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Tilting at Windmills

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September 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ROOT CAUSES....Max Boot is confused:

For the last five years the standard critique of Bush administration foreign policy has run as follows: The president did a great job of rallying the nation after 9/11 and of toppling the Taliban. But then he blundered by invading Iraq and trying to spread democracy at gunpoint. He should have concentrated on working with other countries to track down terrorists.

The reality or so it seems to me is nearly the opposite. Bush has done a good job of capturing or killing "evil-doers," but he hasn't done enough to addresses the root causes of their actions.

Is this really the "standard critique" of Bush? Not that I've noticed. In the blogs and magazines I read, the standard critique is pretty much exactly the one Boot makes: that Bush has adopted a purely military approach to fighting terrorism instead of figuring out a real plan to eliminate jihadist support in the Arab world a broader project that's an absolute prerequisite for keeping their ranks from growing faster than we can kill them off.

In fact, I'd say the conventional wisdom these days may have tilted a bit dangerously in exactly the opposite direction from the one Boot observes: namely that we've done such a good a job of killing off al-Qaeda leaders that the organization is now virtually dead. Check out John Mueller's argument in Foreign Affairs, for example, or James Fallows' recent piece in the Atlantic. I appreciate these arguments, but I guess I'm not convinced that al-Qaeda is completely ready for the scrapheap of history yet.

More to the point, though, Boot makes the standard neocon argument: killing bad guys is great, but democracy promotion is Job 1. I've never really gotten this. I mean, I'm in favor of democracy as much as the next guy, but I'm also in favor of a free press, equal rights for women, fair trials, religious tolerance, a free market economy, universal education, and a dozen other liberal institutions that seem like keys to a decent society. Why the fetishism of democracy above all the rest? And why the continued support for a president who likes to talk about this stuff but rather plainly doesn't really believe it?

Another one of those mysteries of life, I suppose. Perhaps Boot can explain it in his next column.

POSTSCRIPT: Speaking of conventional wisdom, have you noticed that "root causes" have now become a routine talking point among conservatives? Remember when liberals were mocked as weak-kneed appeasers for even bringing up the subject? Good times.

Kevin Drum 12:14 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (67)

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Comments

HANG BUSH

Posted by: steve duncan on September 13, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK


kevin: Why the fetishism of democracy above all the rest?


cause everybody likes mom and apple pie...

i.e.d.'s?

not so much...

Posted by: rnc on September 13, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Boot is a clueless dweeb. When his pundit license is up for renew, it will not be re-issued. He has been right less than 5 % of the time, and the re-issue level is 10 %.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 13, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

postscript: Speaking of conventional wisdom, have you noticed that "root causes" have now become a routine talking point among conservatives?

i enjoyed roots....

i watched it in between flying with my national guard unit.

lunch time...

Posted by: g.w.b. on September 13, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Any talk about addressing the "root causes" of terrorism assumes that Bushco would actually want to end the endless way. Why would he?

And doesn't the endless war perpetually support his friends in the M/I Complex?

Win...Win...Win.....

Posted by: Paul the Cynic on September 13, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

All this talk about root cause and democracy is just a ploy to get the weaker and the stupider libs/dems on their side. Look no farther than Lieberman and Beinart and the like to see how well they have succeeded.

Posted by: gregor on September 13, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know; it seems to me that the standard critique is orthogonal to Boot's contrasting accounts. Bush did blunder by invading Iraq, but in addition he hasn't done a very good job capturing or killing "evil-doers" (consider the ratio of bystander to evil-doer among the people who've died since 9/11), and he's done nothing positive to address the root causes of their actions; he's made things worse. That doesn't break down very nicely into Boot's opposites.

Posted by: RSA on September 13, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

i enjoyed roots....

i watched it in between flying with my national guard unit.

lunch time...

Posted by: g.w.b.

Now that made me howl with laughter.

Posted by: shortstop on September 13, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah Right let's think about anything that Max Boot says!

Posted by: R.L. on September 13, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

More to the point, though, Boot makes the standard neocon argument: killing bad guys is great, but democracy promotion is Job 1. I mean, I'm in favor of democracy as much as the next guy, but I'm also in favor of a free press, equal rights for women, fair trials, religious tolerance, a free market economy, universal education, and a dozen other liberal institutions that seem like keys to a decent society. I've never really gotten this. Why the fetishism of democracy above all the rest?

Kevin, it's very simple but I will explain it anyway. Look at all of the democracies in world history. How many times have democracies had war with each other? Answer: zero. Both World Wars were caused by countries BEFORE they became democracies. By making a country a democracy we therefore promote world peace and stability.

