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February 21, 2005


Thomas Hazlewood

It was a good talking-to that Bush gave them. However, Bush is now talking to a Western Europe in which many believe that the US has fallen under fascism, where people get propaganda, not news, from a one-sided media.

This is a Europe in which many believe that the US is the major threat to peace or is, perhaps, second to Israel in that. The leading countries in Western Europe are in a rush to arm China to 'counter' the US on the world stage. Or, maybe they aren't even that far-sighted. Maybe they're just rushing to get orders to keep their stagnant economies afloat.

Imo, we are betting on a old favorite and that's a bad way to choose stocks, or contests, or allies.




Great blog, great photographs. One minor point; the helicopter pictured is a Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk, not an H-3 Sea King.




Good post.

It's a bit triumphalist though. What if Saudi Arabia were to democratically elect a radical Islamist? i.e. What if so-called "radical Islam" is not so radical in parts of the world, if it is more mainstream?

I certainly hope that the experiment in democracy with Iraq works. I still think it's the best and least violent option we haven't tried yet. Hopefully a free and capitalist Iraq will spread the corrosive influence of its (and America's) pop culture around the Middle East and so reduce the numbers of fundamentalists.

But that is no guarantee. If women get a vote... I think that could be the deciding factor.

Because, face it, with the exception of having to study the Koran (*yawn*), and have a few other restrictions, you really have it made if you are a man in an Islamic society. You

a) Have as much power over women - your wives are essentially chattel;
b) Can have as many wives as you want;
c) If you are in power you are not going to be hurting for wives anyway.
d) Can have sex with infidel women whether they like it or not.

And it's all backed up by your local cleric and holy book!

In a democracy where all men (and no women) are enfranchised, I can see a majority voting to outlaw polygamy, out of jealousy.

Still, the other things are going to be attractive and that would parlay itself into women not getting enfranchised.

If women are enfranchised and they don't immediately elect someone who abolishes elections, then over time moderates would almost certainly come to power.


If you look at who came to power in Iraq, it was Sistani's puppet.

I don't think that Iraq will become a theocratic state in the long run simply because of the way the constitution is set up. Den Beste has an excellent post on this:


The structure of the constitution and Iraqi population encourages a secular, capitalist democracy long term IMO.

In the absence of this sort of thing, there is no guarantee against an Ayatollah coming to power and imposing Sharia in other states such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

But I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.


There is a commonplace confusion that the difference between US and European foreign policy (or Repulican and Democrat for that matter) is unilateralism versus world consensus.

This is a mistaken analysis. The difference is between preemption and containment. Consensus is an end result which may follow depending on which strategy is chosen.

There will typically be broad consensus for a containment policy, but not for a policy of preemption. Has nothing to do with which one is wiser.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the still war-shocked French and German populace doesn't have the stomach for preemption, and may not for generations. Americans by contrast are divided but seem,in the aggregate, to understand preemption's value with some clarity and balance.

D. B. Light

Nice overview. Brilliant speech. Bush is on a roll and is inviting Europe along for the ride. By offering to enlist European states in support of his freedom initiative Bush is giving his critics a face-saving way to join in his larger goals without having to admit that they were wrong. And, as a realist, Bush knows that serving notice on non-western governments, demanding that they reform, will produce results only if Europe joins in and stops subverting his efforts. Together the US and Europe can take advantage of a historic opportunity, when enthusiasm for democratic reform is spreading like wildfire, to reshape the world.

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