Monday, August 20, 2007

Johnny Freedomseed

The preposterous new meme being pushed by the President and the clown show at the Washington Post is that Bush had a "vision of ending global tyranny" that stalled "in a bureaucratic and geopolitical morass." Give me a f****** break. This from a guy who has done his best to install and practice tyranny in the US and who never met a dictator he didn't like.

Peter Baker's article begins with:

By the time he arrived in Prague in June for a democracy conference, President Bush was frustrated. He had committed his presidency to working toward the goal of "ending tyranny in our world," yet the march of freedom seemed stalled. Just as aggravating was the sense that his own government was not committed to his vision.

As he sat down with opposition leaders from authoritarian societies around the world, he gave voice to his exasperation. "You're not the only dissident," Bush told Saad Eddin Ibrahim, a leader in the resistance to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. "I too am a dissident in Washington. Bureaucracy in the United States does not help change. It seems that Mubarak succeeded in brainwashing them."


Excuse me while I barf.

Bush did not wait long after reelection in November 2004 to begin mapping his second term. Relaxing from the burdens of the campaign, he leafed through galleys of a book given to him by Tom A. Bernstein, a friend and former partner in the Texas Rangers. The book, "The Case for Democracy," was a manifesto by Natan Sharansky, the Soviet refusenik, Israeli politician and favorite of neoconservatives.

Bush found it so riveting, he asked aides to invite Sharansky to visit. The next day, nine days after the election, the author was ushered into the Oval Office. He and Bush talked about the nature of democracy and how to advance it. Bush was struck by a metaphor in the book comparing a tyrannical state to a soldier pointing a gun at a prisoner until his arms tire, he lowers the gun and the captive escapes. "Not only did he read it, he felt it," Sharansky said last week.

Within weeks, according to several aides, Bush called his chief speechwriter, Michael J. Gerson, to discuss using his second inaugural address to "plant a flag" for democracy around the world. Bush had made democracy in the Middle East a cornerstone of his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but now he wanted to broaden the goal.


So how to do the job?

Bush and his team tried to demonstrate their commitment. The president met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovakia for a tense discussion about the Kremlin's crackdown on dissent. And when Egypt arrested opposition leader Ayman Nour, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice canceled a trip to Cairo. Two weeks later, Egypt released Nour.

The most serious test came in May, when Uzbekistan, a U.S. ally, massacred hundreds of protesters in the town of Andijan. The Pentagon, which maintained a base in Uzbekistan, resisted making a strenuous protest, but even the restrained criticism provoked Uzbekistan enough to expel U.S. troops. It was the first tangible price paid for the focus on freedom.

But it was all ad hoc. "There was no blueprint here," said Joshua Muravchik, an American Enterprise Institute scholar who serves on Rice's democracy advisory panel. "No one knew how to do this. People at the State Department felt they were groping in the dark."


What a shock! The gang that can't find its ass with both hands can't implement a concept they despise in their own practice. Amazing.

Bush's budget slashed money for democracy programs in Russia and the former Soviet Union, where civil society was in retreat.


In the end, Baker does a reasonable job on the play by play, but somehow manages to stay too dense to realize that "democracy promotion" like "Mission Accomplished, the "mission to Mars" and every other half-assed idea of Bush and Rove was never more than a gimmick - a billboard put up to draw cheers, never backed with any substance.

And when it goes wrong, as everything this guy touches does, it's somebody else's fault.