A close read of President Bush’s November addresses at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington and at the Whitehall Palace in London leads a traditionalist almost to despair.
George Bush did not write this democratist drivel. This is the kind of messianic rhetoric he probably never heard before he became president. Who is putting these words in his mouth? For if George Bush truly intends to lead a “global democratic revolution,” and convert not only Iraq but the whole Middle East to democracy, he has ceased to be a conservative and we are headed for endless conflicts, disappointments, disillusionment and tragedy.
At London, he called a “commitment to the global expansion of democracy” both “the alternative to instability and to hatred and terror” and “the third pillar of our security.” But before he wagers our security on a crusade for democracy, Bush should ask the hard questions no one seems to have asked before he invaded Iraq.
Where in the Constitution is he empowered to go around the world destabilizing governments? Can he truly believe that by hectoring such autocracies as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, America is more secure? Who comes to power if Mubarak goes in Cairo, the Saudi monarchy falls or Musharaff is ousted in Pakistan? If memory serves, the last wave of popular revolutions in the region gave us Nasser, Khadafi, Saddam and the Ayatollah.
With $200 billion sunk into democratizing Iraq and Afghanistan, how many more wars does Bush think Americans will support before they decide to throw the interventionist Republicans out?
Where did he get the idea we are insecure because the Islamic world is not democratic? The Islamic world has never been democratic. Yet, before we intervened massively there, our last threat came from Barbary pirates. Lest we forget, Muhammad Atta and his comrades did not plot their atrocities in the Sunni Triangle, but in Hamburg and Delray Beach.
Surveys show that Islamic people bear a deep resentment of U.S. dominance of their region and our one-sided support for Israel. Interventionism is not America’s solution, it is America’s problem.
It was our earlier intervention in the Gulf War and our huge footprint on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia that lead directly to 9-11. They were over here because we were over there.
If one-man, one-vote comes to Pakistan, what do we do if that nuclear nation supports a return of the Taliban? What do we do if the Iraqi regime that takes power after free elections tells us to pack up and get out, and declares the liberation of Kuwait and its return to the embrace of the motherland to be as vital to Baghdad as the return of Taiwan is to Beijing?
Freedom, the president said, “must be chosen and defended by those who choose it.” Exactly. Why not then let these Islamic peoples choose it on their own timetable and defend it themselves?
It is “cultural condescension,” says Bush, “to assume the Middle East cannot be converted to democracy. … Perhaps the most helpful change we can make is to change in our own thinking.”
But if 22 of 22 Arab states are non-democratic, this would seem to suggest that this soil is not particularly conducive to growing the kind of democracies we raise in upper New England. This may be mulish thinking to the progressives at NED, but it may also be common sense.
What support is there in history for the view that as we meddle in the affairs of foreign nations, we advance our security? How would we have responded in the 19th century if Britain had declared a policy of destabilizing the American Union until Andrew Jackson abolished slavery?
“Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity and the best hope for progress here on earth.” Is it? Before democracy became our god, we used to believe that salvation was Heaven’s plan for humanity, and Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life.
The neocons have made democracy a god, but why is George W. Bush falling down and worshiping their golden calf?
The last time we heard rhetoric like Bush’s at NED and Whitehall Castle was the last time we were bogged down in a war. LBJ declared that America’s goal was far loftier than saving South Vietnam. We were going to build a “Great Society on the Mekong.”
Like Woodrow Wilson, Bush has been converted to the belief that democracy is the cure for mankind’s ills. But our Founding Fathers did not even believe in democracy. They thought they were creating a republic – a republic that would be secure by remaining free of the wars of the blood-soaked continent their fathers had left behind. How wrong they were.