AN END TO REALISM?:

October 27, 2005

Spy Agencies Told to ‘Bolster the Growth of Democracy’ (DOUGLAS JEHL, 10/27/05, NY Times)

A new strategy document issued Wednesday by the Bush administration ranks efforts to “bolster the growth of democracy” among the three top missions for American intelligence agencies.

John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, said the rankings were intended to align the work of intelligence agencies with the administration’s broader national security goals. The top two “mission objectives” are efforts to counter terrorism and weapons proliferation. […]

Among other things, the strategy says that “collectors, analysts and operators” within the 15 American intelligence agencies should seek to “forge relationships with new and incipient democracies” in order to help “strengthen the rule of law and ward off threats to representative government.” The strategy, published on http://www.dni.gov, is unclassified, and the officials said it was not intended to apply in any way to any covert action that might be undertaken by the United States.

You’d have to fire everyone in the intelligence and diplomatic services get the institutions to reverse courses like this–which is exactly what they should do.


RIGHT AND TRUE (via Mike Daley):

October 26, 2005

President Addresses Joint Armed Forces Officers’ Wives’ Luncheon (George W. Bush, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.)

In four years since September the 11th, the evil that reached our shores has reappeared on other days, in other places — in Mombasa and Casablanca and Riyadh and Jakarta and Istanbul and Madrid and Beslan and Taba, Netanya, Baghdad, and elsewhere. In the past few months, we’ve seen a new terror offensive with attacks in London, Sharm el-Sheikh, and a deadly bombing in Bali once again. All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random and isolated acts of madness. Innocent men and women and children have died simply because they were in the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology — a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it is called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews — and also against Muslims who do not share their radical vision, whom they regard as heretics.

Many militants are part of a — global, borderless terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, which spreads propaganda and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like the attacks of September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda — paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia and the Philippines and Pakistan and Chechnya and Kashmir and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells, inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for our world. And we know the vision of the radicals because they’ve stated it openly — in videos and audiotapes and letters and declarations and on websites.

First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and we stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate — and I quote — their “resources, sons and money to driving the infidels out of our lands.” The tactics of al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists have been consistent for a quarter-century: They hit us, and expect us to run.

Earlier this month, the world learned of a letter written by al Qaeda’s number two leader, a man named Zawahiri, a letter he wrote to his chief deputy in Iraq, the terrorist Zarqawi. In it, Zawahiri points to Vietnam as a model for al Qaeda. He writes: “The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam, and how they ran and left their agents, is noteworthy.” The terrorists witnessed a similar response after the attacks of American troops in Beirut in 1983, Mogadishu in 1993. They believe that America can be made to run again — only this time, on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

Secondly, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Jordan for potential takeover. They’ve achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. And now they’ve set their sights on Iraq. In his recent letter, Zawahiri writes that al Qaeda views Iraq as, “the place for the greatest battle.” The terrorists regard Iraq as the central front in their war against humanity. And we must recognize Iraq as the central front in our war on terror.

Third, the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Zawahiri writes that the terrorists, “must not have their mission end with the expulsion of Americans from Iraq.” He goes on to say, “The jihad requires several incremental goals — expel the Americans from Iraq; establish the Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq; extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.”

With the greater economic and military and political power they seek, the terrorists would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction; to destroy Israel; to intimidate Europe; to assault the American people; and to blackmail our government into isolation.

Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. Well, they are fanatical and extreme — and they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed. As Zarqawi has vowed, “We will either achieve victory over the human race, or we will pass to the eternal life.” And the civilized world knows very well that other fanatics in history — from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot — consumed whole nations in war and genocide before leaving the stage of history. Evil men, obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience, must be taken very seriously — and we must stop them before their crimes can multiply. (Applause.)

Defeating the militant network is difficult because it thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustrations of others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution. They exploit resentful and disillusioned young men and women, recruiting them through radical mosques, as the pawns of terror. And they exploit modern technology to multiply their destructive power. Instead of attending faraway training camps, recruits can now access online training libraries to learn how to build a roadside bomb, or fire a rocket-propelled grenade — and this further spreads the threat of violence, even within peaceful democratic societies.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They’ve been sheltered by authoritarian regimes — allies of convenience like Syria and Iran — that share the goal of hurting America and modern Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West, on America, and on the Jews.

The radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity. They’re strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam in unstable parts of the world. The militants are aided, as well, by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories, and speak of a so-called American “war on Islam” — with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Somalia, and Kosovo and Kuwait and Iraq; with seldom a world about — word about the generous assistance to Muslims recovering from natural disasters in places like Indonesia and Pakistan.

Some have argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September 11th, 2001, and al Qaeda attacked us anyway. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse. (Applause.)

The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan. Over the years these extremists have used a litany of excuses for violence — the Israeli presence on the West Bank, or the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia, or the defeat of the Taliban, or the Crusades of a thousand years ago. In fact, we’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We’re facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world.

No acts of ours involves the rage of killers. And no concessions, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans of murder. On the contrary; they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence. Against such an enemy, there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims — and I quote — “what is good for them and what is not.” And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise — though he never offers to go along for the ride. (Laughter.)

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We’ve seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Margaret Hassan, and many, many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim’s grieving mother and said, “I do not feel your pain because I believe you’re an infidel.” And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

When 25 Iraqi children are killed in a bombing, or Iraqi teachers are executed at their school, or hospital workers are killed caring for the wounded, this is murder, pure and simple — the total rejection of justice and honor and morality and religion. These militants are not just enemies of America or enemies of Iraq, they are the enemies of Islam and enemies of humanity. (Applause.)

We have seen this kind of shameless cruelty before — in the heartless zealotry that led to the gulags, the Cultural Revolution, and the killing fields. Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination; they wish to make everyone powerless, except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books and desecrated historical monuments and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, and to rule the soul, itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing a future of oppression and misery.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy is dismissive of free peoples, claiming that men and women who live in liberty are weak and decadent. Zarqawi has said that Americans are, “the most cowardly of God’s creatures.” But let us be clear: It is cowardice that seeks to kill children and the elderly with car bombs. It’s cowardice that cuts the throat of a bound captive. It is cowardice that targets worshipers leaving a mosque. It is courage that liberated more than 50 million people; it is courage that keeps an untiring vigil against the enemies of a rising democracy. It is courage in the cause of freedom that will once again destroy the enemies of freedom. (Applause.)

And Islamic radicalism, like the ideology of communism, contains inherent contradictions that doom it to failure. By fearing freedom — by distrusting human creativity and punishing change, and limiting the contributions of half the population — this ideology undermines the very qualities that make human progress possible, and human societies successful. The only thing modern about the militants’ vision is the weapons they want to use against us. The rest of their grim vision is defined by a warped image of the past — a declaration of war on the idea of progress, itself. And whatever lies ahead in the war against this ideology, the outcome is not in doubt: Those who despise freedom and progress have condemned themselves to isolation, decline and collapse. Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future. […]

The fifth element of our strategy in the war on terror is to deny the militants of future recruits by replacing hatred and resentment with democracy and hope across the broader Middle East. This is difficult, and it’s a long-term project; yet there’s no alternative to it. Our future and the future of that region are linked. If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery, while radicals stir the resentments of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger — in our own generation and in the next. If the peoples of that region are permitted to choose their own destiny, and advance by their own energy and participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized, and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow, and eventually end. By standing for the hope and freedom of others, we make our own freedom more secure.

America is making this stand in practical ways. We are encouraging our friends in the Middle East, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to take the path of reform, to strengthen their own societies in the fight against terror by respecting the rights and choices of their own people. We’re standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes, because we know that the dissidents of today will be the democratic leaders of tomorrow. We’re making our case through public diplomacy, stating clearly and confidently our belief in self-determination, and the rule of law, and religious freedom, and equal rights for women — beliefs that are right and true in every land, and in every culture. (Applause.)

And as we do our part to confront radicalism, we know that the most vital work will be done within the Islamic world, itself. And this work has begun. Many Muslim scholars have publicly condemned terrorism, often citing Chapter 5, Verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is the killing of all humanity — is like killing all humanity, and saving the life of one person is like saving all of humanity.

After the attacks in London on July the 7th, an imam in the UAE declared, “Whoever does such a thing is not a Muslim, nor a religious person.” The time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to join in denouncing an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends, and defiles a noble faith.

Many people of the Muslim faith are proving their commitment at great personal risk. Everywhere we have engaged the fight against extremism, Muslim allies have stood up and joined the fight, becoming partners in a vital cause. Afghan troops are in combat against Taliban remnants. Iraqi soldiers are sacrificing to defeat the al Qaeda in their own country. These brave citizens know the stakes: the survival of their own liberty, the future of their own region, the justice and humanity of their own tradition — and we are proud to stand beside them. (Applause.)

With the rise of a deadly enemy and the unfolding of a global ideological struggle, our time in history will be remembered for new challenges and unprecedented dangers. And yet the fight we’ve joined is also the current expression of an ancient struggle — between those who put their faith in dictators, and those who put their faith in the people. Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision — and they end up alienating decent people across the globe. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure — until those societies collapse in corruption and decay. Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that free men and women are weak and decadent — until the day that free men and women defeat them.

We don’t know the course of — our own struggle will take, or the sacrifices that might lie ahead. We do know, however, that the defense of freedom is worth our sacrifice. We do know that the love of freedom is the mightiest force of history. We do know the strength and character that our troops and military families bring to the fight. And we do know that the cause of freedom will once again prevail. (Applause.)

These are historic times. It’s a vital time for our nation and the world. And I want to thank you for your courage and thank you for your sacrifice. May God bless your loved ones. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our country.


PAT'S WONDROUS SHYNESS:

October 19, 2005

Faith-Based War (Pat Buchanan, 10/19/05, Real Clear Politics)

“This is a very positive day … for world peace,” said President Bush, following the referendum on a new Iraqi constitution. “Democracies are peaceful countries.” Considering that Iraq is perhaps the least peaceful country on earth, the statement seemed jarring.

It should not be. For it reflects a quasi-religious transformation in George W. Bush — his political conversion to democratism, a faith-based ideology that holds democracy to be the cure for mankind’s ills, and its absence to be the principal cause of terror and war.

In the theology of a devout democratist, if Americans will only persevere in using their power to convert the Islamic world, then the whole world, to democracy, we will come as close as mankind can to creating heaven on earth.

As Bush said in his second inaugural, “So, it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

Speaking, three weeks ago, to the 20th birthday conclave of the National Endowment for Democracy, Bush recited the true believer’s creed: “If the peoples (of the Middle East) are permitted to choose their own destiny … by their participation as free men and women, then the extremists will be marginalized and the flow of violent radicalism to the rest of the world will slow and eventually end.”

The president was seconded by Vice President Cheney on CNN: “I think … we will, in fact, succeed in getting democracy established in Iraq, and I think that when we do, that will be the end of the insurgency.”

Upon this faith Bush has wagered his presidency, the lives of America’s best and bravest, and our entire position in the Middle East and the world.

Mr. Buchanan might recall working for a gentleman who shared that faith, even if he no longer shares it himself, Reagan at Westminster (Ronald W. Reagan, Address to Members of the British Parliament, June 8, 1982)

[Fr]om here I will go to Bonn and then Berlin, where there stands a grim symbol of power untamed. The Berlin Wall, that dreadful gray gash across the city, is in its third decade. It is the fitting signature of the regime that built it.

