I don’t write about foreign affairs all that much, although the topic probably takes up nearly a third of my reading list. My interest was rekindled by this book, and it carried along by an entire category of blogs, including this one and this one.
My tepid nature toward expressing any opinion on foreign affairs can be pretty much summed up by my confusion over the Democratic response to the Bush Doctrine (Freedom everywhere I guess). Instead of calling bullshit and pointing out that he doesn’t believe it himself, we play it straight as if Bush really is working to advance freedom and argue for a sort of bubbly non-interventionist blah blah blah… Ugh.
For me, freedom everywhere is important. Should be the one point on foreign affairs that we don’t dicker on. I like the idea of an international democracy organization, and I don’t like the double speak on dictators that are our “friends” on one hand and dictators that stand up to us on the other.
What is the difference between Hosni Mubarak/Pervez Musharraf and Hugo Chávez? The first two like Bush’s foreign policy so their distaste for democracy is ok, while Chávez openly doesn’t like the President, so he’s an evil strong man.
Anyway, the point here is to point to another post that put me on this overlly long rant. Jon Perr has a series of really good points that I won’t try to repeat. This is just the first part, read the entire thing:
This week’s coup in Thailand highlighted once again the yawning chasm between rhetoric and reality when it comes to President Bush’s clarion call for the global expansion of democracy. The tanks rolled in Bangkok at virtually the same moment the President lectured the United Nations about people “from Beirut to Baghdad” making “the choice for freedom.” Yet the White House was silent regarding the overthrow of the democratically elected if corrupt Thaksin government.
It’s hardly the first time the global community heard crickets chirping from the Bush White House as democratic regimes were swept away on its watch.
Bush policy has been and continues to be at odds with the lofty rhetoric of democracy promotion. The American confrontation with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez stems in large part from Bush administration support for the 2002 coup that briefly removed him from power. Chavez may well be a thug and friend of Castro, but he was democratically elected, prompting 19 OAS member states to denounce the coup. But in Washington, press spokesman Ari Fleischer blamed Chavez for his overthrow and signaled tacit White House support. Following the collapse of the coup, Condi Rice could only mutter, “I hope that Hugo Chavez takes the message that his people sent him that his own policies are not working for the Venezuelan people.” It is no wonder Senator Chris Dodd protested the Bush policy in Venezuela, worrying that “to stand silent while the illegal ouster of a government is occurring is deeply troubling and will have profound implications for hemispheric democracy.”