The "Democracy-Promotion" Left 
Steve Clemons' appearance on this Rachel Maddow Show was perhaps the best example in our MSNBC sample of what we may call the "democracy-promotion" left and the regime-change reality that lies behind the rhetoric of "democracy." "'[B]randing' technology is a tool of psychological manipulation," one Kazakhstani analyst observes, where the discrediting of elections via allegations of fraud, combined with the "losers' ability to mobilize the discontented voters" and the feedback transmitted to targeted countries from Western leaders and media helped to bring about the rapid "transformation of political regimes in some of the Soviet successor states….The counter-elite works hard to synchronize public consciousness by imposing behavioral and identification matrices on society as a form of fashionable behavior; external and internal forces employ psychological, semiotic, and other mechanisms to plant conscious and subconscious identifications with the opposition and its aims in the minds of the people."
Here we'd add that this "branding" process works both ways: "conscious and subconscious identifications with the opposition and its aims" affects not only the population in the targeted country but also the populations in the countries doing the targeting. As Iran has been a top priority of a U.S. destabilization and regime-change campaign for several years, the blowback effects on U.S. and allied populations have hardly been trivial. Once the regime-change campaign began to be branded as support for Iran's burgeoning democratic movement, and any opposition to the campaign as opposition to democracy and as support for the murderous tyrants of the clerical regime, much of the Western left lowered its guard and rushed into the open arms of Iran's "pro-democracy" movement. In this context there also have arisen opportunistic individuals who lay guilt-trips on the left, and who bug leftists to explain how, as activists working within an Enlightenment tradition, they could fail to support "pro-democracy" movements inside Iran, and who demand that leftists prove their bona fides by public displays of "solidarity" with Iran's opposition.
Yet, when it came to the masses struggling for their rights in Honduras—where the struggle is against a U.S. and transnational oligarchy as much as it is the Honduran—these voices were flat-out ignored. For example, the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), which was born in opposition to the coup regime but grew rapidly as a movement to incorporate all forms of resistance to the institutionalized repression of Honduran life, and which makes a stream of reports and statements available through its Resistencia website, has been mentioned only three times by major English-language newspapers (once apiece in the U.K.'s Financial Times, Independent, and Guardian), and never by a major U.S. newspaper.  The same lack of interest in the Honduran resistance movement has been true of the English-language media as a whole. Thus it is not that there are too few solid, heart-rending accounts of the abuses and serious human rights violations carried out by the coup regime, whether originating from within Honduras or picked-up and re-circulated by sympathetic Western sources. It is just that giving voice to the popular resistance and reporting about the structural and political violence against the masses in this nearby U.S.-supported state fall outside the interests of the establishment media as well as the "democracy-promotion" left.
Clearly, while the causes of human rights and democracy in Iran caught the liberal U.S. media's attention in 2009-2010, human rights and democracy in Honduras did not. But when we push our inquiry even further out into allegedly left opinion, beyond the New York Times and MSNBC, we find that the same pattern predominates.
2. Danny Postel
Danny Postel, a Chicago-based journalist, has achieved a certain Iran-related prominence for himself since the second-half of 2003, when he took to denouncing the left and progressives over what to this day he alleges is their insufficient commitment to the pro-democracy forces at work inside Iran. Like his fellow "new humanitarian," "cruise-missile left," "democracy-promotion," "nonviolent-conflict," and "war-on-terror" activists, as the United States turned to its now seven-and-one-half-year-long campaign against Iran's nuclear program after President George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech (May 1, 2003), Postel turned his sights on Iran as well. "Why are American progressives by and large silent about the situation in Iran?" he wondered. Never mind that when he posed this question, in late 2003, the United States had attacked and militarily occupied no fewer than three countries in the previous five years, including Iran's neighbors to the east and the west, and literally flooded this region of the world with its weapons and troops, causing massive losses of human life and rendering millions homeless. Nor that, during the 18 months that Bush was busy stoking war-fever over Iraq, one line that used to be heard around the Pentagon said that "Baghdad is for wimps. Real men go to Tehran." Instead, what Postel wanted to know was, not how leftists and progressives could more effectively oppose the grave threats that a rogue-superpower like the United States poses to international peace and security, but why leftists and progressives weren't coming out in greater numbers to proclaim their solidarity with the liberal dissenters in Iran.