And a few hundred kilometers behind the Berlin Wall, there is another symbol. In the center of Warsaw, there is a sign that notes the distances to two capitals. In one direction it points toward Moscow. In the other it points toward Brussels, headquarters of Western Europe’s tangible unity. The marker says that the distances from Warsaw to Moscow and Warsaw to Brussels are equal. The sign makes this point: Poland is not East or West. Poland is at the center of European civilization. It has contributed mightily to that civilization. It is doing so today by being magnificently unreconciled to oppression.

Poland’s struggle to be Poland and to secure the basic rights we often take for granted demonstrates why we dare not take those rights for granted. Gladstone, defending the Reform Bill of 1866, declared, “You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side.” It was easier to believe in the march of democracy in Gladstone’s day — in that high noon of Victorian optimism.

We’re approaching the end of a bloody century plagued by a terrible political invention — totalitarianism. Optimism comes less easily today, not because democracy is less vigorous, but because democracy’s enemies have refined their instruments of repression. Yet optimism is in order, because day by day democracy is proving itself to be a not-at-all-fragile flower. From Stettin on the Baltic to Varna on the Black Sea, the regimes planted by totalitarianism have had more than 30 years to establish their legitimacy. But none — not one regime — has yet been able to risk free elections. Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.

The strength of the Solidarity movement in Poland demonstrates the truth told in an underground joke in the Soviet Union. It is that the Soviet Union would remain a one-party nation even if an opposition party were permitted, because everyone would join the opposition party.

America’s time as a player on the stage of world history has been brief. I think understanding this fact has always made you patient with your younger cousins — well, not always patient. I do recall that on one occasion, Sir Winston Churchill said in exasperation about one of our most distinguished diplomats: “He is the only case I know of a bull who carries his china shop with him.”

But witty as Sir Winston was, he also had that special attribute of great statesmen — the gift of vision, the willingness to see the future based on the experience of the past. It is this sense of history, this understanding of the past that I want to talk with you about today, for it is in remembering what we share of the past that our two nations can make common cause for the future.

We have not inherited an easy world. If developments like the Industrial Revolution, which began here in England, and the gifts of science and technology have made life much easier for us, they have also made it more dangerous. There are threats now to our freedom, indeed to our very existence, that other generations could never even have imagined.

There is first the threat of global war. No President, no Congress, no Prime Minister, no Parliament can spend a day entirely free of this threat. And I don’t have to tell you that in today’s world the existence of nuclear weapons could mean, if not the extinction of mankind, then surely the end of civilization as we know it. That’s why negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear forces now underway in Europe and the START talks — Strategic Arms Reduction Talks — which will begin later this month, are not just critical to American or Western policy; they are critical to mankind. Our commitment to early success in these negotiations is firm and unshakable, and our purpose is clear: reducing the risk of war by reducing the means of waging war on both sides.

At the same time there is a threat posed to human freedom by the enormous power of the modern state. History teaches the dangers of government that overreaches — political control taking precedence over free economic growth, secret police, mindless bureaucracy, all combining to stifle individual excellence and personal freedom.

Now, I’m aware that among us here and throughout Europe there is legitimate disagreement over the extent to which the public sector should play a role in a nation’s economy and life. But on one point all of us are united — our abhorrence of dictatorship in all its forms, but most particularly totalitarianism and the terrible inhumanities it has caused in our time — the great purge, Auschwitz and Dachau, the Gulag, and Cambodia.

Historians looking back at our time will note the consistent restraint and peaceful intentions of the West. They will note that it was the democracies who refused to use the threat of their nuclear monopoly in the forties and early fifties for territorial or imperial gain. Had that nuclear monopoly been in the hands of the Communist world, the map of Europe — indeed, the world — would look very different today. And certainly they will note it was not the democracies that invaded Afghanistan or supressed Polish Solidarity or used chemical and toxin warfare in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.

If history teaches anything it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly. We see around us today the marks of our terrible dilemma — predictions of doomsday, antinuclear demonstrations, an arms race in which the West must, for its own protection, be an unwilling participant. At the same time we see totalitarian forces in the world who seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit. What, then, is our course? Must civilization perish in a hail of fiery atoms?

Must freedom wither in a quiet, deadening accommodation with totalitarian evil?

Sir Winston Churchill refused to accept the inevitability of war or even that it was imminent. He said, “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. But what we have to consider here today while time remains is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries.”

Well, this is precisely our mission today: to preserve freedom as well as peace. It may not be easy to see; but I believe we live now at a turning point.

In an ironic sense Karl Marx was right. We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political order. But the crisis is happening not in the free, non-Marxist West, but in the home of Marxist-Leninism, the Soviet Union. It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then.

The dimensions of this failure are astounding: A country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people. Were it not for the private sector, the tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine. These private plots occupy a bare 3 percent of the arable land but account for nearly one-quarter of Soviet farm output and nearly one-third of meat products and vegetables. Overcentralized, with little or no incentives, year after year the Soviet system pours its best resource into the making of instruments of destruction. The constant shrinkage of economic growth combined with the growth of military production is putting a heavy strain on the Soviet people. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones.

The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us. Wherever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies — West Germany and East Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, Malaysia and Vietnam — it is the democratic countries what are prosperous and responsive to the needs of their people. And one of the simple but overwhelming facts of our time is this: Of all the millions of refugees we’ve seen in the modern world, their flight is always away from, not toward the Communist world. Today on the NATO line, our military forces face east to prevent a possible invasion. On the other side of the line, the Soviet forces also face east to prevent their people from leaving.

The hard evidence of totalitarian rule has caused in mankind an uprising of the intellect and will. Whether it is the growth of the new schools of economics in America or England or the appearance of the so-called new philosophers in France, there is one unifying thread running through the intellectual work of these groups — rejection of the arbitrary power of the state, the refusal to subordinate the rights of the individual to the superstate, the realization that collectivism stifles all the best human impulses.

Since the exodus from Egypt, historians have written of those who sacrificed and struggled for freedom — the stand at Thermopylae, the revolt of Spartacus, the storming of the Bastille, the Warsaw uprising in World War II. More recently we’ve seen evidence of this same human impulse in one of the developing nations in Central America. For months and months the world news media covered the fighting in El Salvador. Day after day we were treated to stories and film slanted toward the brave freedom-fighters battling oppressive government forces in behalf of the silent, suffering people of that tortured country.

And then one day those silent, suffering people were offered a chance to vote, to choose the kind of government they wanted. Suddenly the freedom-fighters in the hills were exposed for what they really are — Cuban-backed guerrillas who want power for themselves, and their backers, not democracy for the people. They threatened death to any who voted, and destroyed hundreds of buses and trucks to keep the people from getting to the polling places. But on election day, the people of El Salvador, an unprecedented 1.4 million of them, braved ambush and gunfire, and trudged for miles to vote for freedom.

They stood for hours in the hot sun waiting for their turn to vote. Members of our Congress who went there as observers told me of a women who was wounded by rifle fire on the way to the polls, who refused to leave the line to have her wound treated until after she had voted. A grandmother, who had been told by the guerrillas she would be killed when she returned from the polls, and she told the guerrillas, “You can kill me, you can kill my family, kill my neighbors, but you can’t kill us all.” The real freedom-fighters of El Salvador turned out to be the people of that country — the young, the old, the in-between.

Strange, but in my own country there’s been little if any news coverage of that war since the election. Now, perhaps they’ll say it’s — well, because there are newer struggles now.

On distant islands in the South Atlantic young men are fighting for Britain. And, yes, voices have been raised protesting their sacrifice for lumps of rock and earth so far away. But those young men aren’t fighting for mere real estate. They fight for a cause — for the belief that armed aggression must not be allowed to succeed, and the people must participate in the decisions of government — [applause] — the decisions of government under the rule of law. If there had been firmer support for that principle some 45 years ago, perhaps our generation wouldn’t have suffered the bloodletting of World War II.

In the Middle East now the guns sound once more, this time in Lebanon, a country that for too long has had to endure the tragedy of civil war, terrorism, and foreign intervention and occupation. The fighting in Lebanon on the part of all parties must stop, and Israel should bring its forces home. But this is not enough. We must all work to stamp out the scourge of terrorism that in the Middle East makes war an ever-present threat.

But beyond the troublespots lies a deeper, more positive pattern. Around the world today, the democratic revolution is gathering new strength. In India a critical test has been passed with the peaceful change of governing political parties. In Africa, Nigeria is moving into remarkable and unmistakable ways to build and strengthen its democratic institutions. In the Caribbean and Central America, 16 of 24 countries have freely elected governments. And in the United Nations, 8 of the 10 developing nations which have joined that body in the past 5 years are democracies.

In the Communist world as well, man’s instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again. To be sure, there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule — 1953 in East Germany, 1956 in Hungary, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, 1981 in Poland. But the struggle continues in Poland. And we know that there are even those who strive and suffer for freedom within the confines of the Soviet Union itself. How we conduct ourselves here in the Western democracies will determine whether this trend continues.

No, democracy is not a fragile flower. Still it needs cultivating. If the rest of this century is to witness the gradual growth of freedom and democratic ideals, we must take actions to assist the campaign for democracy.

Some argue that we should encourage democratic change in right-wing dictatorships, but not in Communist regimes. Well, to accept this preposterous notion — as some well-meaning people have — is to invite the argument that once countries achieve a nuclear capability, they should be allowed an undisturbed reign of terror over their own citizens.

We reject this course.

As for the Soviet view, Chairman Brezhnev repeatedly has stressed that the competition of ideas and systems must continue and that this is entirely consistent with relaxation of tensions and peace.

Well, we ask only that these systems begin by living up to their own constitutions, abiding by their own laws, and complying with the international obligations they have undertaken. We ask only for a process, a direction, a basic code of decency, not for an instant transformation.

We cannot ignore the fact that even without our encouragement there has been and will continue to be repeated explosions against repression and dictatorships. The Soviet Union itself is not immune to this reality. Any system is inherently unstable that has no peaceful means to legitimize its leaders. In such cases, the very repressiveness of the state ultimately drives people to resist it, if necessary, by force.

While we must be cautious about forcing the pace of change, we must not hesitate to declare our ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move toward them. We must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. So states the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, among other things, guarantees free elections.

The objective I propose is quite simple to state: to foster the infrastructure of democracy, the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities, which allows a people to choose their own way to develop their own culture, to reconcile their own differences through peaceful means.

This is not cultural imperialism, it is providing the means for genuine self-determination and protection for diversity. Democracy already flourishes in countries with very different cultures and historical experiences. It would be cultural condescension, or worse, to say that any people prefer dictatorship to democracy. Who would voluntarily choose not to have the right to vote, decide to purchase government propaganda handouts instead of independent newspapers, prefer government to worker-controlled unions, opt for land to be owned by the state instead of those who till it, want government repression of religious liberty, a single political party instead of a free choice, a rigid cultural orthodoxy instead of democratic tolerance and diversity?

Since 1917 the Soviet Union has given covert political training and assistance to Marxist-Leninists in many countries. Of course, it also has promoted the use of violence and subversion by these same forces. Over the past several decades, West European and other Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, and leaders have offered open assistance to fraternal, political, and social institutions to bring about peaceful and democratic progress. Appropriately, for a vigorous new democracy, the Federal Republic of Germany’s political foundations have become a major force in this effort.

