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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kissinger on "crusading" Bush's "Freedom Agenda"

As you read his world overview in his Washington Post piece today you can hear that croaky Bavarian monotone that of itself intones a degree of credibility that the fly-weight, hesitant, Condoleeza Rice can only dream. His analysis, as usual, is insightful, global and forboding.

I found his description of the Bush administrations policies rather alarming.

Some excerpts:

"President Bush's Middle East policy... elevated the progress of freedom in the world to the defining objective of U.S. foreign policy... Strategy must begin with the recognition that the freedom agenda does not make geopolitical analysis irrelevant. There are issues for which crusading strategies tend to be off the mark. The rise of China is, in essence, a geopolitical challenge, not a primarily ideological one."

"Americans need to understand that successes do not end their engagement but most probably deepen it. For as we involve ourselves, we bear the responsibility even for results we did not anticipate. We must deal with those consequences regardless of our original intentions and not act as if our commitments are as changeable as opinion polls."

"Elections are not an inevitable guarantee of a democratic outcome. Radicals such as Hezbollah and Hamas seem to have learned the mechanics of democracy in order to undermine it and establish total control... It is not possible to automatically apply models created over centuries in the homogeneous societies of Europe and the United States to ethnically diverse and religiously divided societies in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. In multiethnic societies, majority rule implies permanent subjugation of the minority unless it is part of a strong federal structure and a system of checks and balances."

"No single nation is strong enough or wise enough to involve itself in every political evolution around the world simultaneously. Priorities based on the national interest are imperative. Otherwise, psychological exhaustion and physical overextension are a real possibility, along with a global coalition of the resentful and nationalistic resisting perceived American hegemony.

President Bush has put forward a dramatic vision. The national debate now needs to focus on the concrete circumstances to which it must be applied. The nongovernmental groups should participate in this process."


Kissinger's analysis of elections is apt. Israel is democratic but often votes for extremeists rather than moderates - same with the Palestinians - even the USA?

5 Comments:

At 17/5/05 8:09 pm, Blogger Genius said...

Most people are not all that bright, politically aware or all that nice.
While the average of oppinions produces good decisions on some topics - on other topics it produces very stupid oppinions.
For example I remember a survey where the majority of palistinians supported the use of chemical/biological weapons on israelis.
that really comes under all three catagories mentioned above. A perfect democracy in palestine would thus have been a very ugly thing indeed.

 
At 17/5/05 11:47 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

Well it's pretty ugly under the Israelis! Their democracy has given them nuclear weapons, land occupations, invasions etc. Palestine is supposed to be a template for the Middle East?

The problem, and I think John Stuart Mill made point of it, is that with a large educated, secular middle class it will be stable but giving the vote to fundies of all stripes who are illiterate and swayed by the call from the mineret/pulpit democracy becomes a tool for the fanatics. I think that was Kissinger's thinking vis a vis Hamas.

India tested nukes again because the Hindu nationalist party was elected, and of course the Nazis are not exactly the greatest advert for democracy either.

I favour a very devolved form of state democracy, similar (as I research more) to the American system where accountability and election of community office-holders and officials is at local level, where even the President to be must take a state by state approach. Roman republic style. Theirs is not proportional representation though - which is where our system is superior.

 
At 18/5/05 8:42 am, Blogger stephen said...

You mean a German monotone, don't you? The man doesn't speak Jewish.

 
At 18/5/05 12:12 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

SJ: Yes, I was wondering beforehand if he was Hungarian but that might have been Madeline Albright. I thought he was Jewish and fled the Nazis..? But, yes, German.

 
At 18/5/05 3:18 pm, Blogger t selwyn said...

SJ: Have made adjustment. Born Bavaria, Jewish family fled to US in 1938. Kissinger on Google turns up both anti-semitic ravings by white supremecy conspirasists and accusations of being a self-loathing Jew by right wing Zionists.

 

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