If the speech carried a title, it might have been called “Death of an Illusion.” Since World War II, American policy has assumed that progress in the Islamic world – if it comes at all – will be delivered, not by democratic reform, but by modernizing strongmen. For 50 years, American presidents have sought (and often believed they found) another Ataturk. Ataturkism led the United States to tilt toward Nasser in his early years in power – the Shah of Iran – and, yes, Saddam Hussein. (In the 1970s, that same Zbiegniew Brzezinski who criticizes Bush’s Middle East policy for its alleged naivety pushed hard as National Security Adviser for support for Saddam: “Iraq,” he was quoted at the time telling friends, “will be to my Middle East achievement what Egypt was to Henry’s.” Henry being of course Henry Kissinger.) The hunt for the modernizing strongman appears to have ended – terminated due to repeated failure. “The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another.”Bush foreign policy is getting more Wilsonian by the day.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
David Frum loved Bush's speech last night.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 12:47 PM