Monday, August 20, 2007

While Bush pretends to build democracies, Al-Maliki branches out

And visits Syria:
DAMASCUS -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki is due in Damascus Monday, on his second visit to a US foe this month after a trip to Syria's main regional ally Iran.

It is Maliki's first visit to Syria since he became premier, early last year, although he was based in Damascus in the 1990s when in exile during the rule of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.

Maliki will be accompanied on the three-day visit by his ministers of oil, trade, the interior, and water resources, his office in Baghdad said.

Syria and Iraq only restored diplomatic ties last November, 26 years after they were broken under Saddam over Syria's support for Iran in its eight-year war with Iraq.

The rapprochement paved the way for a week-long visit to Syria in January by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, another formerly-Damascus-based exile, who secured a promise from his opposite number, Bashar Al Assad, to work to "eradicate terrorism."

The United States had been strongly critical of the role in Iraq of both Iran and Syria since its 2003 invasion.

But Maliki's Shiite-led government has friendly relations with Iran and, earlier this month, the prime minister drew White House criticism after he held cordial meetings with Iranian officials.

What does the Bush administration's irritation over al-Maliki's outreach to Iran and Syria actually mean when Bush and Cheney really like dictatorships rather than democracy?

Laura Rozen of War and Piece:

The WP's Peter Baker missed a few important insights in its piece on why Bush's democracy vision has stalled. The two biggest: Bush's vision of overturning tyranny and bringing democracy to Iraq has been dashed in massive sectarian bloodshed, loss of life, turmoil, insurgency, uncertainty and heartbreak and a massive devotion of US resources that might have gone to promoting grand things lots of places, and secondly, that in many targeted countries, promoting democracy would mean allowing Islamist groups, some designated as terrorist groups by the Bush administration, to prevail. The piece left out so many big examples of the contradictions -- Musharraf/Pakistan, Saudi Arabia whose corrupt royal family is so close to the White House and Cheney's office, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt -- of where Bush has decided he isn't quite sure he really wants democratic realities to be realized, and he just may prefer the tyrant, as Cheney openly does in Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia. While the piece would seem to promote a few voices blaming the stalling of Bush's grand vision on the bureaucrats in the U.S. government, it also tried to save itself from total ingratiation with the White House by naming responsible the office of the vice president's "little-girl crush on strongmen." But how did it miss how corrupted and stalled and conflicted is the vision at the very top of the U.S. government -- with the president himself -- and the realities the president has found himself confronting? Bush is now using all the Sunni tyrants, the autocrats, royals and propped up, hardly a two of them democratically elected, to counter Iran, for instance. Bush have a hard time with the policy? Congress may be interested to know due to the $30 billion in military aid to those states it's being asked to approve by the Bush White House.

The U.S. government may be in serious trouble if and when Pakistan's military dictator falls. Same the hideously corrupted Saudi royal family, so personally close with Bush and Cheney. They don't seem to have too much use for democracy when it comes to their friends, the corrupt autocrats. It's hard to understand how the piece skipped such big glaring points and contradictions, as if Bush's pure longing for democracy in the world had not been sabotaged by nothing so much as conflicts of interest going to the very top, and U.S. national security interests defined by the very top. How would we know if Bush were really serious about democracy? If he told Riyadh to stuff it. That's never going to happen, so we can rest assured that Bush is quite content to live with the art of the possible, with a very high degree of realism, and any griping about the bureaucrats is something journalists should know better than to accept as more than a wink-nod excuse for the president's own decisions to compromise his vision of promoting democracy.

I don't know... I don't think Bush ever tried to smear democracy around the world. I think saying that gave him an excuse to activate wars to protect our freedoms, to pervert the Constitution, to deny Americans their civil liberties, to amass more power for the White House.

I really never have gotten the sense Bush gives a fuck about democracy.


Anonymous said...

Come on, Ellroon, you're only saying that because he has been using all of the powers of the government to distort the election process and put in place a 1000-year Repub Reich.

Other than violating everything in the Bill of Rights and making the US a surveillance state that Stalin would have been proud of, what evidence is there that he doesn't like democracy, or at least mob rule.

ellroon said...

I think he's afraid of us common folk.