Why the Iranians’ Fight Is the Same as Ukraine’s

The goal is liberty. The United States should be able to see that.

If, at this very moment, George Washington could choose the most rightful heirs to his legacy, I like to think he would pick the people of Ukraine and Iran. As divided as Americans currently are in their great experiment with democracy, Ukrainians and Iranians are showing nothing but certainty and valor in their struggle for the very same rights that undergird the republic that Washington helped establish.

In their fight, the Ukrainians are confronting an authoritarian enemy that the United States had hoped it could contain through diplomacy. The Iranians chanting “Woman, life, liberty” are willing to die for their variation on the foundational American theme of “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Neither country’s citizens are willing to surrender, despite the assaults of missiles on Kyiv and of riot police in Tehran. “Give me liberty, or give me death” may have originated nearly 250 years ago in Virginia, but today the slogan has found a new home in distant lands, among people who are not American by birth but may feel so in spirit.

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