Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Mark Steyn
Mike Rappaport

A new argument for the Bush Doctrine:

However, I support the Bush Doctrine on two grounds -- first, for "utopian" reasons: If the Middle East becomes a region of free states, it will have been the right thing to do and the option most consistent with American values (unlike the stability fetishists' preference for sticking with Mubarak, the House of Saud and the other thugs and autocrats). But, second, it also makes sense from a cynical realpolitik perspective: Promoting liberty and democracy, even if they ultimately fail, is still a good way of messing with the thugs' heads. It's one of the few real points of pressure America and its allies can bring to bear against rogue nations, and in the case of Iran, the one with the clearest shot at being effective. In other words, even if it ultimately flops, seriously promoting liberty and democracy could cause all kinds of headaches for the mullahs, Assad, Mubarak and the rest of the gang. However it turns out, it's the "realist" option.

The rest of the column is well worth reading.  It is all about how small government and security conservatives need to work together.  Since I am in both camps, I certain agree.

https://rightcoast.typepad.com/rightcoast/2006/11/more_mark_steyn.html

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

If the Middle East becomes a region of free states and if everyone got a pony it'd be awesome! And we could ride the pony around in our new awesome free Middle East. Back in the real world though, democracy and liberty is now linked with the chaos in Iraq.

Posted by: Jacob | Nov 21, 2006 1:10:07 PM

And the areas where we saw democracy gave us Hiballahnon and Hamasistan, as well as al Sadr in Parliament. Democracy is nice when you're dealing with folks reared in the Enlightment. However, don't be shocked when folks in the Dark Ages elect bin Ladens.

Posted by: unhhyphenatedconservative | Nov 21, 2006 7:01:37 PM

It may be that democracy gave us Sadr, but it is only the incompetence of administration that allowed Sadr to be alive. If the US had killed Sadr when it had the chance, democracy would have had more of a chance. Also, democracy compared to what? A dictator like Saddam? I certainly agree that Iraq is not working out so well, but people are exaggerating the arguments against democacy. The reasons why it is not working, and the alternatives, are complex.

Posted by: Mike Rappaport | Nov 21, 2006 9:41:18 PM

Mr. Rappaport -- I agree fully that the reasons that Iraq is not working, as well as the alternatives, are complex. My problem is with Mr. Steyn's overly simplistic statement that the promotion of liberty and democracy is a good way to "mess with the thugs' heads." There are many ways to promote liberty and democracy. Most of those methods do not involve initiation of a war. Most people would agree that it's great to promote liberty and democracy, but as we learned at great cost in Vietnam and as we seem determined to re-learn in Iraq, those goals are not necessarily best accomplished by use of force.

Posted by: Tillman Fan | Nov 22, 2006 1:09:53 PM

Professor Rappaport, I'll agree on the incompetence of Bush as a reason for al Sadr's continued enjoyment of the sun, fresh air and other amenities offered on this earth. However, even if one dismisses al-Sadr's presence in the government, we must still question allies such as Maliki, who ordered checkpoints established for searching for a kidnapped U.S. soldier disbanded. Additionally, you fail to address the fact that the much hailed Cedar Revolution produced a Hizballahnon and that democracy for Palesitnians created Hamasistan.

I stand by my belief that simply saying that democracy will equal peace and prosperity is a conceit founded in a dangerous multicultualism which thinks that all societies value peace and prosperity as much as say, honor and strength. It was once said of the Soviets that we could achieve peace because they valued their children as much as Americans did. Can the same be said of a culture which glorifies suicide bomber sons and the "honor killing" of disobedient daughters?

So is the answer a strongman like Hussein? I'll say no because Hussein was a genocidal madman and no friend to America. But in a region in which the populous will vote for Islamic terror, American society may very well demand the rule of pro-Amerrican strongmen who understand that their continued existence depends upon their ability to fight against Islamism.

Posted by: unhhyphenatedconservative | Nov 22, 2006 2:02:16 PM