Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements

Remember these sounds bites,

“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.” (G. W. Bush, CNN Thursday, January 20, 2005)

We welcome his initiative. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt have made clear they’re willing to contribute the diplomatic and financial assistance necessary to help these efforts succeed. I’m optimistic that by supporting the forces of democracy and moderation, we can help Israelis and Palestinians build a more hopeful future and achieve the peace in a Holy Land we all want.

Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed — it must be chosen. From Beirut to Baghdad, people are making the choice for freedom. And the nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice, as well: Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East — or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists? America has made its choice: We will stand with the moderates and reformers. (Bush, September 19, 2006)

“The chances of democratic progress in the broader Middle East have seemed frozen in place for decades,” Bush said at the National Defense University at Fort McNair. “Yet, at last, clearly and suddenly, the thaw has begun.” (Bush, WaPo Wednesday, March 9, 2005)

Waking Up to Reality – Condi makes nice in the Middle East

She snapped to in Cairo, one of the stops on her whirlwind tour through the Middle East. Back in February 2005, Rice canceled a trip to Egypt to protest President Hosni Mubarak’s arrest of opposition candidate Ayman Nour. In June of that year, she finally did go to Cairo, but mainly to deliver a speech at the American University demanding that Mubarak grant his people liberty. “We are all concerned for the future of Egypt’s reforms when peaceful supporters of democracy—men and women—are not free from violence,” she declared. “The day must come when the rule of law replaces emergency decrees—and when the independent judiciary replaces arbitrary justice.”

and now,

During this week’s trip, according to Michael Slackman in today’s New York Times, Secretary Rice was much more demure. “I especially want to thank President Mubarak for receiving me and for spending so much time with me to talk about the issues of common interest here in the Middle East,” she said at a press conference. “Obviously the relationship with Egypt is an important strategic relationship—one that we value greatly.”

As Slackman graphically points out, Egypt’s record on democracy and human rights hasn’t improved since Rice’s jeremiad a mere 19 months ago. What has changed? It’s become bracingly clear—to Mubarak, to the would-be reformers across the Middle East, even to Secretary Rice—that America no longer possesses the power or credibility to change the situation. And, at least Rice seems finally to realize, to continue pounding the moral point, simply for the sake of sounding noble and feeling good, would only diminish our standing further and possibly worsen the prospects for Egyptian reform.

To dream of a world that is border to border western style democracy is a noble a political dream. Democracy is liberalism’s blueprint made real. That conservative’s have tried to co-op it like just about every other liberal idea isn’t surprising there is just something about the conservative psyche that prevents it from having its own ideas and Bush’s signing statements are testament to their using democracy more as a propaganda gimmick then anything else. Yet as we can see from Secretary Rice’s reversals it is one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk. There is more then the hypocrisy of the usual political boiler plate cliches that plays well in Peoria. It is the juxtaposition of two realities. They are determined, so they keep saying to force western style democracy down Iraqi’s throat even if they have to kill tens of thousands of Billy Bob Mohammeds to do so, yet when it comes to Egypt they don’t even have the political backbone or moral consistency to challenge Egypt on the diplomatic front. Sure Bush is well versed in the art of the filp-flop, but that doesn’t really do justice to what Bush and his minions do. It is more the art of slithering like a desert snake. They ungulate from this to that grand sound bite cloaking their hypocrisies in smirking arrogance of their slefodecieving cleverness- Sure we’re letting Egypt, Jordan and others continue to make barbarism an everyday fact of life in those countries, but wait we’ll show you where we condemned those practices in the strongest terms – so you see we’re perfectly consistent. When liberals sound cynical about Bush spreading democracy its not that we don’t get all misty eyed at the idea of the world living under Jeffersonian ideals its that we know from the last six years that Bush and Company are talking out of both sides of their many faces.

The Right keeps claiming they’re not racists, On MLK Day, Savage called civil rights a “racket” designed to steal “white males’ birthright”

“Democracy forever teases us with the contrast between its ideals and its realities, between its heroic possibilities and its sorry achievements.” – Agnes Repplier

“The surface of American society is covered with a layer of democratic paint, but from time to time one can see the old aristocratic colours breaking through.” – Alexis de Tocqueville

Advertisements