Friday, January 21, 2005

Forked Tongue

Matthew Yglesias likes Michael Gerson's speechwriting quite a bit. But he clearly lays out the problem with the policies that conflict with the speech:
Our actual policies take the following shape:

"Outposts of Tyranny":

* Cuba
* Burma
* North Korea
* Iran
* Zimbabwe
* Belarus

Allies In the War On Terror

* Tunisia
* Saudi Arabia
* Uzbekistan
* Egypt
* Jordan
* Kuwait

Ambiguous Third Category

* Russia
* China
* Vietnam
* Syria

Specifically Cited By Bush Administration As Models of Democracy

* Pakistan
* Algeria

One Election Makes a Democracy In...

* Afghanistan
* Iraq
* Palestine after Arafat died

One Election Does Not A Democracy Make In...

* Venezuela
* Haiti
* Palestine before Arafat died

You all see, no doubt, where I'm going with this. You can take current American policy toward any country on this list and offer a decent defense for acting the way the Bush administration has acted. What you can't do is look at American policies toward all of these countries -- toward the world, in short -- and come close to explaining how this constitutes an instantiation of the Gerson Doctrine or reflects any sort of coherent view of the world.

And that's the problem. Freedom is great, everyone agrees. But that's not a policy, and it's certainly not Bush's policy. It's just empty happy-talk.

I'm sure that if WMD had been found in Iraq, the speech would have been much lighter in rhetoric about freedom. This is just an ass-covering sloganeering dressed up as a grand worldview.

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