Also, all of the other things you mentioned like free press and such. What countries in the world have those things the most? Answer: democracies like America. So by making a country a democracy we therefore promote the things you want also. So by making a country a democracy we are actually doing what you want to do also.

Posted by: Al on September 13, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

rsa: he hasn't done a very good job capturing or killing "evil-doers"


results are for democrats...

and thanks s.s.

come down to the ranch some time...

gotta go..

judge judy is on...

Posted by: g.w.b. on September 13, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

All together now: Al, Germany was a democracy before WWII. That it went off the rails is neither here nor there. What Kevin is saying that you can create a democracy all you want, but it without all the other trappings, it's just as likely to degenerate into facism as it is to remain a democracy.

Posted by: mecki on September 13, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

(consider the ratio of bystander to evil-doer among the people who've died since 9/11)

Haven't you notice that there are no more "innocent bystanders"? Everyone who dies is now a terrorist or an insurgent.

Posted by: Paul the Cynic on September 13, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Max Boot: "But then he blundered by invading Iraq and trying to spread democracy at gunpoint."

Bush's invasion of Iraq was not a "blunder" and it had nothing to do with either fighting "terrorism" or with spreading democracy.

Bush (actually Cheney & Rumsfeld) deliberately and cynically exploited post-9/11 fears of terrorism to justify their long-planned war of unprovoked aggression to gain control of Iraq's oil. This was not a misguided "blunder" in the "war on terrorism", it was a deliberate fraud on the American people.

And it had nothing whatever to do with "spreading democracy" in Iraq or anywhere else. The neocon plan was to install Ahmad Chalabi and his fellow Iraqi exiles from the Iraqi National Congress as the "new improved Saddam" -- a US-backed, compliant dictatorship that would hand over control of Iraq's oil to US-based multinational oil companies. And although the plan to install Chalabi as the new dictator of Iraq failed, the oil laws imposed on Iraq by Paul Bremer and the CPA do indeed hand over the vast bulk of profits from future exploitation of Iraq's oil to US oil companies.

Bush, Cheney et al are nothing but a gang of career corporate criminals and war profiteers, and phonies like Max Boot are their bought-and-paid-for lying shills whose job it is to bamboozle and spoon-feed talking points to the weak-minded gullible neo-brownshirt dupes, the Marching Morons who are the rank and file of the Republican Fascist Party.

It's interesting that Kevin's response to Max Boot does not even mention Iraq.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 13, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

I think people fetishize democracy over the other things because when you say "I think we should leave it to them to decide their own fate" (which is what democracy is all about ostensibly), you are saying something nice which actually doesn't say much at all about what their fate should be. So it's seemingly minimally controversial.

You might tire or despair of arguing with someone who didn't believe in the rights of the press. But you would just be confused about arguing with someone who didn't want to live in a democratic society.

Posted by: mk on September 13, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

If the US had 140,000 soldiers in Afghanistan for the last five years and spent $300 billion there instead of Iraq, would Afghanistan have many "evil-doers" left? And what about all the the thousands of dead civilians not to mention soldiers in Iraq that wouldn't dead without our invasion? Bush has just created another safe haven for terrorist in Iraq and a reason to become one. He's as bad or worse than the Taliban.

Posted by: Mario on September 13, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

How many times have democracies had war with each other? Answer: zero.

Unless you count Israel and Lebanon. And when will Iraq count as a democracy? After all, they've had elections.

Posted by: RSA on September 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Why the fetishism of democracy above all the rest? And why the continued support for a president who likes to talk about this stuff but rather plainly doesn't really believe it?

You ask the key question Kevin and the answer is uglier and more dispiriting than usual. This administration makes a fetish out of "democracy promotion" for purely domestic political reasons. They do it so that if anyone opposes any bit of their policies instead of debating the criticism they can simply say my critic stands against democracy We've seen this WSJ editorials, the talking heads on Meet the Press and the posters in your comment thread.

It is all about making the GOPs political ennemies look bad. Period.

Posted by: Nemesis on September 13, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Look at all of the democracies in world history. How many times have democracies had war with each other? Answer: zero.
Posted by: Al on September 13, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Um.

Iran is a Democracy.

Iraq was a Democracy, and is now, in it's civil war.
(Yes it was, under Saddam, the people had a vote - just because it was rigged doesn't make it any different than US democracy).

Lebannon is a Democracy.

Israel is a Democracy.

Folks even had a vote in Soviet Russia.

