Wednesday, March 19, 2003

In Defense of Bush
As you will have realized by now, there is really only one issue on which I agree with the President and that is the use of force to disarm Iraq. To be perfectly honest, I despise his domestic policies and hope that foreign affairs will occupy the rest of his term so that he cannot muck up domestic policy too much. With that said, however, I do wish to express something I find compelling about our President.
More than any leader since perhaps JFK, GW Bush sees the world with moral clarity. His predecessors' foreign policies have been guided by realpolitik, which is really just a more polite word for Machiavellianism. Realpolitik focuses on very narrow national interests and is more than willing to make deals with the devil, if in the short term such deals have a benefit (for example- supporting Iraq in the 70's and 80's). It is a policy of myopia, absent are any long term analyses or moral imperatives. In very recent history we have had to disarm, or otherwise engage, at least two regimes we brought to power years ago. Realpolitik led the US to support brutal dictators like Augusto Pinochet and oligarchs such as the House of Saud.
I do not think our current President is as willing to compromise ideals for short term results. When he spoke about the Axis of Evil, he did so because he truly believed that those regimes are evil. Bush has shown a willingness, in the current situation, to act in the face of opposition from some quarters because he believes that disarming Iraq requires force. This administration views foreign policy through a prism of right and wrong, good and evil in a time when many world leaders are afraid to make such judgments. We live in an age of relativism, where people would rather explain away or make excuses for wrong-doing. To me, it is refreshing to have a leader who does not back down from confronting evil, someone who calls evil by its name and does not reduce it to some psycho-babble or academic experiment in excuse making.


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