Saturday, March 05, 2005

More Democrat Anti-Americanism

Much of the Democrat party is convinced that the world's problems are the fault of the United States. Check out this column by Amir Taheri
Clinton told his audience in Davos, as well as Charlie Rose, that during his presidency he had “formally apologized on behalf of the United States” for what he termed “American crimes against Iran.”

But what were those “crimes”? Clinton summed them thus: “It’s a sad story that really began in the 1950s when the United States deposed Mr. Mossadegh, who was an elected parliamentary democrat, and brought the Shah back and then he was overturned by the Ayatollah Khomeini, driving us into the arms of one Saddam Hussein. We got rid of the parliamentary democracy {there} back in the ‘50s; at least, that is my belief.”

Duped by a myth spread by the Blame-America-First coalition, Clinton appears to have done little homework on Iran. The truth is that Iran in the 1950s was not a parliamentary democracy but a constitutional monarchy in which the Shah appointed, and dismissed, the prime minister. Mossadegh was named prime minister twice by the Shah and twice dismissed. In what way that meant that the US “got rid of parliamentary democracy” that did not exist is not clear.
To be sure, the United States isn't a perfect nation and hasn't had perfect policies. But one wonders why the Democrats are so diligent in finding American fingerprints on foreign policy conflicts. It reminds me of when, after September 11, President Clinton mentioned the Crusades as a sort-of "pox on both our houses" argument. Self-confidence is an important ingredient in foreign policy and Democrats don't have it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I See a Trend!

As many have noted, we seem to have a trend at work. Consider these recent events (courtesy of Dr Sanity):
  • Afghanistan had free and democratic elections despite the threat of violence.
  • Iraq had free and democratic elections despite the threat of violence
  • Libya has given up its desire for WMD
  • Palestine has had free elections (of a sort anyway)
  • Ukraine citizens took to the streets and changed their government peacefully
  • Saudi Arabia has held open municipal elections and some modest reforms (still a long way to go, however)
  • Egypt has announced some democratic reforms and open elections
  • Syria suddenly hands over Saddam's brother and 29 Ba'athists to the Iraqis
  • And today, Lebanon's government has resigned to the cheering thousands of Lebanese in the streets of Beirut who are demanding freedom
The White House has declared that "democracy and freedom are on the march."

Middle East analyst Marc Ginsberg (a regular on Fox News), who was an ambassador to Morocco during the Clinton administration, says "the catalyst for reform was Iraq"
"That vote had enormous emotional ramifications for the people in that region, who were really taken aback by what they saw," he said. "Every Arab newspaper that I'm reading now uses the phrase: 'Why there and not here?'"
Other experts have seconded these sentiments:
Dennis Ross, who was a Middle East envoy under the first President Bush and President Clinton, said the tide has begun to turn in the region.

"Something profound's going on right now, and what it really is, more than anything else, is a loss of fear," he said. "Every Arab regime has ruled basically through coercion and intimidation, and suddenly the fear factor is eroding."
"...the fear factor is eroding." Looks like Natan Sharansky knew what he was talking about, when he wrote about a "free society versus a fear society."

Of course it is too early to see if this trend will hold, or how in fact these countries will turn out. The danger of theocracy is much noted, and although real, I think it overstated. My thought is that far from Iranian agents pushing Iraq into theocracy, it is far more likely that the Iraqi example will boost democrats in Iran.

President Bush did a brave thing by invading Iraq. Afghanistan was easy, in that it was directly linked to 9/11 and thus only the loony left was going to seriously oppose our actions there. The paradox is that although we invaded mainly to rid the region of WMD, we have ended up starting a trend towards democracy.

I always thought that Iraq under Saddam was a cancer to the region, and that if we could only rid ourselves of him and his regime the situation would be more stable, and perhaps even the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might be resolved. At most I thought we would achieve some sort of stability with long-term prospects for reform and maybe democratization. But things are moving faster than I thought. Let's work to make sure it continues in the right direction.


I'm listening to the radio, and Washington DC talk show host Michael Graham is interviewing Democratic Congressman Jim Moran. Graham asked Moran if the trend toward democracy in the Mid East doesn't justify George Bush's policies.

Moran went off on a rant about how we put these dictators into place, we need to explore alternative sources of energy... blah blah blah. What any of this has to do President Bush's policies is anybody's guess. But I guess when you're on the wrong side of history it's the only thing you can do.

He did at least finally give the president credit for the Iraqi elections. But then he quickly said that he didn't know how this benefited the American people, and that we would have been better off leading a coalition of nations, blah blah blah again.

I remember Christopher Hitchens' response to this line about how "we put those dictators into place." He said, in effect (I can't find the link), that even if that was true, does it not then follow that we have more of a responsibility to rid the world of them? He said that every time he posed this question to the anti-war left he never got an answer.

Indeed I would imagine not.