A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Did you say Democracy, Mr. President?

"Because we believe in human dignity, peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace. We have witnessed the rise of democratic governments in predominantly Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian cultures. Democratic institutions have taken root in modern societies, and in traditional societies. When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom, and worthy of freedom. " --George W. Bush, Speech to the United Nations, September 21, 2004

Let's listen to a few emminently reasonable voices, representative of the breadth of the political spectrum on these blogs on the Bush Administration's real commitment to these high ideals:

First Daniel W. Drezner:

The neocon split over George W. Bush

"Substantively, realists argue that regime type doesn't matter, and that since Russia and Pakistan are vital allies in the war on terrorism, we should look the other way for these countries. I've alread said why I think this is the wrong move most of the time. Last week, [Robert] Kagan said why this is wrong with regard to Russia:

"'With Russians confronting vicious terrorists, Putin is consolidating his own power. How, exactly, does that help us win the war on terrorism? In fact, it will hurt. Failure to take sides with democratic forces in Russia will cast doubt on Bush's commitment to worldwide democracy. A White House official commented to the New York Times that Putin's actions are "a domestic matter for the Russian people." Really? If so, then the same holds for all other peoples whose rights are taken away by tyrants.' ...."


Then Juan Cole:

Bush Taunts Kerry

"Iraq, however, does not have a democracy, and cannot possibly have a democracy any time soon because of events such as those described below (and they are only 24 hours' worth)-- that is, because of a failed state and a hot guerrilla war.

"Moreover, if Mr. Bush abhors dictatorships so much, why hasn't he overthrown that in China? North Korea? Zimbabwe? Or, say, Egypt? There are enormous numbers of dictatorships in the world. Is the US to overthrow them all? Putin's decision to appoint provincial governors rather than allowing them to be elected (as though Bush should appoint the governors of US states) is a step toward dictatorship. Shall we have a war with Russia over it?....

"I have a sinking feeling that the American public may like Bush's cynical misuse of Wilsonian idealism precisely because it covers the embarrassment of their having gone to war, killed perhaps 25,000 people, and made a perfect mess of the Persian Gulf region, all out of a kind of paranoia fed by dirty tricks and bad intelligence. And, maybe they have to vote for Bush to cover the embarrassment of having elected him in the first place."


And Wretchard of Belmont Club:

Postscript

"The last few posts have not been written to provide an 'optimistic' view of Iraq nor to debunk the theories of anyone. They were written as an attempt to discover whether the charge that Iraq has become a disaster was true; and if so in what aspect and to what degree. It is a complex question which I have not answered to my own satisfaction.....

"One can say that US Forces are killing a lot of bad guys without being able to answer, at least with the data on hand, whether the enemy are regenerating faster than they are being destroyed. I cast about in vain for some way to estimate whether the level of corruption in the Iraqi government, which is a proxy for efficiency and just governance, was increasing or decreasing. It is the one area for which I truly fear, not in the least because few Americans have any idea what a distorting gravitational force normal levels of American prosperity and largesse have in a Third World country. The sheer capability of America can create a dependency even in richer societies. One wonders whether the new Iraqi Army will have any concept of operations constrained by their true resources, without implicitly assuming American support. "

UPDATE: Linked to Daily Linkfest at Outside the Beltway.

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