We in America now intend to take additional steps, as many of our allies have already done, toward realizing this same goal. The chairmen and other leaders of the national Republican and Democratic Party organizations are initiating a study with the bipartisan American political foundation to determine how the United States can best contribute as a nation to the global campaign for democracy now gathering force. They will have the cooperation of congressional leaders of both parties, along with representatives of business, labor, and other major institutions in our society. I look forward to receiving their recommendations and to working with these institutions and the Congress in the common task of strengthening democracy throughout the world.

It is time that we committed ourselves as a nation — in both the pubic and private sectors — to assisting democratic development. […]

I have discussed on other occasions, including my address on May 9th, the elements of Western policies toward the Soviet Union to safeguard our interests and protect the peace. What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people. And that’s why we must continue our efforts to strengthen NATO even as we move forward with our Zero-Option initiative in the negotiations on intermediate-range forces and our proposal for a one-third reduction in strategic ballistic missile warheads.

Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that’s now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets, but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.

The British people know that, given strong leadership, time and a little bit of hope, the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. Here among you is the cradle of self-government, the Mother of Parliaments. Here is the enduring greatness of the British contribution to mankind, the great civilized ideas: individual liberty, representative government, and the rule of law under God.

I’ve often wondered about the shyness of some of us in the West about standing for these ideals that have done so much to ease the plight of man and the hardships of our imperfect world. This reluctance to use those vast resources at our command reminds me of the elderly lady whose home was bombed in the Blitz. As the rescuers moved about, they found a bottle of brandy she’d stored behind the staircase, which was all that was left standing. And since she was barely conscious, one of the workers pulled the cork to give her a taste of it. She came around immediately and said, “Here now — there now, put it back. That’s for emergencies.”

Well, the emergency is upon us. Let us be shy no longer. Let us go to our strength. Let us offer hope. Let us tell the world that a new age is not only possible but probable.

During the dark days of the Second World War, when this island was incandescent with courage, Winston Churchill exclaimed about Britain’s adversaries, “What kind of a people do they think we are?” Well, Britain’s adversaries found out what extraordinary people the British are. But all the democracies paid a terrible price for allowing the dictators to underestimate us. We dare not make that mistake again. So, let us ask ourselves, “What kind of people do we think we are?” And let us answer, “Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.”

Sir Winston led his people to great victory in war and then lost an election just as the fruits of victory were about to be enjoyed. But he left office honorably, and, as it turned out, temporarily, knowing that the liberty of his people was more important than the fate of any single leader. History recalls his greatness in ways no dictator will ever know. And he left us a message of hope for the future, as timely now as when he first uttered it, as opposition leader in the Commons nearly 27 years ago, when he said, “When we look back on all the perils through which we have passed and at the mighty foes that we have laid low and all the dark and deadly designs that we have frustrated, why should we fear for our future? We have,” he said, “come safely through the worst.”

Well, the task I’ve set forth will long outlive our own generation. But together, we too have come through the worst. Let us now begin a major effort to secure the best — a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation. For the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at last free to determine their own destiny.

Thank you.


VISION OF HOPE:

September 14, 2005

President Addresses United Nations High-Level Plenary Meeting (George W. Bush, United Nations Headquarters, New York, New York, 9/14/05)

Mr. Secretary General, Mr. President, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for the privilege of being here for the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. Thank you for your dedication to the vital work and great ideals of this institution.

We meet at a time of great challenge for America and the world. At this moment, men and women along my country’s Gulf Coast are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters in American history. Many have lost homes, and loved ones, and all their earthly possessions. In Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana, whole neighborhoods have been lifted from their foundations and sent crashing into the streets. A great American city is working to turn the flood waters and reclaim its future.

We have witnessed the awesome power of nature — and the greater power of human compassion. Americans have responded to their neighbors in need, and so have many of the nations represented in this chamber. All together, more than 115 countries and nearly a dozen international organizations have stepped forward with offers of assistance. To every nation, every province, and every community across the world that is standing with the American people in this hour of need, I offer the thanks of my nation.

Your response, like the response to last year’s tsunami, has shown once again that the world is more compassionate and hopeful when we act together. This truth was the inspiration for the United Nations. The U.N.’s founding members laid out great and honorable goals in the charter they drafted six decades ago. That document commits this organization to work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” and “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” We remain committed to those noble ideals. As we respond to great humanitarian needs, we must actively respond to the other great challenges of our time. We must continue to work to ease suffering, and to spread freedom, and to lay the foundations of lasting peace for our children and grandchildren.

In this young century, the far corners of the world are linked more closely than ever before — and no nation can remain isolated and indifferent to the struggles of others. When a country, or a region is filled with despair, and resentment and vulnerable to violent and aggressive ideologies, the threat passes easily across oceans and borders, and could threaten the security of any peaceful country.

Terrorism fed by anger and despair has come to Tunisia, to Indonesia, to Kenya, to Tanzania, to Morocco, to Israel, to Saudi Arabia, to the United States, to Turkey, to Spain, to Russia, to Egypt, to Iraq, and the United Kingdom. And those who have not seen attacks on their own soil have still shared in the sorrow — from Australians killed in Bali, to Italians killed in Egypt, to the citizens of dozens of nations who were killed on September the 11th, 2001, here in the city where we meet. The lesson is clear: There can be no safety in looking away, or seeking the quiet life by ignoring the hardship and oppression of others. Either hope will spread, or violence will spread — and we must take the side of hope.

Sometimes our security will require confronting threats directly, and so a great coalition of nations has come together to fight the terrorists across the world. We’ve worked together to help break up terrorist networks that cross borders, and rout out radical cells within our own borders. We’ve eliminated terrorist sanctuaries. We’re using our diplomatic and financial tools to cut off their financing and drain them of support. And as we fight, the terrorists must know that the world stands united against them. We must complete the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will put every nation on record: The targeting and deliberate killing by terrorists of civilians and non-combatants cannot be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance.

And the world’s free nations are determined to stop the terrorists and their allies from acquiring the terrible weapons that would allow them to kill on a scale equal to their hatred. For that reason, more than 60 countries are supporting the Proliferation Security Initiative to intercept shipments of weapons of mass destruction on land, on sea, and in air. The terrorists must know that wherever they go, they cannot escape justice.

Later today, the Security Council has an opportunity to put the terrorists on notice when it votes on a resolution that condemns the incitement of terrorist acts — the resolution that calls upon all states to take appropriate steps to end such incitement. We also need to sign and implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, so that all those who seek radioactive materials or nuclear devices are prosecuted and extradited, wherever they are. We must send a clear message to the rulers of outlaw regimes that sponsor terror and pursue weapons of mass murder: You will not be allowed to threaten the peace and stability of the world.

Confronting our enemies is essential, and so civilized nations will continue to take the fight to the terrorists. Yet we know that this war will not be won by force of arms alone. We must defeat the terrorists on the battlefield, and we must also defeat them in the battle of ideas. We must change the conditions that allow terrorists to flourish and recruit, by spreading the hope of freedom to millions who’ve never known it. We must help raise up the failing states and stagnant societies that provide fertile ground for the terrorists. We must defend and extend a vision of human dignity, and opportunity, and prosperity — a vision far stronger than the dark appeal of resentment and murder.

To spread a vision of hope, the United States is determined to help nations that are struggling with poverty. We are committed to the Millennium Development goals. This is an ambitious agenda that includes cutting poverty and hunger in half, ensuring that every boy and girl in the world has access to primary education, and halting the spread of AIDS — all by 2015.

We have a moral obligation to help others — and a moral duty to make sure our actions are effective. At Monterrey in 2002, we agreed to a new vision for the way we fight poverty, and curb corruption, and provide aid in this new millennium. Developing countries agreed to take responsibility for their own economic progress through good governance and sound policies and the rule of law. Developed countries agreed to support those efforts, including increased aid to nations that undertake necessary reforms. My own country has sought to implement the Monterrey Consensus by establishing the new Millennium Challenge Account. This account is increasing U.S. aid for countries that govern justly, invest in their people, and promote economic freedom.

More needs to be done. I call on all the world’s nations to implement the Monterrey Consensus. Implementing the Monterrey Consensus means continuing on the long, hard road to reform. Implementing the Monterrey Consensus means creating a genuine partnership between developed and developing countries to replace the donor-client relationship of the past. And implementing the Monterrey Consensus means welcoming all developing countries as full participants to the global economy, with all the requisite benefits and responsibilities.

Tying aid to reform is essential to eliminating poverty, but our work doesn’t end there. For many countries, AIDS, malaria, and other diseases are both humanitarian tragedies and significant obstacles to development. We must give poor countries access to the emergency lifesaving drugs they need to fight these infectious epidemics. Through our bilateral programs and the Global Fund, the United States will continue to lead the world in providing the resources to defeat the plague of HIV-AIDS.

Today America is working with local authorities and organizations in the largest initiative in history to combat a specific disease. Across Africa, we’re helping local health officials expand AIDS testing facilities, train and support doctors and nurses and counselors, and upgrade clinics and hospitals. Working with our African partners, we have now delivered lifesaving treatment to more than 230,000 people in sub-Sahara Africa. We are ahead of schedule to meet an important objective: providing HIV-AIDS treatment for nearly two million adults and children in Africa. At the G-8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland, we set a clear goal: an AIDS-free generation in Africa. And I challenge every member of the United Nations to take concrete steps to achieve that goal.

We’re also working to fight malaria. This preventable disease kills more than a million people around the world every year — and leaves poverty and grief in every land it touches. The United States has set a goal of cutting the malaria death rate in half in at least 15 highly endemic African countries. To achieve that goal, we’ve pledged to increase our funding for malaria treatment and prevention by more than $1.2 billion over the next five years. We invite other nations to join us in this effort by committing specific aid to the dozens of other African nations in need of it. Together we can fight malaria and save hundreds of thousands of lives, and bring new hope to countries that have been devastated by this terrible disease.

As we strengthen our commitments to fighting malaria and AIDS, we must also remain on the offensive against new threats to public health such as the Avian Influenza. If left unchallenged, this virus could become the first pandemic of the 21st century. We must not allow that to happen. Today I am announcing a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The Partnership requires countries that face an outbreak to immediately share information and provide samples to the World Health Organization. By requiring transparency, we can respond more rapidly to dangerous outbreaks and stop them on time. Many nations have already joined this partnership; we invite all nations to participate. It’s essential we work together, and as we do so, we will fulfill a moral duty to protect our citizens, and heal the sick, and comfort the afflicted.

Even with increased aid to fight disease and reform economies, many nations are held back by another heavy challenge: the burden of debt. So America and many nations have also acted to lift this burden that limits the growth of developing economies, and holds millions of people in poverty. Today poor countries with the heaviest debt burdens are receiving more than $30 billion in debt relief. And to prevent the build-up of future debt, my country and other nations have agreed that international financial institutions should increasingly provide new aid in the form of grants, rather than loans. The G-8 agreed at Gleneagles to go further. To break the lend-and-forgive cycle permanently, we agreed to cancel 100 percent of the debt for the world’s most heavily indebted nations. I call upon the World Bank and the IMF to finalize this historic agreement as soon as possible.

We will fight to lift the burden of poverty from places of suffering — not just for the moment, but permanently. And the surest path to greater wealth is greater trade. In a letter he wrote to me in August, the Secretary General commended the G-8’s work, but told me that aid and debt relief are not enough. The Secretary General said that we also need to reduce trade barriers and subsidies that are holding developing countries back. I agree with the Secretary General: The Doha Round is “the most promising way” to achieve this goal.

