Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bush: Idealism Down the Tubes

George W. Bush's second inaugural was lauded by his (ever dwindling) fan base. This is what he really stands for, they cried, this is his legacy, on these principles shall history vindicate his maligned and misunderstood presidency. And indeed, some of the rhetoric sounds good (at least on paper-- Bush himself never sounds good):

"We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights and dignity and matchless value because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth.... Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation."
Of course, Bush's conversion to the cause has a very road-to-Damascus feel to it. He campaigned in 2000 by casting scorn on nation building and humanitarian intervention, and his "human rights" justification for his Iraqi misadventure was only dragged out of the closet at the last minute when his earlier excuses (WMDs, Al Qaeda connections) turned out to have been fabricated. So, it's no surprise to learn that he didn't really mean what he said all along. As noted today in the Washington Post, Bush's new best friend is none other than President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan. This guy is not the invention of Sasha Baron Cohen's feverish mind, but he could be. Nazarbayev had banned opposition parties, and muzzled the press. Also, he has a reputation for corruption, and stands accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing $78 million in bribes from one businessman alone. What's reward? A warm embrace by Bush, and even a visit to his compound in Maine! Oh, there's one thing I forgot to mention: Kazakhstan has lots and lots of oil.

Oh, and let's not forget Bush's other best friend in the region, Islam Karimov, the dictator of Uzbekistan, who not only stamps out all opposition, but is is also a notorious torturer, his favorite technique being boiling people to death. I guess he agrees with Bush that the Geneva convention protections do not apply terrorists.

1 comment:

The Arab Guy said...

I do not see why this is surprising: the US is definitely not in the middle east to pursue democracy and human rights but to pursue adn defend its strategic interests (closely related to black gold, i.e, OIL). Its support for authoritarian regimes (present in the 70s and 80s in Latin america or even for Saddam's Irak when he was fighting Iran and gassing kurds) is still omnipresent today despite the announced so-called new "push for a democratic middle east". This should of course not be surprising since democracy in the region would probably propel some islamic groups in power since they are the only recognized and organized political opposition in these countries (a la Hamas or Hezbollah).

What is shocking and amazing is that Bush administration officials keep making this a fight for democracy and freedom and call Egypt, Saudi Arabia moderate Arabs (when they are indeed authoritian repressive regimes). How can the US public buy this nonsense is beyond me? but then again, who would have thought they would have voted for this guy a second time after having observed his dismal record!

The question is: How was that possible?