Postel's turn towards Iran at the moment and in terms most opportune for his career and for the U.S. establishment follows a longstanding pattern. Thus his first major campaign to come to our attention was his support for NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia (though read by Postel as support for Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population against "murderous nationalism and death-squad terror"), a war he has since called "one of liberal internationalism's finest moments," because it advanced the "humanitarian interventionist paradigm." Postel also edited a collection of disputes about this war (the title of which has changed over many years, and has yet to be published).
In Postel's many interviews and profiles for different publications, he interviewed Bogdan Denitch for In These Times (2001), Denitch having supported NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia. He profiled Michael Ignatieff for the Chronicle of Higher Education (2002), an inveterate "New Humanitarian" who also supported NATO's 1999 war as well as the U.S. war on Afghanistan, and "one of the chief architects of the view," Postel wrote, "that foreign policy should be guided not only by strategic self-interest ('realism') but by a commitment to human rights—a commitment that, when feasible and all else fails, must be backed up by military force." He profiled a group of scholars whom he called "Islamic Studies' Young Turks" (2002), but each of whom, at least in Postel's rendering, came-off as a kind of comprador intellectual (though of course Postel called them "dissidents"), closer to Bernard Lewis than to Edward Said, the former a man whose work focuses on the "internal problems facing the Arab-Islamic world," rather than on the "legacy of empires," the latter the man against whom the "Young Turks" are rising-up. And Postel interviewed Jürgen Habermas for The Nation (2002), a man who supported the first war on Iraq (1991), supported NATO's 1999 war on Yugoslavia, and who even told Postel that he would support another U.S. war on Iraq (launched only three months later, at it turned out), if approved by a vote of the Security Council—and who then added, without a hint of irony, that when "Confronted with crimes against humanity, the international community must be able to act even with military force, if all other options are exhausted." (Remember the First Law of Humanitarian Hypocrisy: Lofty principles apply only to them, never to us.)
Postel analyzed a variety of voices from within the U.S. foreign policy establishment for The American Prospect, with a heavy emphasis on the right-wing's pragmatic objections to the 2003 U.S. war on Iraq ("I asked Paul Gigot, the [Wall Street] Journal's editorial-page editor, for an explanation."). He also profiled the U.S. neoconservative icon Francis Fukuyama for openDemocracy, and introduced Fukuyama at an openDemocracy symposium that discussed his work. "Fukuyama," Postel wrote in his profile, "exhorts the US to confront [its] errors head-on, realising that they have 'created an enormous legitimacy problem for us', one that will damage American interests 'for a long time to come'." His interview with Fred Halliday (2005) was an undisguised attack on the left, including the New Left Review and one of its editors, Tariq Ali: "My view is that the kind of position which the New Left Review and Tariq have adopted in terms of the conflict in the Middle East is an extremely reactionary, right-wing one," Halliday told Postel. "I think Tariq is objectively on the Right. He's colluded with the most reactionary forces in the region, first in Afghanistan and now in Iraq. He has given his rhetorical support to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq—who have no interest in democracy or in progress for the people of Iraq whatsoever….The position of the New Left Review is that the future of humanity lies in the back streets of Fallujah."
Attacking the left, siding with the U.S. establishment while pretending to be an independent critical voice, and carrying out this agenda from within left-liberal circles—this has been Danny Postel's modus operandi for the past decade or longer. But in no single area of concern has Postel managed to pull-it-off with greater success than when he takes-up Iran. Thus in a short tract he published in 2006 titled Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism, Postel aggressively attacks the Western left for what he calls its "tunnel-vision obsession with U.S. imperialism." Postel is appalled that the "Western Left has been largely silent—flummoxed—about the liberal upheaval in Iran. One would have hoped to see the Iranian struggle figure prominently in the world of solidarity activism or at least get some play in the left press—especially at the high tide of unrest, during the student-led demonstrations in the streets of Tehran in June 2003, which the regime crushed in a paroxysm of repression." But shows of "solidarity" with this "Iranian struggle" weren't seen in June 2003, Postel complains. (As we've seen throughout this analysis as well as Part 1 and Part 2, shows of "solidarity" most certainly were evident in 2009-2010.) "Compared to the attention the western Left typically pays to student revolts in the Third World, the Iranian struggle has been virtually invisible on the radar screens of most leftists."
