Sat Nov 25th, 2006 at 07:48:45 AM EST
Philip Stephens, writing in the FT is still trying to justify his support for the "muscular idealism" of the Bush regime.
Brought across by afew
Words, though, have become detached from reality. If the US
president has not wavered in his rhetorical allegiance to the goal
of democratic transformation in the Middle East, the practice
has foundered. It is not hard to see why.
Because he never gave a damn about it? Even Stephens admits later that "democracy building appeared an afterthought, a cloak over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction".
The invasion of Iraq was intended as a demonstration of
American power sufficient to cow authoritarian regimes across
the region. Instead, the civil war in that country has attested to
weakness. The Palestinians elected the "wrong" party in Hamas.
As US power has ebbed, so too has Washington's pressure on
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak to relax his grip. A strategy of
democracy promotion that was characterised only last year as a
generational challenge has all but collapsed.
Here's a hint: blowing people up is not promoting democracy. Supporting dictators because they do as they're told is not promoting democracy. Showing total disdain for the results of a democratic process is not promoting democracy. Embarking upon a crusade against some of the most screwed up countries on the planet in order to promote the short-term political and economic goals of you and your cronies is not promoting democracy.
I have never quite understood European attitudes. The parents of
my generation endured the second world war. Their sacrifices,
we learned at school, had been made in the name of freedom.
They had been worth it because, unlike the communists, those
of us lucky enough to live in the west could say what we liked
and, at regular intervals, throw out our leaders. Democracy was >the prize.
Yet Europeans - or, more accurately, many in the western half
of the continent - are more likely these days to value stability.
Freedom is fine for us, but better not challenge despots elsewhere.
This is all the more strange because the European Union has
been the world's most successful agent in supporting regime
change - in the former dictatorships of Spain, Portugal and
Greece and in the post-communist states of eastern and central >Europe.
You'll note, you fucking idiot, that the reason the EU has been successful is precisely because it doesn't run around invading countries to "spread democracy" - democracy is neither a synonym for cluster bombs nor depleted uranium by the way - nor does it routinely ignore the results of the democratic process.
For all that some may enjoy the humbling of the superpower, I
suspect that America's allies will find the aftermath less
palatable if, as seems likely, muscular idealism now makes way >for a unilateralism defined by narrow national interest.
The "narrow national interest" would be a great improvement over the narrow personal interest currently being pursued.
I am not predicting these policy shifts. But it is as well to
understand the dark side of a values-blind foreign policy.
"values-blind"? The choice you present is between a" values-blind" policy and the current one?
The values of the current policy of "muscular idealism" are clear, as are its ideals: they are the values and ideals of a pyschopathic, sadistic, bully; of thieves who would murder and torture children for their lunch money. They are the values and ideals of arrogant fools who believe that remaking the world to their benefit justifies any means, any crime and any outrage.
Those are values we'd be better off being blind to.