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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Friday, August 22, 2008

Endless Liberal (Democrat) Whining....

It got old about 2 years ago, after listening to these clowns droning on and whining endlessly about our nation's declining world perception due to........(drum roll please)......George W. Bush and his ___________ (fill in the blank) policies. Well, for those hyper-partisan Democrats, a little grounding in reality is on order. In this recent article in Foreign Affairs, the writer brings us back to reality and some chronological truths...
Hard as it may be to recall, the United States' problems with the world -- or, rather, the world's problems with the United States -- started before George W. Bush took office. French Foreign Minister Hubert VĂ©drine complained about the "hyperpower" in 1998. In 1999, Samuel Huntington argued in these pages that much of the world saw the Unites States as a "rogue superpower," "intrusive, interventionist, exploitative, unilateralist, hegemonic, hypocritical."
Yes, these age old prejudices against the US faded somewhat in the months following 9/11, they were never very deep below the surface....
When the shock and horror wore off, it turned out that the September 11 attacks had not altered fundamental global attitudes toward the United States. The resentments remained. A Pew poll of opinion leaders around the world taken in December 2001 revealed that while most were "sad to see what America [was] going through," equally large majorities (70 percent of those polled worldwide, 66 percent in western Europe) believed it was "good that Americans know what it is like to be vulnerable." Many opinion leaders around the world, including in Europe, said they believed that "U.S. policies and actions in the world" had been a "major cause" of the terrorist attacks and that, to borrow a phrase, the chickens had come home to roost.
See, what the Europeans think (and some American liberals) is that we deserved it. Its our policies that drove the bloodthirsty Muslims to attack. But to criticise the US'es more aggressive foreign policy after the attacks is to practice self deception. It is silly for anyone to think that any country can eschew self-interest at all times. In fact, one should EXPECT that all countries act in their self interest. This is reality and reality was what infected US foreign policy in the Bush years. And its important recognize and accept that this Bush policy was not too far off of Clinton's in the late 90's.....
The principal rationales for invading Iraq predated the war on terror, however, and also predated Bush's realism. They were consistent with the broader view of U.S. interests that had prevailed in the Clinton years and during the Cold War. Iraq in the 1990s had been seen by many not as a direct threat to the United States but as a problem of world order for which the United States had a special responsibility. As then National Security Adviser Sandy Berger had argued in 1998, "The future of Iraq will affect the way in which the Middle East and the Arab world in particular evolve in the next decade and beyond." That was why people such as Richard Armitage, Francis Fukuyama, and Robert Zoellick could sign a letter in 1998 calling for Saddam's forcible removal. That was why, as The New York Times' Bill Keller (now the paper's executive editor) wrote at the time, liberals in what he called "The I-Can't-Believe-I'm-a-Hawk Club" supported the war, including "op-ed regulars at [The New York Times] and The Washington Post, the editors of The New Yorker, The New Republic and Slate, columnists in Time and Newsweek," as well as many former Clinton officials.

Those liberals and progressives who favored war against Iraq did so for much the same reason they had favored war in the Balkans: as necessary to help preserve the liberal international order. They preferred to see the United States get UN backing for the war, but they also knew this had been impossible in the case of Kosovo. Their chief worry was that the Bush administration, after toppling Saddam, would take a narrow realist approach in dealing with the aftermath.
This previous passage channels an inconvenient problem for the anti-Bush crowd, and that is that they were supporters of this very policy in earlier iterations. The only defenses that many of these people have been able to conjure up for their complicity is a defense centered on being 'duped' or being oversold by GWB. Some even crazier arguments center on a argument where Bush and Cheney entered the war for profit and personal gain. But this conspiracy oriented argument flies just below schizophrenic hallucination clouds and are completely disassociated with the policy and direction that American policy was moving in the years prior to the Bush administration.


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