At one point in this tract, Postel scolds the Western left because the "issues atop its agenda—anti-imperialism, anti-globalization, and…anti-capitalism—are not the central concerns of the Iranian opposition," and the Western left obviously should follow the lead of the "Iranian opposition," not an independent agenda of its own. This fits well the demands of U.S. foreign policy, and is transparently anti-left. But these features of Postel's work have only enhanced his access and his ability to spread his message through the media, even left media, as when Matthew Rothschild introduced Postel to his Progressive Radio listening audience: "We discuss the likelihood of a Bush attack on Iran, and the need for U.S. progressives to ally themselves with human rights activists in Iran." Nowhere within Postel's work from 1999 through the present is there a condemnation of the U.S.-led imperial bloc with anywhere near the contempt he reserves for the Iranian regime and the Western left. The United States can threaten, sanction, and destabilize regimes, and even bomb, invade, and militarily occupy whole foreign countries one after another, yet it is the clerical regime in Iran that crushes protesters in a "paroxysm of violence," not the United States. Postel can furiously protest Iran's outrageous detention of figures such as the Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo (2006) and the Iranian-American academic Haleh Esfandiari (2007), but not the global rendition and torture network headquartered in Washington, and its numerous victims whose experiences have become public knowledge. As these issues are not central concerns for the "Iranian opposition," much less the U.S. establishment, they are not central concerns for Danny Postel.
Thus Postel's own brand of "solidarity" activism is extremely selective, with his beneficiaries drawn from a list of peoples struggling against regimes targeted by the United States. His public gestures of "solidarity" have not extended to the democratic movements in Honduras victimized first by the 2009 coup and termination of democracy there, and then by the demonstration elections and the coup regime's resort to terror and assassination; not to Palestinians living under four decades of siege by the Israelis and subjected to serious ethnic cleansing; and not to the Afghans and Pakistanis under attack by the United States and NATO. Even more interesting, Postel has been quiet about the devastation of Afghanistan and Iraq by the U.S. aggressions, which include not only large-scale killings and the displacement of millions, but the cultural pillage of libraries, museums, and archaeological treasures of great importance to the world.
What interests Postel about Iran is not Iran but the Iran which exists as an object of Western intellectual colonization and political discourse. An efflorescence of indigenous Iranian cultural life is not on Postel's agenda. Thus the brightest lights in Postel's Iran turn out to be those Iranians who are sufficiently Westernized to have read Habermas and Nabokov, who recognize the West's superiority and know their indebtedness to the West, and who quench their thirst at Western springs. Otherwise, the Islamic Republic remains a Dark Continent, teeming with mullahs, prisons, Basij militia, lapidations, and black chadors. It is difficult not to conclude that the true importance of Postel's work is that it makes it acceptable to be Orientalist and Eurocentric again—at least where this particular target of the United States is concerned—and that, like the book Reading Lolita in Tehran, Postel finds his readership not because he provides insights into life inside Iran, but because he caters to Western prejudices against Iran. Thanks to Danny Postel, the left is more confused, and there is a little less of the left left today than there was even a decade ago.
 See Gerald Sussman, Branding Democracy: U.S. Regime Change in Post-Soviet Europe (New York; Peter Lang Publishing, 2010), esp. Ch. 3, "The Infrastructure and Instruments of Democracy Promotion," pp. 67-121.
 See Alisher Tastenov, "The Color Revolution Phenomenon: From Classical Theory To Unpredictable Practices," Journal of Social and Political Studies, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2007, pp. 32-44; here p. 32, p. 41.
 For three cases in point, see Reese Erlich, "Iran and Leftist Confusion," CommonDreams, June 29, 2009; Stephen Zunes, "Iran's Do-It Yourself Revolution," Foreign Policy In Focus, June 29, 2009; and Stephen R. Shalom et al., "Question & Answer on the Iran Crisis," Campaign for Peace and Democracy, July 7, 2009.
