Saturday, October 30, 2004

An oversimplification of Bush's foreign policy

A recent post from one of the co-bloggers at Parableman addresses why he is not voting for Bush this year. The issue of voting aside, here are some comments about the substance of the post.

In response to the point about the invasion of Afghanistan, I would agree that the immediate concern of the Bush administration was not to produce a democratic nation. On the other hand, this doesn't mean that producing a democratic Afghanistan was not a major motivation of that policy over the longer term. The list of demands presented in the 2001 ultimatum to the Taliban goes far beyond merely handing over bin Laden (the Taliban's preferred option as reported in the article). The ultimatum is not even confined to the verified dismantling of the Taliban's entire terror infrastructure; the demands for the release of unjustly imprisoned foreign nationals and the protection of journalists, diplomats, and aid workers are calls for immediate reforms of the Taliban's policy of internal oppression. It is also possible (although not immediately clear from the CNN article that I've linked to) that one or more of these demands were made with the foreknowledge that they would force the Taliban to reject the ultimatum, thus giving the United States an excuse to depose that regime and impose a democratic one in it's place.

Regarding the invasion of Iraq, I think a more accurate statement is that Vice President Cheney never presented solid proof that Iraq was linked to either Al Qaeda or to 9/11. Iraq was definately linked to terrorists. The cash payments offered to the families of suicide bombers, the assassination attempt on the first President Bush with a car bomb(!) as the assassination weapon, and the haboring of infamous terrorists are all cases in point.

Although the decline of democracy in Russia is alarming, it is also a bit of an underestimation of the ambitions that the United States is willing to persue within the borders of the Soviet Union. An article by Nikolas K. Gvosdev & Travis Tanner in the Fall 2004 issue of "The National Interest" (subscriber access only unfortunately) makes clear that the United States is opposed to any attempt by Russia to reunify the newly independent Soviet successor states by force. At the very least, that seems to me to be a pretty hefty committment to at least the independence of the Central Asian states, if not their eventual democratization, for the forseeable future.

The article "In Defense of Democratic Realism" by Charles Krauthammer in the same issue also gives some insight into the limitations for the United States for spreading democracy.

Finally, I'd be willing to bet that Anti-Castro terrorists aren't exactly given an open door in and out of the United States in order to garner votes for the President (regardless of party).


Blogger William said...

Truthfully, I have an opinion on this subject that I will not disclose cause I don't need the NSC on my six.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

You mean the FEC?

7:17 PM  
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