A successful Doha Round will reduce and eliminate tariffs and other barriers on farm and industrial goods. It will end unfair agricultural subsidies. It will open up global markets for services. Under Doha, every nation will gain, and the developing world stands to gain the most. Historically, developing nations that open themselves up to trade grow at several times the rate of other countries. The elimination of trade barriers could lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty over the next 15 years. The stakes are high. The lives and futures of millions of the world’s poorest citizens hang in the balance — and so we must bring the Doha trade talks to a successful conclusion.

Doha is an important step toward a larger goal: We must tear down the walls that separate the developed and developing worlds. We need to give the citizens of the poorest nations the same ability to access the world economy that the people of wealthy nations have, so they can offer their goods and talents on the world market alongside everyone else. We need to ensure that they have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams, provide for their families, and live lives of dignity and self-reliance.

And the greatest obstacles to achieving these goals are the tariffs and subsidies and barriers that isolate people of developing nations from the great opportunities of the 21st century. Today, I reiterate the challenge I have made before: We must work together in the Doha negotiations to eliminate agricultural subsidies that distort trade and stunt development, and to eliminate tariffs and other barriers to open markets for farmers around the world. Today I broaden the challenge by making this pledge: The United States is ready to eliminate all tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to free flow of goods and services as other nations do the same. This is key to overcoming poverty in the world’s poorest nations. It’s essential we promote prosperity and opportunity for all nations.

By expanding trade, we spread hope and opportunity to the corners of the world, and we strike a blow against the terrorists who feed on anger and resentment. Our agenda for freer trade is part of our agenda for a freer world, where people can live and worship and raise their children as they choose. In the long run, the best way to protect the religious freedom, and the rights of women and minorities, is through institutions of self-rule, which allow people to assert and defend their own rights. All who stand for human rights must also stand for human freedom.

This is a moment of great opportunity in the cause of freedom. Across the world, hearts and minds are opening to the message of human liberty as never before. In the last two years alone, tens of millions have voted in free elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, in Kyrgyzstan, in Ukraine, and Georgia. And as they claim their freedom, they are inspiring millions more across the broader Middle East. We must encourage their aspirations. We must nurture freedom’s progress. And the United Nations has a vital role to play.

Through the new U.N. Democracy Fund, the democratic members of the U.N. will work to help others who want to join the democratic world. It is fitting that the world’s largest democracy, India, has taken a leadership role in this effort, pledging $10 million to get the fund started. Every free nation has an interest in the success of this fund — and every free nation has a responsibility in advancing the cause of liberty.

The work of democracy is larger than holding a fair election; it requires building the institutions that sustain freedom. Democracy takes different forms in different cultures, yet all free societies have certain things in common. Democratic nations uphold the rule of law, impose limits on the power of the state, treat women and minorities as full citizens. Democratic nations protect private property, free speech and religious expression. Democratic nations grow in strength because they reward and respect the creative gifts of their people. And democratic nations contribute to peace and stability because they seek national greatness in the achievements of their citizens, not the conquest of their neighbors.

For these reasons, the whole world has a vital interest in the success of a free Iraq — and no civilized nation has an interest in seeing a new terror state emerge in that country. So the free world is working together to help the Iraqi people to establish a new nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. It’s an exciting opportunity for all of us in this chamber. And the United Nations has played a vital role in the success of the January elections, where eight and a half million Iraqis defied the terrorists and cast their ballots. And since then, the United Nations has supported Iraq’s elected leaders as they drafted a new constitution.

The United Nations and its member states must continue to stand by the Iraqi people as they complete the journey to a fully constitutional government. And when Iraqis complete their journey, their success will inspire others to claim their freedom, the Middle East will grow in peace and hope and liberty, and all of us will live in a safer world.

The advance of freedom and security is the calling of our time. It is the mission of the United Nations. The United Nations was created to spread the hope of liberty, and to fight poverty and disease, and to help secure human rights and human dignity for all the world’s people. To help make these promises real, the United Nations must be strong and efficient, free of corruption, and accountable to the people it serves. The United Nations must stand for integrity, and live by the high standards it sets for others. And meaningful institutional reforms must include measures to improve internal oversight, identify cost savings, and ensure that precious resources are used for their intended purpose.

The United Nations has taken the first steps toward reform. The process will continue in the General Assembly this fall, and the United States will join with others to lead the effort. And the process of reform begins with members taking our responsibilities seriously. When this great institution’s member states choose notorious abusers of human rights to sit on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, they discredit a noble effort, and undermine the credibility of the whole organization. If member countries want the United Nations to be respected — respected and effective, they should begin by making sure it is worthy of respect.

At the start of a new century, the world needs the United Nations to live up to its ideals and fulfill its mission. The founding members of this organization knew that the security of the world would increasingly depend on advancing the rights of mankind, and this would require the work of many hands. After committing America to the idea of the U.N. in 1945, President Franklin Roosevelt declared: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation.” Peace is the responsibility of every nation and every generation.

In each era of history, the human spirit has been challenged by the forces of darkness and chaos. Some challenges are the acts of nature; others are the works of men. This organization was convened to meet these challenges by harnessing the best instincts of humankind, the strength of the world united in common purpose. With courage and conscience, we will meet our responsibilities to protect the lives and rights of others. And when we do, we will help fulfill the promise of the United Nations, and ensure that every human being enjoys the peace and the freedom and the dignity our Creator intended for all.

Thank you.


SEE, W REALLY CAN CHANGE REALITY:

August 18, 2005

Get Real (GIDEON ROSE, 8/18/05, NY Times)

For more than half a century, overenthusiastic idealists of one variety or another have gotten themselves and the country into trouble abroad and had to be bailed out by prudent successors brought in to clean up the mess. When the crisis passes, however, the realists’ message about the need to act carefully in a fallen world ends up clashing with Americans’ loftier impulses. The result is a tedious cycle that plays itself out again and again. […]

Seen in proper perspective, in other words, the Bush administration’s signature efforts represent not some durable, world-historical shift in America’s approach to foreign policy but merely one more failed idealistic attempt to escape the difficult trade-offs and unpleasant compromises that international politics inevitably demand – even from the strongest power since Rome. Just as they have so many times before, the realists have come in after an election to offer some adult supervision and tidy up the joint. This time it’s simply happened under the nose of a victorious incumbent rather than his opponent (which may account for the failure to change the rhetoric along with the policy).

BEING fully American rather than devotees of classic European realpolitik, the realists-today represented most prominently by Ms. Rice and her team at the State Department-offer not different goals but a calmer and more measured path toward the same ones. They still believe in American power and the global spread of liberal democratic capitalism. But they seek legitimate authority rather than mere material dominance, favor cost-benefit analyses rather than ideological litmus tests, and prize good results over good intentions.

it’s funny enough that Mr. Rose declares the triumph of Realism at a time when, just to pick some examples off the top of my head, the following are occurring:

* Ariel Sharon is creating a Palestinian state

* The Iraqis are finishing a constitution

* The Indonesians cut an autonomy deal with Aceh

* The Egyptians have started their first presidential election campaign

* The new king of Saudi Arabia has released political prisoners

* An American businessman has returned to Haiti to run for president

* We’re stepping up the pressure on Belarus to liberalize

* Japan is preparing to change its constitution so it can arm against China

* The Sudanese smoothly replaced John Garang after his tragic death

* The North Koreans are offering to give up their nuclear program if we just stop being mean to them

* Afghanistan has just begin a parliamentary election campaign

* Taiwan is deploying cruise missiles pointed at China

* Feel free to add your own

But even funnier is that he’s reduced to declaring Condi Rice a Realist in order to make his case.

The basic idea of Realism is quite simple: Stability Uber Alles. The Realists prefer a regime that can keep its own people quiet and get along with its neighbors, no matter how repressive that regime may be. However, as the list above demonstrates, there is almost nowhere in the world that we are willing to accept such tyranny in exchange for stability. Meanwhile, even as regards the few where we’re willing to accept it for more than a brief period of convenience — perhaps only Pakistan and China at this time — we’re forging entirely new strategic alliances so as to be in a position to tackle them militarily when the time comes. Ms Rice is in the thick of all this–travelling to Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, India, etc.

To call this a return to Realism is to admit defeat at the hands of American idealism.


EVANGING ANGELS:

August 17, 2005

Onward Christian Soldiers?: Religion and the Bush Doctrine. (James L. Guth, Lyman A. Kellstedt, John C. Green, and Corwin E. Smidt, July August 2005, Christianity Today)

[W]e use the fourth quadrennial National Survey of Religion and Politics, conducted at the University of Akron in the spring and fall of 2004 and sponsored by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. This survey of a national random sample of 4,000 respondents asked a range of religious questions seldom available in other surveys and, fortunately, also had a large battery of foreign policy questions. It is just this sort of evidence that has been lacking in the debate over the role of religion in foreign policy.

To go to the core of recent arguments, we examine the backing that America’s diverse religious communities provide for the Bush Doctrine, the president’s stress on military strength, preference for unilateral rather than multilateral action, willingness to engage in pre-emptive war (as in Iraq), and a tilt toward Israel in the Middle East. To measure this support, we use five items: an approval rating for Bush administration foreign policy, an assessment on whether the Iraq war was justified, whether pre-emptive war is ever justified, whether the United States should stress unilateral or multilateral action in international affairs, and, finally, whether America should favor the Israelis over the Palestinians. Although these questions tap different aspects of foreign policy, people respond to the package in consistent ways. In the jargon of social science, the questions scale nicely, forming a single dimension.

To simplify presentation in the accompanying table, we report the percentage of each religious group that falls in the top half of public support for the Bush Doctrine. Thus, a score above 50 percent is more favorable than average, a score below 50 percent is more opposed. […]

We find vast religiously correlated differences among citizens in support for the Bush Doctrine. As the first column shows, Latter-day Saints are most positive, with 82 percent falling in the top half of the scale. Aside from the Mormons, evangelicals as a group do, in fact, provide disproportionate backing for the president’s policies, as critics contend. Interestingly, Hispanic Protestants, largely evangelical in theology, also exceed the sample average. Mainline Protestants follow, barely scoring on the positive side, and white Catholics are split right down the middle. Virtually all other religious groups (including Jews) are much less favorable toward administration policy, with black Protestants, the agnostic/atheist coterie, and other non-Christians (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.) concentrated toward the bottom of the scale.

In addition to these differences among traditions, we find striking divisions within the larger Christian traditions. In each, traditionalists are most in favor of the Bush Doctrine, centrists less so, and religious modernists dissent in large numbers. (The same divisions can be seen even within smaller traditions, such as Hispanic Protestants and Catholics, Jews, and black Protestants, but the sample numbers are too small to report with confidence.) Altogether then, both membership in a religious tradition and theological traditionalism within the Christian traditions have important consequences for foreign policy attitudes.

Of course, politicians don’t exhibit equal solicitude for the views of every citizen: they are much more attuned to voters and, especially, to political activists. The scores for voters (column 2) and activists (column 3) reveal some interesting findings. Voters overall are actually a bit more supportive of the Bush Doctrine than the citizenry at large (52 percent), but activists are less favorable (only 44 percent).

The same basic religious patterns hold among voters and activists that we saw among citizens generally, but with some important modifications. First, for both evangelical and Catholic traditionalists endorsement of the Bush Doctrine rises as political engagement increases. (Among mainline traditionalists it goes up among voters, but retreats among activists.) In contrast, for mainline and Catholic modernists the president’s backers decline in strength as engagement increases, a pattern that also appears among the smaller faiths, and especially in the secular and agnostic/atheist groups. Thus, religious divisions over foreign policy exhibited by citizens generally are even wider among voters and, especially, activists.