 See Adam Thompson, "Honduras looks to move on from coup," Financial Times, January 26, 2010; Johann Hari, "When hands across the sea are tied," The Independent, June 4, 2010; and Joseph Huff-Hanson, "Honduras, one year after the coup," The Guardian, June 28, 2010. We base our findings on a search of the Factiva database under the "Wires" and "Newspaper: All" categories using the following parameters: rst=(twir or tnwp) and honduras and (fnrp or (national front and popular resistance)) for the period from June 23, 2009 through November 30, 2010. Sticking with the English-language media, this search produced a total of 18 items, only three of which fairly can be regarded as major English-language newspapers.
 Besides the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular's website Resistencia, also see, e.g., Quotha, the website maintained by the American University anthropologist Adrienne Pine; Rights Action, an organization run by Grahame Russell and Annie Bird; and Upside Down World, a website by a collective that includes Benjamin Dangl and Cyril Mychalejko.
 Danny Postel, "The Selective Solidarity of the Left," In These Times, November 24, 2003.
 Danny Postel, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2006), pp. 48-49.
 Both authors of the present analysis were invited to contribute to this collection edited by Danny Postel, and one of us (Peterson) did. But this was during the period 1999-2001, and to the best of our knowledge, the collection has never appeared.
 Danny Postel, "Citizen of a Lost Country: An Interview with Bogdan Denitch," In These Times, May 14, 2001.
 Danny Postel, "From Tragedy to Bloodshed, Michael Ignatieff Draws Human -Rights Ideals," Chronicle of Higher Education, March 8, 2002. Since 2002, Ignatieff has supported the U.S. war on Iraq, the U.S. use of torture, and Israel's 2006 war on Lebanon; basically, in every case of large-scale violence committed by the United States or Israel, Ignatieff supports it. For criticisms, see Edward S. Herman, "Michael Ignatieff's Pseudo-Hegelian Apologetics for Imperialism," Z Magazine, October, 2005; and Edward S. Herman, "Faith-Based Analysis: Michael Ignatieff on Israeli Self-Defense and Serb Ethnic Cleansing," CounterPunch, August 22, 2006.
 Danny Postel, "Islamic Studies' Young Turks," Chronicle of Higher Education, September 13, 2002. At least as depicted by Postel, none of the "Young Turks" expressed any undue concern over the then-imminent U.S. war on Iraq.
 Danny Postel, "Letter to America: Jürgen Habermas," The Nation, December 16, 2002.
 Danny Postel, "Realistpolitik," The American Prospect, April 12, 2004.
 Danny Postel, "Fukuyama's moment: A neocon schism opens," openDemocracy, October 27, 2004; and Danny Postel, "The 'end of history' revisited: Francis Fukuyama and his critics," openDemocracy, May 1, 2006.
 Danny Postel, "Who is responsible? An interview with Fred Halliday," openDemocracy, April 29, 2010 (republished from Salmagundi, to commemorate Halliday's death).
 Postel, Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran.
 Ibid, p. 46.
 Ibid, p. 45.
 See Matthew Rothschild, "Danny Postel Interview," Progressive Radio, February 26, 2007; and Matthew Rothschild, "Don't Go Easy on Ahmadinejad," The Progressive, March 6, 2007. Also see Danny Postel, "The Specter Haunting Iran," Frontline - Tehran Bureau, February 21, 2010; Danny Postel, "Counter-Revolution and Revolt in Iran: An Interview with Iranian Political Scientist Hossein Bashiriyeh," Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory, Vol. 17, No. 1, March 2010; and Danny Postel, "Revolutionary Prefigurations: The Green Movement, Critical Solidarity, and the Struggle for Iran's Future," New Politics, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Summer, 2010.
 See, e.g., "Ramin Jahanbegloo: an open letter to Iran's president," openDemocracy, May 23, 2006; and Danny Postel, "An ominous arrest in Iran," The Guardian, May 14, 2007.
