Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Liberal Internationalism and the Wayback Machine

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Before we go on our journey on the Wayback machine, please donate to these organizations that are helping Burma today:

Doctors without Frontiers and the International Red Cross.

First read Professor Douglas' two posts on Liberal Internationalism and Burma.

Burma, a military dictatorship since 1962, suffered death and destruction from Cyclone Nargis. After the Cyclone, there were a lot of words by Liberals about how bad this Dictatorship is and how something must be done (as in Darfur).

Wonderful -- Wilsonianism lives within the hearts of Democrats! Or does it?

Let's hop on our wayback machine to 2004, did Democrats believe in spreading Democracy in the Middle East? According to Senator Kerry, the answer was No.

What happens to Democrats and Wilsonianism under a Democratic President? To answer this question, we take our Wayback machine to 1998. Democrats, under a Democratic President, support the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.

And now, our wayback machine takes us back to 1990. The New York Times seemed to agree that the US Military should be used for Wilsonian purposes. Also, that same year, I was a Liberal Democrat. I took part in protesting Gulf War I.

Why? Because America had a job to spread democracy around the world. When the Democrats protested in 2003 about the War in Iraq, my head spun. Isn't ridding the world of dictators a good thing? As we ride our wayback machine to 2008, it seems that Democrats are more comfortable dealing with dictators then "Liberating" people under the boot.

Here is the crux, to negotiate with a dictatorship in power means the Dictatorship decides if it will free it's people. Moses asked "Let my People go," 10 times. Until the Hand of G-d smites Pharaoh's own first born, the Jews were slaves in Egypt. And Moses did not act alone, he had outside help. For now it seems, the Democrats are very comfortable letting Dictators remain Caesers to their people. Let the Dictator decide who should be free. When has any ruler given up power unconditionally?

If the US is to remain the beacon of Democracy, spread the franchise.

For me to become a believer in Democrats spreading democracy, if asked by a future Democratic Administration support Liberal Internationalism (what the protests against President George HW Bush were about); I will Google the name of the person asking and then put "Iraq Democracy," If no positive words show, then no, I will not help.

My question is: If spreading democracy is such a bad idea in 2003, why no protests during the bombing of Kosovo in 1995? Or the bombing of Iraq in 1999? If spreading Democracy is a good idea, why does it matter what the party of the President taking the idea forward is?

Thank you for riding the Wayback machine.

socialize it


  1. JSF, I think the issue here is that we don't trust Bush to truly push democracy. He has a track record of being incredibly untrustworthy, and his version of democracy involves puppet dictators, military coups, and torture. I also tend to think that democracy needs to come from within. If the people of a given country want democracy and are willing to fight for it, then we should help. If they just want to have a civil war to install a new and improved oppressive regime, then we have no business. There was no massive democratic movement in Iraq and we went in under false pretenses and now we're stuck fighting their civil war between various factions of Muslim wackos and our installed puppet government and it's a human rights nightmare. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's a right way and a wrong way to spread democracy, and this current administration has proven to do it the wrong way. And when you've got an administration that balks at the democratic principles like accountability at home, they don't really have a whole lot of credibility on the issue.

  2. Jason,

    I can take you back to WWII when FDR signed "land Leases" to the UK and the fact that Japan attacked the US, not Italy or Germany -- we went into war on false pretenses, does history start with Election 2000?

    But the point I'm trying to make here is this: If spreading Democracy (Liberating the world, i.e. Liberals)is a core belief, why should there be opposition to it? If the President is not doing a good job at it, did anyone think about offering advice without insults?

    Because there were no protests during the Bosnian War, I tend to think that Anti-war groups don't mind war when conducted by a Democratic President, thus negating their whole purpose of existence.

    If spreading democracy was important in 1991, why was there no Democrat willing to be (dare I say it?) "Bi-partisan" and show us Republicans the way?

    Simple. The Democrats focused more on Electoral victory than Policy victory.

  3. JSF, you miss my point entirely. Don't play these ridiculous games with me. I offered you a perfectly reasonable explanation.

  4. Jason,

    I'm not playing games.

    Fact 1: There were no Anti-war rallies during the Kosovo Bombings.

    Fact 2: I protested in 1990 against President George HW Bush because he was not using the military to bring democracy to the Middle east. His son concedes the point (that Liberals and democrats are right, even I concede that point on Wilsonianism), and Democrats still protest.

    Understand this, Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) supported the Kosovars before the war broke out. President Clinton then did everything in his power to help. If there were differences of opinion, the public did not hear of them.

    Did it matter than a D helped the kosovars rather than an R? It didn't matter to Senator Dole.