The cause of these patterns is a complicated issue that we cannot fully address here. We can, however, identify three important factors, all of which have some influence. First, there may be a doctrinal basis for these differences. Thus, evangelicals’ distinctive posture may reflect the influence of dispensational theology, biblical literalism, Christian exclusivism, or perhaps moral dogmatism—”black or white” thinking. Conversely, the absence of such beliefs—or the presence of liberal religious or secular perspectives—may explain opposition to the president’s policies.

Second, religious leaders may have directed their flocks toward or away from the Bush Doctrine. Here, too, evangelicals provide a good example, given the strong support many clergy voiced for the Iraq war, and their suspicions about international institutions such as the United Nations. On the other side, the criticism that many mainline and Catholic clergy, including the Pope, directed toward facets of the Bush Doctrine may have attenuated support in those communities, at least among those hearing the cues.

Finally, foreign policy attitudes may simply be an artifact of partisanship and ideology. For example, evangelicals are a core GOP constituency and naturally endorse policies adopted by their conservative president and party leadership. Other religious groups may react in much the same fashion, depending on their own location in the current party lineup. In this context, it is worth noting that support for the Bush Doctrine matches very closely the share of the vote each religious group gave the president in 2004.

We did a modest test of these possibilities by incorporating measures of religious doctrine, attention to religious cues, and partisanship into a statistical analysis. All else being equal, religious doctrine makes a substantial contribution to support for the Bush Doctrine: Biblical literalists, dispensationalists, believers in the existence of Satan, and those who see salvation exclusively in Jesus score higher on the scale. And moral dogmatism plays a role: citizens who argue that there is a single standard of right and wrong for all times and places are much more likely to support the president.

Religious cues also make an independent contribution, largely reflecting the policy stance of the “governing” authorities in each tradition. Among evangelicals, those whose ministers preach on the Iraq war and terrorism are more supportive of the Bush Doctrine, as is the case among Hispanic Protestants. Among virtually all other religious groups—including mainline Protestants and white Catholics—those hearing pastoral discourses on these topics are less supportive of the president, sometimes substantially so. This effect is often even greater among political activists than among voters.

Finally, partisanship and ideology also shape assessments of the Bush Doctrine, even aside from the impact of religious doctrine and leadership cues: Republicans and conservatives score high on the scale, Democrats and liberals, much lower. In this regard, remember that President Bush actively courted evangelicals and other traditionalists before and during the 2004 campaign, and foreign policy was part of the pitch. Senator Kerry and the Democrats countered with appeals to other religious groups, apparently with some success.

In sum, American religious groups—and not just evangelicals—do indeed hold distinctive views on the Bush Doctrine. Evangelicals and traditionalists of all sorts are the strongest adherents, while the non-religious, religious modernists, and minority faiths are the most negative. These divisions become sharper as political engagement increases, and theology, religious leaders, and political identifications all play a role in deepening the chasm.

What may be most interesting is that the results within groups are as graphic as between groups, showing just how much liberal Protestants and Catholics resemble seculars rather than their putative co-religionists.


RIGHT MEN, RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME:

May 19, 2005

SOUL OF A CONSERVATIVE (Carl M. Cannon, May 13, 2005, National Journal)

A widespread perception exists, even among those who follow political communication closely, that in the aftermath of 9/11, George W. Bush discovered his voice, if not his calling. But if [Michael] Gerson is the voice, and the spread of freedom around the world is the calling, then Bush had found them both before the nation was attacked. He articulated this vision in a foreign-policy speech in November of 1999, before he was president.

In that address, penned by Gerson and delivered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Bush outlined the doctrine that generated so much commotion when he expressed it during his second inaugural; namely, that putting stability ahead of democracy was a “false” choice that would bring Americans neither safety nor peace of mind.

The now-famous declaration, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world; it is the Almighty God’s gift to every man and woman in the world,” is not, as some Bush critics complain, a dubious and messianic theological statement as much as it is a way of updating the doctrine of natural law that Jefferson codified in the Declaration of Independence. And Gerson had been affirming this vision through the speeches of Republican politicians long before he met Bush.

Around the White House, Gerson is known as the man who makes sure the “compassionate” stays in “compassionate conservatism.” It was this subject that Bush and Gerson discussed at length the day Gerson was hired, and, in Gerson’s telling, the concept extends beyond “faith-based” government programs and, indeed, beyond America’s own shores.

“Mike is really the conscience of this place,” says Peter Wehner, director of the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives. He characterizes Gerson as one of the “intellectual architects” of compassionate conservatism, and says that except for Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, no aide is as indispensable to Bush as is Gerson. Wehner describes Gerson as a kind of moral compass for the Bush presidency.

Rove concurs. “Not to say that he is the only one here with a conscience, but you can count on Mike to ask how a given policy will affect the least among us,” Rove said in an interview. “The shorthand, political way to say it is that Mike is the one always wondering how we can achieve liberal goals with conservative means.”

It is understood by those who know Gerson that his actions, attitudes, and articulations are informed by a deep Christian faith that is at the core of everything he writes. Gerson himself, sitting for an hour-long interview in his new first-floor office in the West Wing, describes his faith as a “socially conscious evangelism” that requires much of those who adhere to it.

“Our deepest moral and religious beliefs have public consequences,” Gerson said. “But the primary social consequence is to seek the common good and some vision of social justice.”

The savagery and waste of 9-11 couldn’t help but take one off guard, but the seeming percipience that the President and his team displayed in the aftermath was in reality a providential function of the worldview by which they were informed.

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A Distinctly American Internationalism (George W. Bush, November 19, 1999, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California)

It is an honor to be with you at the Reagan Library. Thank you Secretary Shultz for your decades of service to America – and for your kindness and counsel over the last several months. And thank you Mrs. Reagan for this invitation – and for your example of loyalty and love and courage.

My wife Laura says that behind every great man there is a surprised woman. But, Mrs. Reagan, you were never surprised by the greatness of your husband. You believed it from the start. And now the rest of the world sees him as you always have – as a hero in the American story. A story in which a single individual can shape history. A story in which evil is real, but courage and decency triumph.

We live in the nation President Reagan restored, and the world he helped to save. A world of nations reunited and tyrants humbled. A world of prisoners released and exiles come home. And today there is a prayer shared by free people everywhere: God bless you, Ronald Reagan.

Two months ago, at the Citadel in South Carolina, I talked about American defense. This must be the first focus of a president, because it is his first duty to the Constitution. Even in this time of pride and promise, America has determined enemies, who hate our values and resent our success – terrorists and crime syndicates and drug cartels and unbalanced dictators. The Empire has passed, but evil remains.

We must protect our homeland and our allies against missiles and terror and blackmail.

We must restore the morale of our military – squandered by shrinking resources and multiplying missions – with better training, better treatment and better pay.

And we must master the new technology of war – to extend our peaceful influence, not just across the world, but across the years.

In the defense of our nation, a president must be a clear-eyed realist. There are limits to the smiles and scowls of diplomacy. Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation. They are held in check by strength and purpose and the promise of swift punishment.

But there is more to say, because military power is not the final measure of might. Our realism must make a place for the human spirit.

This spirit, in our time, has caused dictators to fear and empires to fall. And it has left an honor roll of courage and idealism: Scharansky, Havel, Walesa, Mandela. The most powerful force in the world is not a weapon or a nation but a truth: that we are spiritual beings, and that freedom is “the soul’s right to breathe.”

In the dark days of 1941 – the low point of our modern epic – there were about a dozen democracies left on the planet. Entering a new century, there are nearly 120. There is a direction in events, a current in our times. “Depend on it,” said Edmund Burke. “The lovers of freedom will be free.”

America cherishes that freedom, but we do not own it. We value the elegant structures of our own democracy – but realize that, in other societies, the architecture will vary. We propose our principles, we must not impose our culture.

Yet the basic principles of human freedom and dignity are universal. People should be able to say what they think. Worship as they wish. Elect those who govern them. These ideals have proven their power on every continent. In former colonies — and the nations that ruled them. Among the allies of World War II – and the countries they vanquished. And these ideals are equally valid north of the 38th parallel. They are just as true in the Pearl River Delta. They remain true 90 miles from our shores, on an island prison, ruled by a revolutionary relic.

Some have tried to pose a choice between American ideals and American interests—between who we are and how we act. But the choice is false. America, by decision and destiny, promotes political freedom – and gains the most when democracy advances. America believes in free markets and free trade – and benefits most when markets are opened. America is a peaceful power – and gains the greatest dividend from democratic stability. Precisely because we have no territorial objectives, our gains are not measured in the losses of others. They are counted in the conflicts we avert, the prosperity we share and the peace we extend.

Sometimes this balance takes time to achieve – and requires us to deal with nations that do not share our values. Sometimes the defenders of freedom must show patience as well as resolution. But that patience comes of confidence, not compromise. We believe, with Alexander Hamilton, that the “spirit of commerce” has a tendency to “soften the manners of men.” We believe, with George Washington, that “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” And we firmly believe our nation is on the right side of history – the side of man’s dignity and God’s justice.

Few nations have been given the advantages and opportunities of our own. Few have been more powerful as a country, or more successful as a cause. But there are risks, even for the powerful. “I have many reasons to be optimistic,” said Pericles in the golden age of Athens. “Indeed, I am more afraid of our own blunders than of the enemy’s devices.”

America’s first temptation is withdrawal – to build a proud tower of protectionism and isolation.

In a world that depends on America to reconcile old rivals and balance ancient ambitions, this is the shortcut to chaos. It is an approach that abandons our allies, and our ideals. The vacuum left by America’s retreat would invite challenges to our power. And the result, in the long run, would be a stagnant America and a savage world.

American foreign policy cannot be founded on fear. Fear that American workers can’t compete. Fear that America will corrupt the world – or be corrupted by it. This fear has no place in the party of Reagan, or in the party of Truman. In times of peril, our nation did not shrink from leadership. At this moment of opportunity, I have no intention of betraying American interests, American obligations and American honor.

America’s second temptation is drift – for our nation to move from crisis to crisis like a cork in a current.

Unless a president sets his own priorities, his priorities will be set by others – by adversaries, or the crisis of the moment, live on CNN. American policy can become random and reactive – untethered to the interests of our country.

America must be involved in the world. But that does not mean our military is the answer to every difficult foreign policy situation – a substitute for strategy. American internationalism should not mean action without vision, activity without priority, and missions without end – an approach that squanders American will and drains American energy.

American foreign policy must be more than the management of crisis. It must have a great and guiding goal: to turn this time of American influence into generations of democratic peace.

This is accomplished by concentrating on enduring national interests. And these are my priorities. An American president should work with our strong democratic allies in Europe and Asia to extend the peace. He should promote a fully democratic Western Hemisphere, bound together by free trade. He should defend America’s interests in the Persian Gulf and advance peace in the Middle East, based upon a secure Israel. He must check the contagious spread of weapons of mass destruction, and the means to deliver them. He must lead toward a world that trades in freedom. And he must pursue all these goals with focus, patience and strength.

I will address these responsibilities as this campaign continues. To each, I bring the same approach: A distinctly American internationalism. Idealism, without illusions. Confidence, without conceit. Realism, in the service of American ideals.

Today I want to talk about Europe and Asia… the world’s strategic heartland… our greatest priority. Home of long-time allies, and looming rivals. Behind the United States, Eurasia has the next six largest economies. The next six largest military budgets.

