2011/02/14

Did G.W. Bush support democracy?

Today, Charles Krauthammer attempts to assign some credit for the Egyptian Revolution to G.W. Bush.
This is incorrect. In 1984, Ed Herman, a professor from the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a book called “Demonstration Elections” where he showed that the elections in South Vietnam after the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem were not essentially distinguishable from the elections in Eastern Europe that were undertaken while those countries were under occupation from the Soviet Union's Red Army. Reading Krauthammer carefully, it's clear that Krauthammer doesn't really disagree that Bush pressed countries of the Mideast to elect the “right” parties and that his reaction when the Palestinians elected the “wrong” party in 2006 (Hamas, which is very hostile to Israel), demonstrated that he really wasn't all that committed to democracy. Bush may have liked the idea of democracy in the abstract, but he clearly wasn't prepared to live with the consequences of actual, real, live, messy and unpredictable democracy in the real world. One could argue whether or not Hamas was the correct choice for Palestinians to make (The Guardian showed that the Bush Administration started immediately plotting against Hamas right after it won the election), but democracy is an all-or-nothing proposition. A nation either trusts another nation to control its own destiny or it doesn't. A nation cannot pick and choose for another nation who gets to run it and to then claim they support democracy in any meaningful sense.
So, can the Bush Administration claim any credit whatsoever for the revolution in Egypt? No, because Egypt did not comply with the conditions laid down by Bush's “Freedom Agenda.”

No comments: