Nic, Bupkis and Nichevo

About Nothing, by Nothing, with German-flavored cleavage occasionally thrown in for local color.

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

You can email me at NicBupkusNichevo at aol dot com. Aren't you excited?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Evolution or Devolution? From Bush to Reagan in the cause of liberation

Power Line linked to a thoughtful review over at the Claremont Institute, comparing and contrasting the remarkable changes in America foreign policy in regards to regime change as symbolized by the Reagan and Bush doctrines.

By comparison, the Bush Doctrine puts the democratization of once totalitarian, quondam authoritarian, and persistently tribal societies at the center of its objectives. The case of Afghanistan shows, to be sure, that the Reagan Doctrine had its drawbacks. Left to itself, Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal did not resume its former ways, at least not for long, and certainly did not evolve into a democracy. Instead, it succumbed to the Taliban's peculiar Islamic totalitarianism. Nevertheless, the Bush Administration's policy is not merely to expunge the totalitarians there and in Iraq, but to ensure that they never return by reconstructing their societies along democratic lines. Authoritarianism (at least in the Middle East) is no longer acceptable. The U.S. now proposes to liberate these nations from the captivity of their own unhappy traditions.

While I give the current President all the credit in the world for his wish to free the world and bring them around to the democratic way of life (something I think is highly motivated by his deep Christian faith), I worry about the lack of pragmatism highlighted in this article. Even Reagan realized that Winthrop's "shining city" occasionally had to get its hands dirty in the short term in favor of a better long term goal. There's a sense of pragmatism and, yes, compromise that seems entirely missing in Bush's inaugural speech. I wonder if that comes from his evangelical Christianity, too, and worry if our efforts under this goal might send us back to the bad old days of 1960s "innocents abroad", a sort of "Hulk SMASH" approach to foreign policy. And while Secretary Rice is a woman of great intelligence and abilities, I worry that her background in Soviet-era politics will color her approaches to a need for a great deal more subtlety. Waiting for the bad guys to be late to the UN so we can put the photographs of their rockets up in the Security Council isn't going to work anymore.

But read the article and form your own opinion.


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