The Eurasian landmass, in our century, has seen the indignities of colonialism and the excesses of nationalism. Its people have been sacrificed to brutal wars and totalitarian ambitions. America has discovered, again and again, that our history is inseparable from their tragedy. And we are rediscovering that our interests are served by their success.

In this immense region, we are guided, not by an ambition, but by a vision. A vision in which no great power, or coalition of great powers, dominates or endangers our friends. In which America encourages stability from a position of strength. A vision in which people and capital and information can move freely, creating bonds of progress, ties of culture and momentum toward democracy.

This is different from the trumpet call of the Cold War. We are no longer fighting a great enemy, we are asserting a great principle: that the talents and dreams of average people – their warm human hopes and loves – should be rewarded by freedom and protected by peace. We are defending the nobility of normal lives, lived in obedience to God and conscience, not to government.

The challenge comes because two of Eurasia’s greatest powers – China and Russia – are powers in transition. And it is difficult to know their intentions when they do not know their own futures. If they become America’s friends, that friendship will steady the world. But if not, the peace we seek may not be found.

China, in particular, has taken different shapes in different eyes at different times. An empire to be divided. A door to be opened. A model of collective conformity. A diplomatic card to be played. One year, it is said to be run by “the butchers of Beijing.” A few years later, the same administration pronounces it a “strategic partner.”

We must see China clearly — not through the filters of posturing and partisanship. China is rising, and that is inevitable. Here, our interests are plain: We welcome a free and prosperous China. We predict no conflict. We intend no threat. And there are areas where we must try to cooperate: preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction… attaining peace on the Korean peninsula.

Yet the conduct of China’s government can be alarming abroad, and appalling at home. Beijing has been investing its growing wealth in strategic nuclear weapons… new ballistic missiles… a blue-water navy and a long-range airforce. It is an espionage threat to our country. Meanwhile, the State Department has reported that “all public dissent against the party and government [has been] effectively silenced” – a tragic achievement in a nation of 1.2 billion people. China’s government is an enemy of religious freedom and a sponsor of forced abortion – policies without reason and without mercy.

All of these facts must be squarely faced. China is a competitor, not a strategic partner. We must deal with China without ill-will – but without illusions.

By the same token, that regime must have no illusions about American power and purpose. As Dean Rusk observed during the Cold War, “It is not healthy for a regime … to incur, by their lawlessness and aggressive conduct, the implacable opposition of the American people.”

We must show American power and purpose in strong support for our Asian friends and allies – for democratic South Korea across the Yellow Sea… for democratic Japan and the Philippines across the China seas … for democratic Australia and Thailand. This means keeping our pledge to deter aggression against the Republic of Korea, and strengthening security ties with Japan. This means expanding theater missile defenses among our allies.

And this means honoring our promises to the people of Taiwan. We do not deny there is one China. But we deny the right of Beijing to impose their rule on a free people. As I’ve said before, we will help Taiwan to defend itself.

The greatest threats to peace come when democratic forces are weak and disunited. Right now, America has many important bilateral alliances in Asia. We should work toward a day when the fellowship of free Pacific nations is as strong and united as our Atlantic Partnership. If I am president, China will find itself respected as a great power, but in a region of strong democratic alliances. It will be unthreatened, but not unchecked.

China will find in America a confident and willing trade partner. And with trade comes our standing invitation into the world of economic freedom. China’s entry into the World Trade Organization is welcome, and this should open the door for Taiwan as well. But given China’s poor record in honoring agreements, it will take a strong administration to hold them to their word.

If I am president, China will know that America’s values are always part of America’s agenda. Our advocacy of human freedom is not a formality of diplomacy, it is a fundamental commitment of our country. It is the source of our confidence that communism, in every form, has seen its day.

And I view free trade as an important ally in what Ronald Reagan called “a forward strategy for freedom.” The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral. Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy. There are no guarantees, but there are good examples, from Chile to Taiwan. Trade freely with China, and time is on our side.

Russia stands as another reminder that a world increasingly at peace is also a world in transition. Here, too, patience is needed – patience, consistency, and a principled reliance on democratic forces.

In the breadth of its land, the talent and courage of its people, the wealth of its resources, and the reach of its weapons, Russia is a great power, and must always be treated as such. Few people have suffered more in this century. And though we trust the worst is behind them, their troubles are not over. This past decade, for Russia, has been an epic of deliverance and disappointment.

Our first order of business is the national security of our nation – and here both Russia and the United States face a changed world. Instead of confronting each other, we confront the legacy of a dead ideological rivalry — thousands of nuclear weapons, which, in the case of Russia, may not be secure. And together we also face an emerging threat – from rogue nations, nuclear theft and accidental launch. All this requires nothing short of a new strategic relationship to protect the peace of the world.

We can hope that the new Russian Duma will ratify START II, as we have done. But this is not our most pressing challenge. The greater problem was first addressed in 1991 by Senator Lugar and Senator Sam Nunn. In an act of foresight and statesmanship, they realized that existing Russian nuclear facilities were in danger of being compromised. Under the Nunn-Lugar program, security at many Russian nuclear facilities has been improved and warheads have been destroyed.

Even so, the Energy Department warns us that our estimates of Russian nuclear stockpiles could be off by as much as 30 percent. In other words, a great deal of Russian nuclear material cannot be accounted for. The next president must press for an accurate inventory of all this material. And we must do more. I’ll ask the Congress to increase substantially our assistance to dismantle as many of Russia’s weapons as possible, as quickly as possible.

We will still, however, need missile defense systems – both theater and national. If I am commander-in-chief, we will develop and deploy them.

Under the mutual threat of rogue nations, there is a real possibility the Russians could join with us and our friends and allies to cooperate on missile defense systems. But there is a condition. Russia must break its dangerous habit of proliferation.

In the hard work of halting proliferation, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is not the answer. I’ve said that our nation should continue its moratorium on testing. Yet far more important is to constrict the supply of nuclear materials and the means to deliver them – by making this a priority with Russia and China. Our nation must cut off the demand for nuclear weapons – by addressing the security concerns of those who renounce these weapons. And our nation must diminish the evil attraction of these weapons for rogue states – by rendering them useless with missile defense. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty does nothing to gain these goals. It does not stop proliferation, especially to renegade regimes. It is not verifiable. It is not enforceable. And it would stop us from ensuring the safety and reliability of our nation’s deterrent, should the need arise. On these crucial matters, it offers only words and false hopes and high intentions – with no guarantees whatever. We can fight the spread of nuclear weapons, but we cannot wish them away with unwise treaties.

Dealing with Russia on essential issues will be far easier if we are dealing with a democratic and free Russia. Our goal is to promote, not only the appearance of democracy in Russia, but the structures, spirit, and reality of democracy. This is clearly not done by focusing our aid and attention on a corrupt and favored elite. Real change in Russia – as in China – will come not from above, but from below. From a rising class of entrepreneurs and business people. From new leaders in Russia’s regions who will build a new Russian state, where power is shared, not controlled. Our assistance, investments and loans should go directly to the Russian people, not to enrich the bank accounts of corrupt officials.

America should reach out to a new generation of Russians through educational exchanges and programs to support the rule of law and a civil society. And the Russian people, next month, must be given a free and fair choice in their election. We cannot buy reform for Russia, but we can be Russia’s ally in self-reform.

Even as we support Russian reform, we cannot excuse Russian brutality. When the Russian government attacks civilians – killing women and children, leaving orphans and refugees – it can no longer expect aid from international lending institutions. The Russian government will discover that it cannot build a stable and unified nation on the ruins of human rights. That it cannot learn the lessons of democracy from the textbook of tyranny. We want to cooperate with Russia on its concern with terrorism, but that is impossible unless Moscow operates with civilized self-restraint.

Just as we do not want Russia to descend into cruelty, we do not want it to return to imperialism. Russia does have interests with its newly independent neighbors. But those interests must be expressed in commerce and diplomacy – not coercion and domination. A return to Russian imperialism would endanger both Russian democracy and the states on Russia’s borders. The United States should actively support the nations of the Baltics, the Caucasus and Central Asia, along with Ukraine, by promoting regional peace and economic development, and opening links to the wider world.

Often overlooked in our strategic calculations is that great land that rests at the south of Eurasia. This coming century will see democratic India’s arrival as a force in the world. A vast population, before long the world’s most populous nation. A changing economy, in which 3 of its 5 wealthiest citizens are software entrepreneurs.

India is now debating its future and its strategic path, and the United States must pay it more attention. We should establish more trade and investment with India as it opens to the world. And we should work with the Indian government, ensuring it is a force for stability and security in Asia. This should not undermine our longstanding relationship with Pakistan, which remains crucial to the peace of the region.

All our goals in Eurasia will depend on America strengthening the alliances that sustain our influence—in Europe and East Asia and the Middle East.

Alliances are not just for crises — summoned into action when the fire bell sounds. They are sustained by contact and trust. The Gulf War coalition, for example, was raised on the foundation of a president’s vision and effort and integrity. Never again should an American president spend nine days in China, and not even bother to stop in Tokyo or Seoul or Manila. Never again should an American president fall silent when China criticizes our security ties with Japan.

For NATO to be strong, cohesive and active, the President must give it consistent direction: on the alliance’s purpose; on Europe’s need to invest more in defense capabilities; and, when necessary, in military conflict.

To be relied upon when they are needed, our allies must be respected when they are not.

We have partners, not satellites. Our goal is a fellowship of strong, not weak, nations. And this requires both more American consultation and more American leadership. The United States needs its European allies, as well as friends in other regions, to help us with security challenges as they arise. For our allies, sharing the enormous opportunities of Eurasia also means sharing the burdens and risks of sustaining the peace. The support of friends allows America to reserve its power and will for the vital interests we share.

Likewise, international organizations can serve the cause of peace. I will never place U.S. troops under U.N. command – but the U.N. can help in weapons inspections, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. If I am president, America will pay its dues – but only if the U.N.’s bureaucracy is reformed, and our disproportionate share of its costs is reduced.

There must also be reform of international financial institutions – the World Bank and the IMF. They can be a source of stability in economic crisis. But they should not impose austerity, bailing out bankers while impoverishing a middle class. They should not prop up failed and corrupt financial systems. These organizations should encourage the basics of economic growth and free markets. Spreading the rule of law and wise budget practices. Promoting sound banking laws and accounting rules. Most of all, these institutions themselves must be more transparent and accountable.

All the aims I’ve described today are important. But they are not imperial. America has never been an empire. We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused – preferring greatness to power and justice to glory.

We are a nation that helped defeat Germany in 1945 – which had launched a war costing 55 million lives. Less than five years later we launched an airlift to save the people of Berlin from starvation and tyranny. And a generation of Germans remember the “raisin bombers” that dropped candy and raisins for children.

We are a nation that defeated Japan – then distributed food, wrote a constitution, encouraged labor unions and gave women the right to vote. Japanese who expected retribution received mercy instead. Over the entrance of one American army camp, there was a banner that read, “Be neat. Be soldierly. Be proud. Behave. Be American.”

No one questioned what those words meant: “Be American.” They meant we were humble in victory. That we were liberators, not conquerors. And when American soldiers hugged the survivors of death camps, and shared their tears, and welcomed them back from a nightmare world, our country was confirmed in its calling.

The duties of our day are different. But the values of our nation do not change. Let us reject the blinders of isolationism, just as we refuse the crown of empire. Let us not dominate others with our power – or betray them with our indifference. And let us have an American foreign policy that reflects American character. The modesty of true strength. The humility of real greatness.

This is the strong heart of America. And this will be the spirit of my administration.

I believe this kind of foreign policy will inspire our people and restore the bipartisanship so necessary to our peace and security.

Many years ago, Alexander Solzhenitzyn challenged American politicians. “Perhaps,” he said, “some of you still feel yourselves just as representatives of your state or party. We do not perceive these differences. We do not look on you as Democrats or Republicans, not as representatives of the East or West Coast or the Midwest…. Upon [you] depends whether the course of world history will tend to tragedy or salvation.”

That is still our challenge. And that is still our choice.

Thank you.


NOT AN ECHO:

November 7, 2003

Echoes of Reagan Idealism: Belief in Liberty as Policy Is Cited, Then Expanded to Mideast (David Von Drehle, November 7, 2003, Washington Post)

The name is Bush, but the philosophy was pure Reagan.

President Bush yesterday explained his approach to the Middle East by drawing a comparison to President Ronald Reagan’s stance 20 years ago in the Cold War. “A number of critics were dismissive” of Reagan’s idealistic belief in the superiority of liberty as both a moral right and as a way of organizing society, Bush said. Reagan lashed his foreign policy to the unproven faith that “freedom had a momentum that would not be halted,” as Bush put it — and ignored people who called him “simplistic and naive, and even dangerous.”

Bush believes Reagan was “entirely correct,” and that what worked in the 1980s against the Soviet empire will work again in the Middle East. Reagan’s critics are now his critics, Bush suggested, and Reagan proved them wrong.

But not even Reagan dared press Reaganism this far. Operating in the superpower standoff of the Cold War, Reagan did not risk pushing the closed and autocratic governments of the Middle East to embrace human liberty. Rather, he pursued essentially the same Middle East strategy that his predecessors, Republican and Democrat, had embraced, favoring stability over modernization and an unpleasant status quo over a very risky gamble on progress.

“Even Reagan himself implicitly fenced off the Middle East,” said one administration official.

The hope that this was who George W. Bush would turn out to be–and that he could thereby transform our politics, making the GOP the majority party again–was why conservatives stuck with him even when it became obvious that John McCain could be elected more easily. To his credit, Bill Keller was one of the first mainstream journalists to notice the Reagan’s Son angle and his essay remains, along with the recent one by Jonathan Rauch, one of the best analyses of the Bush phenomenon.

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A MASTERWORK: President Bush’s speech to the National Endowment for Democracy–posted by whitehouse.gov in Arabic–is a masterwork both of speechwriting and of statesmanship. (Gregg Easterbrook, 11/07/03)

[C]onsider that the last time this nation gambled with history–Ronald Reagan’s hugely risky decision to drive the Soviet monolith into collapse–the result was unqualified triumph for world peace, for human liberty, and for the people we hoped to free. If American intervention in Iraq actually does plant freedom in the Arab world, history will call this a magnificent hour.


CRUSADER STATE:

November 6, 2003

Remarks by the President at Signing of HR 3289: the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense and for the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan (The East Room, 11/06/03)

Our investment in the future of Afghanistan and Iraq is the greatest commitment of its kind since the Marshall Plan. By this action, we show the generous spirit of our country, and we serve the interest of our country, because our security is at stake. The Middle East region will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will remain a source of violence and terror. And we’re determined to see the triumph of progress, and the triumph of peace in that region. We will do all in our power to ensure that freedom finds a lasting home in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

We know this will require patience and sacrifice. I just had the honor of meeting PFC Phillip Ramsey and SPC Alex Leonard, two brave Americans who were wounded in action. We thank you for your service.

Recent attacks have shown, once again, the cruelty of the enemy. They don’t care whose lives they take — men, women, or children. They’re cold-blooded. They’re heartless. We’re engaged in a massive and difficult undertaking, but America has done this kind of hard work before.

After World War II, we made long-term commitments to the transformation of Germany and Japan so that those nations would not be sources of war, but our partners in peace. That investment in peace has been repaid many times over. Now our generation will show the same perseverance and the same vision in the cause of peace.

I appreciate the solid bipartisan support for this bill in the House and the Senate. I also appreciate that reconstruction funds for Iraq have been provided in the form of grants so that this struggling nation is not burdened with new debt at a moment of new hope.

The establishment of a free Iraq and a free Afghanistan will be watershed events in the history of the Middle East, watershed events in the global democratic revolution that has already transformed Europe and Latin America and much of Africa and Asia. The resources we commit today will further advance the cause of freedom, thereby serving the cause of peace and enhancing the security of the American people.

Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy (United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., 11/06/03)

The roots of our democracy can be traced to England, and to its Parliament — and so can the roots of this organization. In June of 1982, President Ronald Reagan spoke at Westminster Palace and declared, the turning point had arrived in history. He argued that Soviet communism had failed, precisely because it did not respect its own people — their creativity, their genius and their rights.

President Reagan said that the day of Soviet tyranny was passing, that freedom had a momentum which would not be halted. He gave this organization its mandate: to add to the momentum of freedom across the world. Your mandate was important 20 years ago; it is equally important today.

A number of critics were dismissive of that speech by the President. According to one editorial of the time, “It seems hard to be a sophisticated European and also an admirer of Ronald Reagan.” Some observers on both sides of the Atlantic pronounced the speech simplistic and naive, and even dangerous. In fact, Ronald Reagan’s words were courageous and optimistic and entirely correct.

The great democratic movement President Reagan described was already well underway. In the early 1970s, there were about 40 democracies in the world. By the middle of that decade, Portugal and Spain and Greece held free elections. Soon there were new democracies in Latin America, and free institutions were spreading in Korea, in Taiwan, and in East Asia. This very week in 1989, there were protests in East Berlin and in Leipzig. By the end of that year, every communist dictatorship in Central America had collapsed. Within another year, the South African government released Nelson Mandela. Four years later, he was elected president of his country — ascending, like Walesa and Havel, from prisoner of state to head of state.

As the 20th century ended, there were around 120 democracies in the world — and I can assure you more are on the way. Ronald Reagan would be pleased, and he would not be surprised.

We’ve witnessed, in little over a generation, the swiftest advance of freedom in the 2,500 year story of democracy. Historians in the future will offer their own explanations for why this happened. Yet we already know some of the reasons they will cite. It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world’s most influential nation was itself a democracy.

The United States made military and moral commitments in Europe and Asia, which protected free nations from aggression, and created the conditions in which new democracies could flourish. As we provided security for whole nations, we also provided inspiration for oppressed peoples. In prison camps, in banned union meetings, in clandestine churches, men and women knew that the whole world was not sharing their own nightmare. They knew of at least one place — a bright and hopeful land — where freedom was valued and secure. And they prayed that America would not forget them, or forget the mission to promote liberty around the world.

Historians will note that in many nations, the advance of markets and free enterprise helped to create a middle class that was confident enough to demand their own rights. They will point to the role of technology in frustrating censorship and central control — and marvel at the power of instant communications to spread the truth, the news, and courage across borders.

Historians in the future will reflect on an extraordinary, undeniable fact: Over time, free nations grow stronger and dictatorships grow weaker. In the middle of the 20th century, some imagined that the central planning and social regimentation were a shortcut to national strength. In fact, the prosperity, and social vitality and technological progress of a people are directly determined by extent of their liberty. Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity — and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity, and the best hope for progress here on Earth.

The progress of liberty is a powerful trend. Yet, we also know that liberty, if not defended, can be lost. The success of freedom is not determined by some dialectic of history. By definition, the success of freedom rests upon the choices and the courage of free peoples, and upon their willingness to sacrifice. In the trenches of World War I, through a two-front war in the 1940s, the difficult battles of Korea and Vietnam, and in missions of rescue and liberation on nearly every continent, Americans have amply displayed our willingness to sacrifice for liberty.

The sacrifices of Americans have not always been recognized or appreciated, yet they have been worthwhile. Because we and our allies were steadfast, Germany and Japan are democratic nations that no longer threaten the world. A global nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union ended peacefully — as did the Soviet Union. The nations of Europe are moving towards unity, not dividing into armed camps and descending into genocide. Every nation has learned, or should have learned, an important lesson: Freedom is worth fighting for, dying for, and standing for — and the advance of freedom leads to peace.

And now we must apply that lesson in our own time. We’ve reached another great turning point — and the resolve we show will shape the next stage of the world democratic movement.

Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe — outposts of oppression in our world. The people in these nations live in captivity, and fear and silence. Yet, these regimes cannot hold back freedom forever — and, one day, from prison camps and prison cells, and from exile, the leaders of new democracies will arrive. Communism, and militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand with these oppressed peoples until the day of their freedom finally arrives.

Our commitment to democracy is tested in China. That nation now has a sliver, a fragment of liberty. Yet, China’s people will eventually want their liberty pure and whole. China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. China’s leaders will also discover that freedom is indivisible — that social and religious freedom is also essential to national greatness and national dignity. Eventually, men and women who are allowed to control their own wealth will insist on controlling their own lives and their own country.

Our commitment to democracy is also tested in the Middle East, which is my focus today, and must be a focus of American policy for decades to come. In many nations of the Middle East — countries of great strategic importance — democracy has not yet taken root. And the questions arise: Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.

Some skeptics of democracy assert that the traditions of Islam are inhospitable to the representative government. This “cultural condescension,” as Ronald Reagan termed it, has a long history. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, a so-called Japan expert asserted that democracy in that former empire would “never work.” Another observer declared the prospects for democracy in post-Hitler Germany are, and I quote, “most uncertain at best” — he made that claim in 1957. Seventy-four years ago, The Sunday London Times declared nine-tenths of the population of India to be “illiterates not caring a fig for politics.” Yet when Indian democracy was imperiled in the 1970s, the Indian people showed their commitment to liberty in a national referendum that saved their form of government.

Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country, or that people, or this group, are “ready” for democracy — as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own Western standards of progress. In fact, the daily work of democracy itself is the path of progress. It teaches cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, and the peaceful resolution of differences. As men and women are showing, from Bangladesh to Botswana, to Mongolia, it is the practice of democracy that makes a nation ready for democracy, and every nation can start on this path.

It should be clear to all that Islam — the faith of one-fifth of humanity — is consistent with democratic rule. Democratic progress is found in many predominantly Muslim countries — in Turkey and Indonesia, and Senegal and Albania, Niger and Sierra Leone. Muslim men and women are good citizens of India and South Africa, of the nations of Western Europe, and of the United States of America.

More than half of all the Muslims in the world live in freedom under democratically constituted governments. They succeed in democratic societies, not in spite of their faith, but because of it. A religion that demands individual moral accountability, and encourages the encounter of the individual with God, is fully compatible with the rights and responsibilities of self-government.

Yet there’s a great challenge today in the Middle East. In the words of a recent report by Arab scholars, the global wave of democracy has — and I quote — “barely reached the Arab states.” They continue: “This freedom deficit undermines human development and is one of the most painful manifestations of lagging political development.” The freedom deficit they describe has terrible consequences, of the people of the Middle East and for the world. In many Middle Eastern countries, poverty is deep and it is spreading, women lack rights and are denied schooling. Whole societies remain stagnant while the world moves ahead. These are not the failures of a culture or a religion. These are the failures of political and economic doctrines.

As the colonial era passed away, the Middle East saw the establishment of many military dictatorships. Some rulers adopted the dogmas of socialism, seized total control of political parties and the media and universities. They allied themselves with the Soviet bloc and with international terrorism. Dictators in Iraq and Syria promised the restoration of national honor, a return to ancient glories. They’ve left instead a legacy of torture, oppression, misery, and ruin.