By the way, neither Saudi Arabia, nor Pakistan, are Democracies.

So, now that you realize you're dead wrong, can you stop tossing this word around like a frisbee?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on September 13, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

The president did a great job of rallying the nation after 9/11

I'm not even willing to accept this near-truism without qualification. I think it's more accurate to say the nation rallied around Bush and projected their wishes for bold leadership onto him. On 9/12/01, if you'd asked me if I supported the president, I would have said yes without hesitation. That didn't mean I'd vote for him, and it didn't mean I thought he'd be up to the task at hand (in fact I didn't think so, and he's proven me right) - but of course I supported him because he was in charge and he had to be the one to respond to the attacks.

Posted by: Alek Hidell on September 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The root cause is religion. Read / watch these:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=J3YOIImOoYM

http://www.downtheavenue.com/2005/10/the_end_of_fait.html

I know it is not "liberal" to recognize this.

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 13, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Al, what do democracies have to do with anything, sweety? I thought the big scary swarthy terrorists were IslamoFascists, not soldiers of some country.

Silly boy. Back to nap for you!

Posted by: Al's Mommy on September 13, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of points: First, Bush's decision to invade Iraq, for whatever reason, clearly can now be added to the list of the root causes of terrorism. Secondly, I think Kevin reflects too precisely the Republican understanding of democracy, that free/fair elections=democracy. In fact, real democracy requires some of the things Kevin says he's in favor of--free press, fair trials, universal education, etc. Democracy cannot exist if the holders of minority views and the right of free discourse are not protected. Recent Republican rhetorical assaults make it pretty clear they don't understand this.

Posted by: kishin on September 13, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Why fetishize democracy? Simple. Elections are so easy to steal.

Holding elections means you can look like you believe in responsive government and all that good stuff. Stealing elections means you get what you want. Eat your cake and have it too, and all that.

Posted by: Altoid on September 13, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Jeebus. Elections =/= democracy!!!!!!!!

What is wrong with people???? Why can't people understand a simple concept?????

ARGH!

Posted by: Al on September 13, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you forgot about the Falkland Islands war fought between two democracies, Great Britain and Argentina. Yeah, it was a short war with few casualties, but it was a conflict between democracies so that blows your theory to crap.

Posted by: Johnny Tremaine on September 13, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

You don't have a democracy just because you hold an election. A democracy means a self-sustaining political entity, and that means: (i) rule of law- courts and officials that aren't corrupt; (ii) a free press; (iii) a civil society with institutions that include everyone, (iv) some degree of loyalty to nation over ethnicity or religion, so voters actually vote for candidates and not just their own group; (v) a degree of consensus about the goals of government so that if one party wins, the other side doesn't take up arms, (vi) the concept of a loyal opposition, so that leaders of the parties out of power can oppose the government without being arrested for treason.

Holding elections to determine who the next dictator will be is not a rarity in history. Just because you had an election, that doesn't mean you have a democracy.

Posted by: JR on September 13, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Johnny - At the time of the Falklands War, Argentina was a military dictatorship. Try again.

Posted by: JR on September 13, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Paraphrasing Al:

Look at all of the countries led by ambidextrous albinos in world history. How many times have countries led by ambidextrous albinos had war with each other? Answer: zero. Both World Wars were caused by countries NOT LED by ambidextrous albinos. By placing abidextrous albinos in charge of every country in the world, we therefore promote world peace and stability.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 13, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

JR,

I'd go further and say that the reason governments exist is to provide security for the population, to avoid the Hobbsian state of nature. In the absence of that security there is no government, and if there is no government you do not have a democracy. In spite of a group of people calling themselves minister this and secreatry that, who do so because of purple fingers and ballots cast, Iraq has no government.

Posted by: MSR on September 13, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush were really in favor of democracy he would want to leave the duly-elected government of Lebanon alone.

He's only really in favor of "democracy" that he imposes. Heh.

Posted by: Scorpio on September 13, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the question isn't one of whether or not democracies are good or bad (I'd vote for good-but-frequently-flawed), or even whether the U.S. should be working to sow democratic seeds around the world. Instead, the analysis ought to be focused on the question of whether or not it's actually possible to impose a democracy on a country that's palpapbly unready for one. Germany and Japan were clearly ready after WWII. Iraq, apparently, won't be ready until well after Jenna's second term.

Posted by: Ex-Pat on September 13, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I would give my right arm to be ambidextrous.

Posted by: Hostile on September 13, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Eat your cake and have it too

Make Bush eat yellow cake.

