As to national security, this is another matter. What we really need to do is lay out our foreign policy principles and what we want to achieve globally. One area is promoting democracy– that is a key liberal goal and principle, to be sure. And George W. Bush SAYS the same thing– HE wants to promote democracy. Ah, but he doesn’t DO it. And we can point to example after example, from condoning a military dictatorship in Pakistan, helping to oust the democratally elected leader in Haiti, supporting dictatorships in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and other examples. While the rhetoric is there, Bush actually does the opposite of promoting democracy in practice. And our failure to support democracies only strengthens terrorists, and undermines, rather than strengthens, our security.
And, would you believe it, the Washington Post gives us this story, decrying the Bush Administration’s tepid support of democracy in the context of muted at best statements of “concern” about the coup deposing a democratically elected government in Thailand, even the very day Bush made “pro-democracy” statements to the U.N. General Assembly.
As Billmon observes, while Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra seems to be a corrupt-self-dealing-super-rich-media-mogul, i.e., the Berluschoni of Thailand, he is also ungodly popular in rural areas for redistributional programs, improved health care and the like, i.e., the Hugo Chavez of Thailand. Hence, needless to say, few tears were probably shed in Washington over Thaksin’s ouster. (Note also Billmon’s punchline, that the Administration looks forward to a new free-trade agreement with Thailand as soon as the coup settles in!)
Still, proving Bill Scher’s prescience, the WaPo piece also notes Bush’s tacit support of military-coup-leader Pervez Musharaf in Pakistan, obviously in the thick of the region we do care about (running, of course, from Iraq to Afghanistan).
So… life hear at the talking dog imitates life in general… only before it happens. So there. OK, boys and girls: why don’t we all ask the President how come he goes to the UN and says he supports democracy and democracies, but when he sees a rather large one taken down right before his eyes, he won’t even rhetorically behave as if he means his own words, or even meet the deposed PM. How come, Mr. President? Perhaps we can rightly conclude that you don’t mean anything you say, and that it’s all just cover to beat up on your domestic opponents as an after-thought for your abysmal failures in Iraq, and soon, Afghanistan and maybe Iran?
Given the President’s (1) personal and political lineage, i.e., he only has his job because of his birth order and whose son he is, and (2) his seeming obsession with the perverse minutiae of legalizing torture (we won’t even mention the proposed enactment of star chambers and proposed codification of domestic secret police surveillance methods), maybe we should start referring to him as “Qusay Bush” and perhaps to his even-more-torture-obsessed second in command as “Uday Cheney” (reverse the names if you like; it still works, even if their governance, by and large, doesn’t.)
All affectionately, of course. (Yes, yes, I know it’s a hyperbole… though sadly, not as much of one as we’d all like it to be.) In the meantime, folks… stay tuned to “the talking dog” for more of tomorrow’s news… today!