Hey, I wish the president the best of luck in pursuing a more compasionate foreign policy. I think a more compassionate foreign policy would be great thing. The timing is kind of interesting. We're running down the clock towards November 2nd. The national media doesn't pay attention to the attempted letter-bombings of several governors because they can't be neatly tied into the "Islamic Terrorists" story-line, y'know "Swarthy, dark-skinned Ay-rabs causing havoc in innocent white America, home of the brave and land of the free." Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has never convincingly denied that they intend to invade Iran and Syria next (Not sure which one gets it first, Iran might develop an atom bomb before the US can launch anything.) The PNAC is a group that featured many members of the current Administration, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security John Bolton and Senior Director, National Security Council Elliott Abrams.
The following statement from the PNAC's website concerning their attititude towards Iran is very interesting:
Iran's leaders have begun to make gestures of cooperation with the United States - which is not at all surprising given the presence of American forces in the surrounding countries of Iraq and Afghanistan and the rapidly declining legitimacy of the regime with the Iranian people. Given the Bush administration's goals for stemming the WMD proliferation and reigning in terrorist groups, it may be tempting [for Iran] to pursue closer ties with the powerful clerics. However, as McFaul and Milani note, there is little reason to believe that a commitment made by the Iranian government on these issues would be anything but an expedient retreat or, indeed, that it would be honored at all. In the meantime, by engaging the regime, the administration would "send a demoralizing signal to Iran's democratic forces," who over the long-term could actually provide the U.S. with "more lasting gains."
Regardless of how much of the statement is true, it does NOT display a friendly, tolerant "live-and-let-live" attitude. Note that anything good or cooperative Iran may do is to be attributed entirely to US military force.
This statement suggests a strong desire to take a direct hand in rebuilding and redesigning Syria to meet specifications:
And, if "coercive democratization" more broadly means using aggressively all the tools of American statecraft to reform regimes, then, I'm sure the peoples of Poland, South Korea and South Africa are glad they too were not left to the vagaries of neoliberal policymakers. Are the impoverished and tyrannized populations of the Muslim world really going to take comfort in a policy perspective that, as Asmus and Pollack put it, says that "true success will come only from a long-term effort to help push Arabs to reform their societies from within." Do neo-liberals really think that this is a strategy likely to work with Syria, in Lebanon or with Persian Iran? Whatever the shortcomings of "coercive democratization," it has at least the virtue of realizing the dangers we face now and the corrupt and thuggish character of the regimes in place today.
Note the complete contempt shown for any solution that does not involve massive violence. The solution proposed by the critics Asmus and Pollack seems quite sensible. expecially given the complete failure of US policy to achieve any sort of democratization in Iraq, but it's dismissed offhand.
It's difficult to see what the point of mentioning Poland, South Korea and South Africa is. Poland was not liberated from Soviet tyranny by American troops invading East Germany. The Soviet Union collaped without much help from the US at all. South Korea was not liberated from its 100 or so days of occupation by North Korea because the US was concerned about fuzzy absract issues like tyranny. North Korea attacked a country that was occupied by American troops. Failure to defend it would have humiliated the US and made it look like a "paper tiger" The issue of "democatization" was neither here nor there. South Africa's blacks were not rescued from the apartheid policies of white South Africans by anything other than peaceful economic and diplomatic methods. Yet, the writer seems to believe that "coercive democratization" works just fine.
Given the membership of the PNAC in 1998, the PNAC's attitude towards Iran and Syria and the policies pursued by the Bush Administration along with Rumsfeld's apparent stranglehold over many aspects of US policy, the burden of proof that the US does not plan to invade Iran and Syria lies very much with the Bush Administration.
The idea that Bush's foreign policy HAS a compassionate side is a sick joke, good for a few mordant chuckles.