Posted by: Hostile on September 13, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

And why the continued support for a president who likes to talk about this stuff but rather plainly doesn't really believe it?

I dunno. Why the continued support for a Democratic Party that plainly doesn't believe it?

Posted by: Shelby on September 13, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the term "root causes" means different things. For the far left, "root causes" was shorthand for "it's the fault of the West --particularly the US and Israel." Looking to "root causes" meant WE are wrong. WE have to change. It's a "blame the victim" phrase.

For Bush, "root causes" means the totalitarian culture. Fixing "root causes" means helping the Islamic states to become democracies. He has nurtured some democracy in the barren soil of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian territory.

Time will tell whether Bush's "root causes" approach will work, but it shouldn't be equated with the self-critical meaning assigned to the term by the far left.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 13, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Giving up on universal health care, Kevin? That's too important to leave off any list. Also how about a living wage? The free market should NEVER be higher than these things on any Liberal's list. I guess they were Freudian omissions.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on September 13, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Okay JR, how about these two examples: the war in the 1990's in the Balkans. Milosevich was an evil SOB but I recall him being elected to power.
Second one: this one counts as an almost---the constant near-wars between Greece and Turkey, two westernized democracies.

Posted by: Johnny Tremaine on September 13, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

The person who posts as "ex-liberal" is a liar. He has never been a "liberal". He is nothing but a slavish, robotic regurgitator of scripted Republican Fascist talking points, as exemplified by his post at 1:46PM in which he mindlessly types up the current RNC script.

It's interesting that the neo-brownshirt mental slaves of the Republican Fascist Party have apparently all now been instructed to pretend that they are former Democrats or "liberals". I guess the people who tell them what to think and say realize that that's their only remote hope of being taken seriously.

But it doesn't work; it only makes their slavish regurgitation of scripted talking points more laughable.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 13, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Johnny Tremaine wrote: "Al, you forgot about the Falkland Islands war fought between two democracies, Great Britain and Argentina. Yeah, it was a short war with few casualties, but it was a conflict between democracies so that blows your theory to crap."

It was pointed out above that Argentina was a military dictatorship when they took the Falklands. The military's rule was being weakened by economic problems, and their brilliant plan to pump up support for themselves was to invade someone! They got their asses kicked so bad that the government basically threw in the towel and allowed democracy back in.

Also, when India and Pakistan went to war 1n 1965, Pakistan had a democratically elected government. Pakistan is a good example of bad democracy--where a country easily slips back and forth between authoritarian and democratic governments whenever there is a crisis. Nigeria and historically several South American countries have this quality.

This is why setting up a democracy is not by itself all that meaningful. Without other institutions that go along with successful democracy (rule of law, independent judiciary, civil rights, markets and transparency, property rights, etc.--the things Kevin listed), having a democratic government is not terribly meaningful. I don't suggest that Iraq will become a sham democracy like the Soviet Union or Iran (where real power doesn;t lie with the elected officials), but without this other stuff, it could easily become a bad democracy on the Pakistan/Nigeria model.

Posted by: RWB on September 13, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Max Boot: Bush has done a good job of capturing or killing "evil-doers," but he hasn't done enough to addresses the root causes of their actions.

And what are the "root causes" of "their actions"?

Surprise, surprise. They are not what George W. Bush (and Max Boot) tell you they are.

Nationalism, Not Islam, Motivates Most Suicide Terrorists
by Gary Olson
September 5, 2006
The Morning Call (Allentown, Pennsylvania)

Excerpt:

In his recent book, DYING TO WIN: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape has provided an indispensable public service by collecting data from all 315 suicide terrorist campaigns from 1980 to 2003, involving 462 individuals.

His overall finding: The major objective of 95 percent of suicide attacks is to expel foreign military forces from territory that the terrorists perceive as their homeland. There is little connection with Islamic fundamentalism or any of the world religions.

The taproot of suicide terrorism is nationalism and it's "mainly a response to foreign occupation." The objective is political self-determination [...]

Pape, who has also taught at the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Airpower Studies, convincingly demonstrates that "suicide terrorist groups are neither primarily criminal groups dedicated to enriching their top leaders, nor religious cults isolated from the rest of their society. Rather, suicide terrorist organizations often command broad social support within the national communities from which they recruit, because they are seen as pursuing legitimate nationalist goals." Absent these goals, suicide terrorism rarely occurs.

