has not been so.