Other men, and groups of men, have gained influence in the Middle East and beyond through an ideology of theocratic terror. Behind their language of religion is the ambition for absolute political power. Ruling cabals like the Taliban show their version of religious piety in public whippings of women, ruthless suppression of any difference or dissent, and support for terrorists who arm and train to murder the innocent. The Taliban promised religious purity and national pride. Instead, by systematically destroying a proud and working society, they left behind suffering and starvation.

Many Middle Eastern governments now understand that military dictatorship and theocratic rule are a straight, smooth highway to nowhere. But some governments still cling to the old habits of central control. There are governments that still fear and repress independent thought and creativity, and private enterprise — the human qualities that make for a — strong and successful societies. Even when these nations have vast natural resources, they do not respect or develop their greatest resources — the talent and energy of men and women working and living in freedom.

Instead of dwelling on past wrongs and blaming others, governments in the Middle East need to confront real problems, and serve the true interests of their nations. The good and capable people of the Middle East all deserve responsible leadership. For too long, many people in that region have been victims and subjects — they deserve to be active citizens.

Governments across the Middle East and North Africa are beginning to see the need for change. Morocco has a diverse new parliament; King Mohammed has urged it to extend the rights to women. Here is how His Majesty explained his reforms to parliament: “How can society achieve progress while women, who represent half the nation, see their rights violated and suffer as a result of injustice, violence, and marginalization, notwithstanding the dignity and justice granted to them by our glorious religion?” The King of Morocco is correct: The future of Muslim nations will be better for all with the full participation of women. (Applause.)

In Bahrain last year, citizens elected their own parliament for the first time in nearly three decades. Oman has extended the vote to all adult citizens; Qatar has a new constitution; Yemen has a multiparty political system; Kuwait has a directly elected national assembly; and Jordan held historic elections this summer. Recent surveys in Arab nations reveal broad support for political pluralism, the rule of law, and free speech. These are the stirrings of Middle Eastern democracy, and they carry the promise of greater change to come.

As changes come to the Middle Eastern region, those with power should ask themselves: Will they be remembered for resisting reform, or for leading it? In Iran, the demand for democracy is strong and broad, as we saw last month when thousands gathered to welcome home Shirin Ebadi, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The regime in Teheran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy.

For the Palestinian people, the only path to independence and dignity and progress is the path of democracy. And the Palestinian leaders who block and undermine democratic reform, and feed hatred and encourage violence are not leaders at all. They’re the main obstacles to peace, and to the success of the Palestinian people.

The Saudi government is taking first steps toward reform, including a plan for gradual introduction of elections. By giving the Saudi people a greater role in their own society, the Saudi government can demonstrate true leadership in the region.

The great and proud nation of Egypt has shown the way toward peace in the Middle East, and now should show the way toward democracy in the Middle East. Champions of democracy in the region understand that democracy is not perfect, it is not the path to utopia, but it’s the only path to national success and dignity.

As we watch and encourage reforms in the region, we are mindful that modernization is not the same as Westernization. Representative governments in the Middle East will reflect their own cultures. They will not, and should not, look like us. Democratic nations may be constitutional monarchies, federal republics, or parliamentary systems. And working democracies always need time to develop — as did our own. We’ve taken a 200-year journey toward inclusion and justice — and this makes us patient and understanding as other nations are at different stages of this journey.

There are, however, essential principles common to every successful society, in every culture. Successful societies limit the power of the state and the power of the military — so that governments respond to the will of the people, and not the will of an elite. Successful societies protect freedom with the consistent and impartial rule of law, instead of selecting applying — selectively applying the law to punish political opponents. Successful societies allow room for healthy civic institutions — for political parties and labor unions and independent newspapers and broadcast media. Successful societies guarantee religious liberty — the right to serve and honor God without fear of persecution. Successful societies privatize their economies, and secure the rights of property. They prohibit and punish official corruption, and invest in the health and education of their people. They recognize the rights of women. And instead of directing hatred and resentment against others, successful societies appeal to the hopes of their own people.

These vital principles are being applies in the nations of Afghanistan and Iraq. With the steady leadership of President Karzai, the people of Afghanistan are building a modern and peaceful government. Next month, 500 delegates will convene a national assembly in Kabul to approve a new Afghan constitution. The proposed draft would establish a bicameral parliament, set national elections next year, and recognize Afghanistan’s Muslim identity, while protecting the rights of all citizens. Afghanistan faces continuing economic and security challenges — it will face those challenges as a free and stable democracy.

In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy — and after three decades of tyranny, this work is not easy. The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery, and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue their battle against order and against civilization. Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis, themselves. And we’re working closely with Iraqi citizens as they prepare a constitution, as they move toward free elections and take increasing responsibility for their own affairs. As in the defense of Greece in 1947, and later in the Berlin Airlift, the strength and will of free peoples are now being tested before a watching world. And we will meet this test.

Securing democracy in Iraq is the work of many hands. American and coalition forces are sacrificing for the peace of Iraq and for the security of free nations. Aid workers from many countries are facing danger to help the Iraqi people. The National Endowment for Democracy is promoting women’s rights, and training Iraqi journalists, and teaching the skills of political participation. Iraqis, themselves — police and borders guards and local officials — are joining in the work and they are sharing in the sacrifice.

This is a massive and difficult undertaking — it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed — and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran — that freedom can be the future of every nation. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.

Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe — because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export. And with the spread of weapons that can bring catastrophic harm to our country and to our friends, it would be reckless to accept the status quo.

Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. This strategy requires the same persistence and energy and idealism we have shown before. And it will yield the same results. As in Europe, as in Asia, as in every region of the world, the advance of freedom leads to peace.

The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country. From the Fourteen Points to the Four Freedoms, to the Speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle. We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom — the freedom we prize — is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.

Working for the spread of freedom can be hard. Yet, America has accomplished hard tasks before. Our nation is strong; we’re strong of heart. And we’re not alone. Freedom is finding allies in every country; freedom finds allies in every culture. And as we meet the terror and violence of the world, we can be certain the author of freedom is not indifferent to the fate of freedom.

With all the tests and all the challenges of our age, this is, above all, the age of liberty. Each of you at this Endowment is fully engaged in the great cause of liberty. And I thank you. May God bless your work. And may God continue to bless America.

There’ve been an awful lot of triumphal-defeatist essays recently by those who opposed the war, suggesting that the Administration has been chastened by the “long, hard slog” of Iraq and Afghanistan. The President doesn’t seem particularly daunted, does he? From placing the current effort in a historical context to stating the inevitability of eventual success (history being over, and all) to putting Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt on the spot to indicting our own past policy of favoring stability over all other concerns to specifying exactly why Islam is compatible with liberty–that’s a brilliant and historic speech.

One is reminded, once again, of the devastatingly insightful words of Robert D. Kaplan in a generally positive profile of arch-realist Henry Kissinger:

In perceiving the Soviet Union as permanent, orderly, and legitimate, Kissinger shared a failure of analysis with the rest of the foreign-policy elite–notably excepting the scholar and former head of the State Department’s policy-planning staff George Kennan, the Harvard historian Richard Pipes, the British scholar and journalist Bernard Levin, and the Eureka College graduate Ronald Reagan.

George W. Bush, like Ronald Reagan before him, may be dumb as a bag of hammers, but history will prove him, as it did the Gipper, smarter than any of the elites in a particularly American way.


THE COWBOY WAY:

November 4, 2003

Bush Is No Cowboy: But If He Were, It Wouldn’t Matter (Jonathan Rauch, Nov. 3, 2003, Jewish World Review)

Bush is not going it alone. He is setting his agenda and then looking for support, rather than the other way around. That is what presidents and countries typically do. It is certainly what France does — and how. France’s intransigence on farm subsidies has been the single greatest impediment to progress at the World Trade Organization. France’s determination to set up an independent European military-planning center risks splitting NATO. France’s refusal to comply with the European Union’s fiscal rules may result in the rules’ collapse. France freely uses its E.U. clout to bully dissenting European countries. It does not shrink from calling on them to “shut up.” It did not shrink from announcing it would unilaterally veto any Security Council resolution authorizing military action against Iraq, “whatever the circumstances.” This is not exactly team playing, although critics of American unilateralism rarely see fit to mention it.

America, a stronger country than France, should behave more responsibly, and does. The root problem, however, is substance, not style. The problem is that much of the world resents America’s dominance and disagrees with many of Bush’s policies, especially the Iraq war.

The reality of American dominance is not about to change, and few Americans would favor changing it. Signing up for the International Criminal Court and other global ventures is no answer, because America would still be at odds with other member countries over the goals such organizations would pursue — witness the U.N. and the WTO, among others. People who say that Bush should tie the United States into a web of stabilizing alliances and global organizations, as Presidents Roosevelt and Truman did, miss the point. The old alliances worked not because they were multilateral but because of the West’s common interest in resisting Communism. That common interest is gone.

The only way to placate today’s angry Europeans is to change the ends, not just the means, of U.S. foreign policy. And the only way to have avoided the trans-Atlantic falling-out over Iraq would have been for Bush to condition America’s use of force upon the approval of the Security Council (read: France). No responsible American president, of either party, would have done that.

We might render “the means” as exclusively a concern for the sovereignty of any action–the technical right to do something–and “the end” as concern about the legitimacy–the question of whether the action is morally right. Transnationalists, like the Europeans, don’t particularly care about morality, only about whether you’ve been given permission to exercise power. In effect, the means justify any and every end. That must be intolerable to Americans.

MORE:
In what must be regarded as the one tragic aspect of his otherwise brilliant papacy, John Paul II has aligned himself with the means crowd, What the War Revealed (David Quinn, September 2003, Crisis):

If anti-Americanism was one source of Catholic opposition to the war, and doubts about its justness another, there was a third that was overlooked by most observers: Vatican foreign policy. In the diplomatic battle that has raged ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall between multilateralists and unilateralists, the Vatican has placed itself firmly on the side of the multilateralists.

The extent to which the Church has done this was well demonstrated by the pope’s latest annual message for World Peace Day. In his message, the pope commented on John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth), which had been released 40 years before.

He noted that since then, “the world has become more free, structures of dialogue and cooperation between nations have been strengthened, and the threat of a global nuclear war—which weighed so heavily on Pope John XXIII—has been effectively contained.”

Then he turned his attention to the negative side of the ledger. “There remains a serious disorder in world affairs, and we must face the question: What kind of order can replace this disorder so that men and women can live in freedom, justice, and security?”

Part of the answer, he suggested, lay in nothing less than a new “constitutional organization in the human family.” The pope didn’t explain what he meant by this seemingly radical proposal, but he made clear that he didn’t have in mind some kind of global superstate. Rather, his “constitutional organization” would “strengthen processes already in place to meet the almost universal demand for participatory ways of exercising political authority and for transparency and accountability at every level of public life.” At face value, this call seems unobjectionable enough…like the spread of democratic forms of governance throughout the world. This, of course, is exactly what the United States is working toward.

But the pope’s reference to an “international political authority” is telling. […]

Why this attitude? Surely it cannot be for moral reasons. There’s nothing in the doctrinal or moral teachings of the Church that requires faithful Catholics to sign up for the multilateralist agenda. Therefore, its reasons must be prudential. Evidently, the Vatican believes that it will better promote international peace and order if nations take actions that affect the world at large only after first seeking the permission of organizations like the UN.

This elevation of order, peace, and multilateralism above the moral question of what was being done to the people of Iraq is such a drastic departure from his usual concentration on the inviolable dignity of the human being that one wonders what the Pope can have been thinking.