diet coke for breakfast

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Posted by Jake - Bush: 'We did not charge ... only to retreat' - Nov. 19, 2003

It is not realism to suppose that one-fifth of humanity is unsuited to liberty. It is pessimism and condescension, and we should have none of it.

We must shake off decades of failed policy in the Middle East. Your nation and mine in the past have been willing to make a bargain to tolerate oppression for the sake of stability. Longstanding ties often led us to overlook the faults of local elites.

Yet this bargain did not bring stability or make us safe. It merely bought time while problems festered and ideologies of violence took hold.

As recent history has shown, we cannot turn a blind eye to oppression just because the oppression is not in our own back yard. No longer should we think tyranny is benign because it is temporarily convenient. Tyranny is never benign to its victims and our great democracies should oppose tyranny wherever it is found.

Now we're pursuing a different course, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. We will consistently challenge the enemies of reform and confront the allies of terror. We will expect a higher standard from our friends in the region, and we will meet our responsibilities in Afghanistan and in Iraq by finishing the work of democracy we have begun.

I was listening to David Brooks on Newshour, and he made a good point about the watershed change in Republican foriegn policy:

But the most interesting thing for us throughout the country was that he said we are going to move beyond the failed policy of allowing dictatorship and tyranny to exist around the world because we thought we needed it for stability. And the author of that failed policy is George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft. It was really a direct intellectual argument against his father's administration. And so that was very interesting to us and I thought an important and to my mind necessary reversal of US policy.

This is an good point for a couple of reasons. One, it is a revealing comment on an intellectual trend within the Republican party away from the isolationists and towards the much more internationally interested neocons. Let's hope it stays that way. Two, it is interesting because another advocate similar policy was Bill Clinton, particularly in his response to Kosovo -- which is a good argument by the way if you ever run into someone who accuses Bush of being a reckless unilateralist. There has been a bit of a flip flop between the Republicans and Democrats over this. While the Democrats demand that international institutions lend their approval to any interventions is not the same as isolationism, it is effectively the same.

I like this speech because it gets to the moral argument about why we have to stay in Iraq. Read the whole thing.


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