Across the Bay

Friday, July 09, 2004

Kerry On

The Daily Star has this commentary by Thomas Melia and Jennifer Windsor on the US promotion of democracy in the ME.

They criticized John Kerry's regressive position on the issue:

"we were disappointed when Senator John Kerry recently said that democracy and human rights would not top the list of "priority concerns" his administration would highlight in dealing with critical countries such as China, Russia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Kerry said, instead, that traditional national security concerns - containment of nuclear weapons, the fight against terrorism, and so on - had to be addressed more urgently.
For Kerry to shy away from the cause of freedom in order to distinguish himself from the Bush team's overstatements about how easily democracy could come to Iraq would be a terrible retrogression. To suggest that democracy promotion is inconsistent with bolstering American security is just plain wrong. This is not a choice that Americans are being called on to make.

This squares nicely with my point on the Arab schizophrenic relationship with Bush and the "neocons" (that all-inclusive term!). I've touched on it with the Rami Khouri piece and the Rashid Khalidi talk at UCLA (and earlier with Shibley Telhami's piece). They want the people who maintain the status quo back in power and they think that they will somehow support their "cause"! It's mind boggling. They accuse Bush of being insincere about the ME democracy project, but here's Kerry explicitly stating that his concern boils down to containment, i.e. the old policy of stagnation, or in other words, exactly what the autocrats want!

Now that should make those Arab "intellectuals" happy! Hey at least it's multilateral and it involves -- oh joy! -- the EU and the UN!! Can you feel the excitement!?

The piece tried ending on a hopeful note:

"Kerry's recent remarks may not reflect the entirety of his thinking on this complex issue. We hope it is his intention, if elected, to enhance rather than diminish the promotion of democracy and human rights abroad. Too many democrats around the world, in prison or on the run, are counting on America to continue to do the right thing."

Yes, but Arab "democrats" have to come to terms with what exactly they're asking for first, and stop being all over the place. They should also quit repeating bankrupt clich├ęs and adopting useless dogmatic positions that amount to cutting their nose to spite their face.