Skip to comments.Bush Didn't Squander The World's Sympathy. He Spent It.
Posted on 05/10/2003 6:08:57 AM PDT by Lyford
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It's all very complicated. But those arguments miss the larger point. The talk of squandering is fundamentally misconceived. Bush did not squander the world's goodwill. He spent it, which is not at all the same thing.
In short, the United States has been on the wrong side of Arab history for almost five decades, and it is not doing much better than the Soviets. The old policy had no future, only a past. It was a dead policy walking. September 11 was merely the death certificate.
Bush is no sophisticate, but he has the great virtue -- not shared by most sophisticates -- of knowing a dead policy when he sees one. So he gathered up the world's goodwill and his own political capital, spent the whole bundle on dynamite, and blew the old policy to bits. However things come out in Iraq, the war's larger importance is to leave little choice, going forward, but to put America on the side of Arab reform.
Interesting analogy. I've never thought of it that way, but the author's right. The Arab world was stunned when the mighty and invincible Saddam fell so easily. The statue in the central Baghdad square has become their twin towers.
But the point missed here is in this sentance.
In both Iran and Iraq, Washington supported or tolerated corrupt and brutal regimes, with disastrous results in both places. Saudi Arabia has been a different kind of disaster, propagating anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism all over the world. Syria and Libya are disasters. Lebanon is between disasters. Egypt is a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe Jordan is, too.
Can someone tell me who supplied those bolded countries with arms? Hint: It wasn't the US.
In general I agree with your point about arms. However, the U.S. did support the monarchy of Iran, in part because it gave us access to its border with the USSR. Iran received (among other goodies) F-5 and F-14 fighters, and has managed to keep some flying despite 24 years of not having "manufacturer approved" spare parts available.
But I think the author's point was that, in the past, our support for regimes in the middle east was not based on the principles of democracy and freedom, but containing the USSR. Twenty years from now, will libs be playing the same obstruction game on the U.S. by saying things like, "we were the ones who armed the (Saudis Pakistanis Turks Jordainians Egyptians Germans), so we don't have the moral authority to decry their actions now"? If we blindly keep on supporting (or tolerating) these despots, the answer will be YES.
My point is that with many of these regimes we not only did not support them, we wanted them gone even at the highth of the Cold War. So to say that we supported them is a lie.
You can not ignore the fact that the USSR was arming them and supplying them with training.
The Iraqi Army for example was based on the Soviet model. (Which is why Russia is taking the defeat so personally.)
Our position on most of these countries has not changed at all.
Counterpoint, who armed the Ayatollah's who came afterwards?
And which was a better government for Iran, the monarchy or the Ayatollahs?
And that is exactly why the America-hating left, yes, that includes Democrats, hate it and hate Bush. They want America down, not up, so they can replace it with any kind of reorganization that puts them and their failed policies at the top. They will support anything or anyone, no matter how despicable, that is against America.
I agree with you on this in regards to many of the ME nations. Egypt, Iraq, Syria, post-rev Iran, were all client states to the Soviets during the Cold War. However, my point still remains that we support, to varying degrees, nondemocratic regimes: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, pre-rev Iran, and Pakistan come to mind. With the end of the Cold War and aftermath of 911, we need to re-evaluate our alliances with these nations. I'm old enough to remember the Iranians storming the embassy gates after the Shah left Iran.
Counterpoint, ... which was a better government for Iran, the monarchy or the Ayatollahs?
My hope is that Iran can find for itself a better government than either of these choices.
I disagree with this, however.
In fairness, the war's critics feared a quagmire not so much during the fight as after, and they had a point.
Have we already forgotten? Millions of Iraqis killed by US Bombs. Thousands of dead American troops. Bagdad surrounded and thousands starved to death. A defiant Saddam, lobbing WMD at us. And all for some oil. Haliburton and oil. Bush the evil corporate oil man. This is the rant I remember the leftists making. It was anti-freedom, anti-American, anti-capitalism. And they were SO wrong. So now, with them proved wrong, should we believe them when they shout about all the numerous perils about the aftermath of the war and occupation and reform? NO! It is a long row to hoe, but with guts and determination, we'll get it done. Don't count on the left to roll up their sleeves to help. They'll continue to whine and snipe. I can only hope people see through this.
OK, I'll entertain you. I work with a guy who is of Persian ancestry. He is old enough to remember living in Tehran, and he says life there was great. If he were still there, he would be living like a prince. However, he left Iran on the last Pan Am flight from Tehran. I suspect he is romanticizing things to some extent. My coworker definitely thinks Iran was better off with the Shah.
He did tell me one story I take at face value. His uncle went to mosque for the five daily proayers, and sent my coworker to Koran school as a youngster. At the same time, this uncle told him to never believe that mumbo-jumbo. Uncle's observance of Muslim rituals were just for show, to keep him out of trouble with Muslim society.