 In Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran, Postel states that "what [he's] undertaking here is…a meditation on why—and how—thinkers like Habermas, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, and Karl Popper are read by Iranian intellectuals today and what their ideas look like when refracted back to us through that Persian prism" (p. 7). Postel proposes that "we in the West should 're-link' to the thinkers in our tradition who have inspired Iran, and thus re-read Habermas and Berlin with a Persian horizon in mind" (p. 8). "[M]y focus," Postel adds, "is on Iran's philosophical-political profile (to borrow another Habermasianism): it is about the fascinating reception of thinkers like Habermas, Arendt, and Berlin among Iranians today" (p. 8). Although Postel neglects to mention it, there is yet another way to make sense of what is happening inside Iran: That is by observing its cosmetological-cultural profile. During the first decade of the 21st Century, Iran laid claim to being the "rhinoplasty capital of the world." "More and more people are watching Western films on satellite and we have new role models," a 22-year-old university student told the Wall Street Journal's Sally Jones in 2003. "Most of us want a more Western-looking nose, less fleshy and maybe a little upturned at the bottom." ("Iran's Women Turn Up Noses—Nation's Plastic Surgeons Find A Big Demand for Rhinoplasty; Even Dentists Do the Procedure," September 3, 2003.) "The nose craze…started with satellite TV from the West," CBS Evening News's Elizabeth Palmer reported. "A Western nose is more beautiful," one young Iranian woman told her. ("Iran's strict Islamic dress code has backfired in at least one big way," May 2 2005.) "The streets of Tehran abound with young people…with their noses in plaster from the effects of surgery," Robert Tait wrote. "The phenomenon reflects a competitive urge among fashion-conscious Iranians to put their cosmetic handiwork on display….[S]ome even wear nose plasters as a status symbol without actually having had the operation." ("Vanity and boredom fuel Iran's nose job boom," The Guardian, May 7, 2005.) "Iranian women are also influenced by images of Western culture and Hollywood, where smaller noses are considered beautiful," ABC News reported. "The ethnic Persian nose is out of vogue." ("Rinoplasty All the Rage in Iran," February 15, 2007.) On our reading of Reading Legitimation Crisis in Tehran, the so-called "Persian prism" has about as much interest to its author as does the "ethnic Persian nose" to those Iranians undergoing rhinoplastic procedures to look more like Hollywood celebrities. For the Western Orientalist, a "pro-democracy" Iranian is simply an Iranian whose cosmetological-cultural profile is in every sense less like an indigene and more like somebody from Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, London, New York, or Los Angeles—even American pop singers and dancers. It may be flattering for Westerners to look at a particular demographic of Iranian national life and see confirmations of themselves looking back at them—especially if this demographic is imposed from the outside. But this aside, the Postelian prism provides zero insight into Iranian national life. For more on Iran as the "nose-job capital of the world," see the 2006 documentary film by Mehrdad Oskouei, Damagh Be Sakbe Irani ("Nose, Iranian Style"). Also see Frances Harrison, "Wealthy Iranians embrace plastic surgery" BBC News, October 1, 2006. As Katherine Butler wrote for London's Independent: "Tehran can lay claim to being the rhinoplasty capital of the world. And it is possibly also the bee-stung Botoxed lip capital of the world. You see the walking wounded everywhere, surgical tape criss-crossing the nose, not that it looks as if it is providing any medical function, but almost like a bandage in a cartoon. The first time you see the nose tape you think you've just seen somebody who walked into a door. But then you realise they're worn openly, proudly, a badge of honour, money or status or maybe a badge that says 'I can look Western'." ("Iran's hybrids unveiled," June 27, 2009.)
 See Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books (New York: Random House, 2003). For critical appraisals of Nafisi's widely-read exercise in catering to the prejudices of Western audiences who will embrace anything about Iran or the "Arab" or "Muslim world" that reinforces their negative prejudices, see Hamid Dabashi, "Native informers and the making of the American empire," Al-Ahram Weekly, June 1-7, 2006; and Fatemeh Keshavarz, Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007). For analysis of the negatively prejudiced representations of the Islamic Republic of Iran that dominate the Western media, see Edward W. Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, 2nd Ed. (New York: Random House, 1997).