Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Bush Doctrine

"America will stand with the allies of freedom to support democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

President George Bush, The State of the Union, 2005

Almost as if by some cosmic irony, the death of the founder of Amnesty International coincides with the apex of influence of unilateralist foreign policy. This policy peak consists of a vertical arrangement of the Iraqi elections, the continuing possibility of a Middle East peace accord, Togo, and the recent situation in the Ukraine. Or maybe we're being too superstitious, assigning some metaphysical symbolism to the timing of the founder of that human rights organization's mortality.

Still, George Bush's bold maneuvers -- of which The Corsair remains skeptical -- transformed The Ukraine. Of course, it was Colin Powell's swift and well played response, George Soros' money and, lastly, the will of all those frostbitten "Orange Revolutionaries" that were the true catalysts for change in that long-suffering nation. But it all occurred under George Bush's watch.

In the relatively smooth Iraqi election process -- where, we cannot fail to note, the sinister hand of Iran's Shiite theocracy was strengthened -- George Bush also presided. In Togo, militarily installed despot-manque Gnassingbe stepped down after massive international pressure, that, quite possibly, was congealed as it did because of Bush's pro-freedom State of the Union Address. (Bush issued veiled threats to the "Axis of Evil" in the 2002 State of the Union) Finally, now, at the crown of Africa, and Hosni Mubarak touting multiparty elections for the first time in the history of Egypt. We won't entertain the possibility that Condi's snub of Egypt had anything to do with this; we simply refuse.

It all seems so godamn incredible the amount of sheer change that has occurred in just the last few years. The effects of Togo and Egypt alone will reverberate mightily throughout the African continent for a long time to come. There have been downsides to such a bold, idealistic foreign policy. The abrupt, often clumsy, faith based maneuvering have upset the very foundations of Realpolitik, the arena where motives are calculated in an amoral distinterested manner. For all the benefits in Africa, future historians may look backwards and note that Russia and the United States' fragile friendship officially (RIP, 1991-2005) ended on the day we involved ourselves on the side of the Orange Revolutionaries against the Russian sphere of influence. That much at least was hinted at in the painfully tense (IMHO) press conference between Bush and his old pal "Pootie-Poot," who, quite frankly, looked more pouty than pooty, and more Mad-amir than Vladimir.

Russian anxiety in the Ukraine, so near it's borders, it's buffer against Western European opportunity and growth, has put them in bed with China and Iran -- one a competitor, the other an openly hostile regime to US interests. Was it worth the freedom of the Ukrainians? Of course it was. But the startling success of a way of being -- idealism -- so thoroughly discredited as "naive," by such formidable afficonandos of power as Henry Kissinger drives us to distraction.

Which leads me to the following question: Is this the death of political realism? Will Thucydides, Machiavelli, Hans Morgenthau and Henry Kissinger be relegated to the scrap heap of history, seen as interesting curios and objects of passing fancy for grad students in poly sci, along with Marx and Engels? Probably not. But it was a fun thought experiment anyway. More likely than not, they will be sent to the showers early and rise up again -- that "survivalist-at-all-costs" strain of thinking always rises after a fall -- at some other point in the near future. This is a time for idealism, for International Law, for Strauss.

Do interests or ideas directly dominate the lives of men? Todays news that Mubarak in Egypt is demanding electoral reform is a perfect example of how the combined effects of the Bush State of the Union. Note that there were 21 uses of the word "freedom" in the SOTU and the last word was -- "freedom." The SOTU, which Bush regards as a sort of covenant, a "promise kept" issued a direct challenge to nations who harbor terrorists. The future historian would be counseled to mark Bush's actions against his SOTU Adresses. Finally, Condi's bad cop diplomacy and a subtle combination of Natan Sharansky's "Town Hall Test" (Can a person protest the government in the public square?) and the House Resolution condemning Egypt for arresting Mr. Nour (Guess Mr. Nour proves Egypt couldn't pass the Town Hall Test). Congressman Adam Schiff D-Ca should be proud of himself. And Democrats should take note.

If Democrats want to be perceived as weak on Defense, fine. But if they do not, Adam Schiff has provided the roadmap. Work within the President's parameters. Get tough for the human rights cause, not just killing trees with all manner of impotent Amnesty International documents.

In that manner, perhaps the left ought to consider lobbying for some "regime change" in genocidal Sudan, a place where Osama Bin Ladin has resided and has wives, as well as a disgustingly genocidal regime. Very few troops would be needed to neutralize the Janjaweed. It's time, perhaps, to stop killing trees on earnest "human rights" papers, and join the 21st Century. Let us liberate the Sudanese.

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