    Democrats used to believe that Democracy is better then Dictatorship. They had 7 years to prove that point and make it work....instead, well it took me three posts to talk on modern Bi-partisanship. No Democrats took the role of Senator Dole. Why?

  5. JSF, you continue to miss my point. You asked why liberals do not support Bush's supposed "liberation" of the people of Iraq and I very plainly gave you several reasons. Enough with the partisan crapola already. None of it is relevant. History can be interpreted any which way to support whatever people want it to. But it boils down to this... It's not because this so called "liberation" is being done by a republican. I could think of at least 20 republicans who as president might have been able to get bipartisan support on this. It's because Bush is an untrustworthy and corrupt pile of shit.

    Also, using Kosovo as an example is ridiculous. That was a genuine humanitarian effort from the getgo while Iraq is not and never was. Remember, we went in there because they were going to attack us with those imaginary WMDs. Only once we were stuck there and Bush claimed that the mission was accomplished did your side start talking about liberation. What kind of retard actually buys that line of bullshit? I don't for one second think that you even believe it yourself. But as a partisan, you're stuck with an incredibly unpopular clusterfuck of a war so it's your job to spin and spin and spin some more and try to turn that lead balloon into gold bullion. And as a post-partisan, my bullshit detector is ringing off the charts.

    Though as usual, it's a really good try. I'm sure people less bright than either of us might buy it and pull the lever for McCain in November. Like that crazy Aurora chick for example.

  6. Jason,

    There were many other Democrats who I thought deserved to be the nominee other then Clinton. Guess what? Clinton was the President at the time.

    The Democrats have been attacking President Bush continuslly since Election 2000 Overtime. Except for one week in fall of 2001, there has been no let up.

    Jason, when you get lost on a road for 20 miles, do you say, "We're not going to our destination, let's leave and never return,?

    No, you figure out a way (sometimes with the help of the people in your car) a way not to be lost and a way to get to your destination.

    President Wilson said, America was not going to war, so did FDR. As I said, japan attacked us, not Germany or Italy. That arguement can't fly because what President since 1914 has not lied to America about war?

    The reason I cited Dole and Kosovo is because you couldn't find any more partisan then Dole. Kosovo was his issue -- he didn't complain in public that America was misled or that Clinton was wrong in his means of attack. That is Bi-partisanship.

    The Democrats have complained about Iraq, fine. But there has been no solution offered. So, America is lost 20 miles (in 2004), do we then just turn around and not go to our destination?

    But when President Bush took up the idea Democracy defeats terrorism, he took up the Democrats arguement. And what did he get in return? Ad Hominims.

  7. The problem is that the US is not a beacon of democracy and it never was such a beacon. The US is a master at being hypocrites. The US says we want to establish democracy, we want to value these things, but we don't. How can we promote democracy when we ourselves are a republic and not a democracy?

    There were no protest about Kosovo because the Kosovars are Europeans, and therefore closer to the American identity. The US didn't want to see a genocide in Europe again, never mind that genocide in Africa gets very little attention from the US. Why is a Kosovar worth more than a Sudanese, or Rwandan? It is part of the US policy to remind the world of what hypocrites we really are.

    It's embarrassing, we want to use terrorism and other things to force democracy and to spread democracy in this way isn't a good plan. Blowing people up and sending them back to the stone age will not make them want to be democratic.

    What we have here is a desire to live out the Democratic Peace theory, with an understanding that theories are nice on paper but not in reality. This is true of the Just War theory as well. It's great on paper but in reality it's not the best plan.

    I also think there were no protests of bombing Iraq in 1999 because the understanding was that it was due to ceasefire violations. In the 2003 campaign it was for a different purpose so again protest.

    Is it really democratic to force democracy on people? How can the US call itself a beacon of democracy when there are people in Guantanamo who have not been charged with anything? How can the US say they want moral leadership when they do nothing about ethnic cleansing in Africa? It's really ridiculous to me, this country is so far away from where it should be. The Patriot Act is bad law and will only lead to bad things.


  8. JSF, I'm not going to keep dancing in circles with you on this one. I offer you real answers and you offer rhetoric. You want to know why the liberals act the way they do and I'm telling you straight up.

  9. I am inclined to agree with Malcot the US has not been a beacon of democracy.

    Consider the Russo Japanese War of 1904-05, when Roosevelt mediated the peace agreement concluding the war. The result of the treaty were beneficial to the defeated Russian forces who had been anihilated at Port Arthur and left the victorious Japanese at a tactical and strategic disadvantage reinforcing the idea of a European-American hegemony and colonialism,


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