But...but...but the Ayatollahs have led Iran into the 4th Century! They have released their women from the burden of freedom, self-determination and decision! They made major contributions to Zero Population Growth!
Lyford used what I would have chosen for the impact quotes, they really sum this up.
.....and I hope others do as well.
Not only is that image of our president so wonderful, but it is like a dagger in the hearts of the Dimwits every time they see it.
Life is good !!!!!!!
No, it most certainly did not fall because of glasnost!
But Reagan's insistence on pushing ahead with SDI did have something to do with it, and Rauch seriously mis-underestimates this.
I also recommend reading carefully the text of the President's commencement address at the University of South Carolina yesterday.
Our nation is strong. Our greatest strength is that we serve the cause of liberty. We support the advance of freedom in the Middle East, because it is our founding principle, and because it is in our national interest. The hateful ideology of terrorism is shaped and nurtured and protected by oppressive regimes. Free nations, in contrast, encourage creativity and tolerance and enterprise. And in those free nations, the appeal of extremism withers away.
Free governments do not build weapons of mass destruction for the purpose of mass terror. Over time, the expansion of liberty throughout the world is the best guarantee of security throughout the world. Freedom is the way to peace.
Some believe that democracy in the Middle East is unlikely, if not impossible. They argue that the people of the Middle East have little desire for freedom or self-government. These same arguments have been heard before in other times, about other people. After World War II, many doubted that Germany and Japan, with their histories of autocratic rule and aggressive armies, could ever function as free and peaceful societies. In the Cold War we were told that imperial communism was permanent and the Iron Curtain was there to stay.
In each of these cases -- in Germany, in Japan, in Eastern Europe and in Russia -- the skeptics doubted, then history replied. Every milestone of liberty over the last 60 years was declared impossible until the very moment it happened. The history of the modern world offers a lesson for the skeptics: do not bet against the success of freedom.
Wow. Fascinating analysis, and wonderfully written. I especially love that last line. Thank you for posting this article.
In March, on the eve of the American invasion, Ipsos (an international public-opinion research firm)asked people whether their government's foreign policy should "get closer to the U.S. or distance itself more from the U.S." In all of those countries except Germany, respondents called for more distance from the United States, usually by large ratios: 63-28 percent in Japan, 60-13 in Spain, 54-38 in Canada, and 52-36 even in the U.K. The Germans split 44-46 percent, hardly a vote of confidence
Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and Spainmass media keep their respective citizens objectively informed as well as the U.S. mass media does for American citizens.
Where is the poll on the LIBERATED Soviet Bloc nations, who are far more capable of detecting socialist/globalist spin than the polled citizens?
No. This is not right. Unless America can wave a wand and make everything perfect right away, then it should do nothing at all, except cringe in shame and abasement while it is criticized for doing nothing. </Leftist Mode>
I love this part. Great imagery, and true, too. Ever since 9/11 I've had a feeling that the status quo needed to be grabbed by the feet and shook upside down.
What do these countries, people think about last weeks ruling which found Saddam played a major role in the training of the terrorists who participated in 9/11?
"snicker1 snicker! Keep them comin'. Demoncrap agida!!!"
That's what I'm saying. That's how I see it and that's all that matters. I'm sick of us tiptoeing around with our finger to the wind, wanting only to be liked by stinky, dirty marxists who aren't fit to shine our shoes with their hair grease. Oui, même les Françaises. Especiamente les Françaises!
According to that classical political philosopher and social commentator John Wayne, "it ain't braggin' if he can do it." But that is a telling item - the left has always fancied itself the revolutionary wing, the forces of social progress, the vanguard of the new age. That it ended up supporting the most creaky, ossified, superannuated set of false premises and disproven social concepts is very, very slow to dawn. The principal threat to institutionalized "revolutionaries" such as Cohn-Bendit is not that it threatens their political programs, but that it threatens their self-image. It was funny enough to watch these clowns upholding the forces of social progress as exemplified by such refugees from a zombie movie as Breshnev, Chernenko, and Andropov, but this is funnier still.
Just stand back and carp, boys, we'll call you when it's safe.
That's because the world prefers to see America being terrorized than exercising its strength and resolve.
I'll give you a more recent example of how things are already changing back: my neighbors are Iranian emigres from the 70s. Their 18 y.o. son was just there during the Xmas holidays for a month. He says that it is very cosmopolitan in Tehran, with young folk everywhere on the street - sort of like a New York street scene.
He mentioned the only visible difference from the US is the number of soldiers on the street. But since they're all green kids as well, he attributed it mostly to the draft and poor economic opportunities.
When I talked to him and his mom after he got back, he seemed pretty matter-of-fact that the theocracy had no future. When half the pop. is under 25 and LIKES America, it doesn't take a genius to forsee the future.