On Wednesday the United Nations strongly condemned the Iran-backed Houthis for their attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. Yesterday the United Nations court at The Hague opened arguments at a kangaroo court hearing convened by South Africa to officially declare Israel a genocidal state.

Also yesterday, global left-wing protesters and their online cheering section humiliated themselves in epic fashion by claiming that the Houthis are only trying to stop the “genocide” in Gaza.

In other words, the protesters are far too anti-American and anti-Zionist for the UN. Quite the accomplishment.

Pro-Houthi protests, a thing that would not exist in a sane world, have been going on for weeks, well before a U.S.- and UK-led coalition finally fired back last night. “Today, at my direction, U.S. military forces — together with the United Kingdom and with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands — successfully conducted strikes against a number of targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels to endanger freedom of navigation in one of the world’s most vital waterways,” President Biden announced in a statement. “These strikes are in direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea — including the use of anti-ship ballistic missiles for the first time in history. These attacks have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.”

The Houthis’ American supporters have been rallying ever since the terrorists started firing at ships. Houthi fandom, then, is not about the specific context—Western democracies striking back at an Iranian proxy militia laying waste to Yemen while running a literal slave state. This slice of the progressive activist movement admires the Houthis because they try to kill innocent Americans and they claim to be doing so in the service of helping others kill innocent Jews.

The Houthis are what you get when you combine slavery and colonialism, two things we are routinely told progressives are against. Their supporters are possibly the most morally blinkered humans on this or any other planet.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who makes no secret of his desire to be secretary of state (still holding out hope for a Bernie Sanders presidency, apparently), has led the effort in Congress to protect the Houthis from being added back to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. The Houthis were removed from the list by President Biden in a decision that has aged like milk. The move was rewarded with Houthi attacks on Americans. Re-listing them is a no-brainer, though it does not appear to be under consideration.

This is the third front in the region where Iranian troops have attacked Americans or American allies The other two are Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in south Lebanon. In each case, the response from progressive lawmakers has been to criticize the American coalition. On Tuesday, a U.S. ship and its naval escorts were attacked. Of course the U.S. returned fire.

What does all this tell us? That the U.S. coalition is up against two specific ideological currents among Americans and that these ideologies are etched in stone thanks to negative partisanship. The first is among the “progressive street,” as I referred to them yesterday. This cohort is in perpetual protest mode, with violence and vandalism as its twin dialects. Its adherents have shown us that they will rally the crowds for the very worst people in the world, so long as those evil regimes hate America or the Jews. They are like windup toys: When some foreign autocrat wants to rev them up, he will do so, and on they’ll march.

The second ideological group consists of the members of Congress who took Iran’s side against Saudi Arabia and seem to have superglued their hands in place. The Saudis and Tehran took major steps toward easing tensions and negotiating over a possible truce in Yemen thanks to Chinese intervention. This is to say nothing of the fact that the Saudis have facilitated historic breakthroughs between the Arab states and Israel that have massively strengthened the U.S.-led alliance and its position on the global stage. Yet these lawmakers’ instinctive backing of Iran has become impervious to any external factors. Which means there is no foreseeable development in Yemen that will change their posture toward the Houthis.

So there is an entrenched, not-insignificant part of the president’s own party sitting in permanent objection to specific U.S. foreign-policy goals, and there is a protest movement that can be set to destabilize domestic politics at almost any time.

The Houthis are, in some ways, the least of our problems. But they are key to understanding most of the others.

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