Friday, January 27, 2006

Prof. Cole highlights an important fault in Bush's logic

Prof. Cole today on
Jan. 27, 2006 | The stunning victory of the militant Muslim fundamentalist Hamas Party in the Palestinian elections underlines the central contradictions in the Bush administration's policies toward the Middle East. Bush pushes for elections, confusing them with democracy, but seems blind to the dangers of right-wing populism. At the same time, he continually undermines the moderate and secular forces in the region by acting high-handedly or allowing his clients to do so. As a result, Sunni fundamentalist parties, some with ties to violent cells, have emerged as key players in Iraq, Egypt and Palestine.

Democracy depends not just on elections but on a rule of law, on stable institutions, on basic economic security for the population, and on checks and balances that forestall a tyranny of the majority. Elections in the absence of this key societal context can produce authoritarian regimes and abuses as easily as they can produce genuine people power. Bush is on the whole unwilling to invest sufficiently in these key institutions and practices abroad. And by either creating or failing to deal with hated foreign occupations, he has sown the seeds for militant Islamist movements that gain popularity because of their nationalist credentials.
The professor goes on to demonstrate that the intrinsic good that Bush perceives in democracy, at least as shown in the president's rhetoric, contradicts the outcome of many "democratic" processes in the Middle East. This is a strong point -- showing both the limits of the president's strategy and the potential for more catastrophic success.


Blogger zen said...

"Limited strategy" says it all. It's one thing to call for regime change, and quite another to accept the change that comes.

8:31 AM  
Blogger John Sobieski said...

"catastrophic success" - I like that. About sums up the results so far.

3:55 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

zen, they are also poor strategists. i am stunned 40 odd percent believe this administration is worth a damn.

john, i'm using their own battle assessment phrase from Iraq. it's endemic to this white house to half succeed, yet ultimately fail.

11:00 AM  

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