Bush's scripted, focus-group-tested rhetoric about "Islamic fascists" and a "war for civilization" is a load of crap, a desperate effort to get the Republican Fascist Marching Moron base out to the polls in November to fend off the overwhelming defeat and repudiation of the Republican Fascist Party by Americans of all political persuasions who are sick and tired of being lied to by a gang of crooks.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 13, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Max Boot is confused

That's a, um, generous description.

Much more generous than a dishonest neocon hack like Boot deserves.

Posted by: Gregory on September 13, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

The person who posts as "ex-liberal" is a liar.

As demonstrated over and over and over. One wonders why he/she/it imagines he/she/it has any credibility at all, and why he/she/it bothers wasting time posting his/her/its bullshit GOP talking points here.

Posted by: Gregory on September 13, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

AL how about Isreal and Lebanon, how about Isreal and Palistine

Posted by: Mann Coulter on September 13, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Kevin, the term "root causes" means different things. For the far left, "root causes" was shorthand for "it's the fault of the West --particularly the US and Israel." Looking to "root causes" meant WE are wrong. WE have to change. It's a "blame the victim" phrase. For Bush, "root causes" means the totalitarian culture. Fixing "root causes" means helping the Islamic states to become democracies. He has nurtured some democracy in the barren soil of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian territory.

From "Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll:

And only one for birthday presents, you know. There's glory for you!'

`I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master -- that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They've a temper, some of them -- particularly verbs: they're the proudest -- adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs -- however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

`Would you tell me please,' said Alice, `what that means?'

`Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. `I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

`That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

`When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, `I always pay it extra.'

`Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

Posted by: English Major on September 13, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Well paid.

Posted by: Will on September 13, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think the standard critique of Bush's foreign (and domestic) policy is that it is incompetent. He is trapped by the certainty of his ideology, and as the evidence rolls in that suggests his world view is false, he digs in and lashes out, and the result is more incompetence.

Posted by: Del Capslock on September 13, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Max Boot is confused:

Because he believes in an ideology and his ideology doesn't work.

He's confused because he's stupid, or an idiot, and doesn't know that he's stupid or an idiot. By the way, arrogance is a mark of stupidity or idiocy, and the 'root cause' of confusion.

That's the anatomy of confusion all right.

Max Boot is confused? You might as well say that he's arrogant and stupid or an idiot.

Posted by: Bubbles on September 13, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

To paraphrase the idiot above: the phrase root cause has a different meaning depending upon whether a liberal uses it or a neocon.

He is right in ways he does not know.

When GWB and the neocons talk about bringing democracy in the middle east, the word democracy does not mean what everyone else thinks it means.

Posted by: gregor on September 13, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

He has nurtured some democracy in the barren soil of Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Palestinian territory.

Which is why Palestine is now ruled by the democratically-elected terrorist group Hamas. Well done!

Posted by: Arminius on September 13, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Even if it were true that no two democracies
have ever fought a war with each other, it would mean little or nothing:

-Nobody had ever deliberately flown a plane into a building - until 2001.

-No Communist government had ever fallen - until 1989.

-No one had been elected President without first winning the New Hampshire primary - until 1992.

-No divorced man had been elected President - until 1980.

You can go on and on. Historical precedents are not a guarantee of the future. Precedents are made to be broken.

I suspect the main reason not many democarcies have fought wars with each other is simply that there haven't been that many democracies for that long of a period of time, in the context of world history.

Posted by: Virginia Dutch on September 13, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Time will tell whether Bush's "root causes" approach will work


i know it works...

when i cut the roots while clearing brush at the ranch...

i always achieve complete victory...

this blogesphering is fun...

Posted by: g.w.b. on September 13, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Time will tell whether Bush's "root causes" approach will work


i know it works...

when i cut the roots while clearing brush at the ranch...

i always achieve complete victory...

this blogesphering is fun...

Posted by: g.w.b. on September 13, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

"I mean, I'm in favor of democracy as much as the next guy, but I'm also in favor of a free press, equal rights for women, fair trials, religious tolerance, a free market economy, universal education, and a dozen other liberal institutions that seem like keys to a decent society."

That's right, and as we are finding out in Iraq so much as the prospect of liberal democracy in countries that aren't really countries is not an invitation to liberalism and human rights but sectarianism and anarchy.

I believe democracy (generously defined) as well as something like liberalism is possible in the Arab-Muslim world, even better than its absence, but not pluralistic democracies. If the Sunnis, Kurds, and Shiites of Iraq each get their own nation-states I think we'll eventually see some kind of internal consensus in each about the need for more liberal societies, but they'll never be compelled by the proverbial other to accept a more progressive order.

Posted by: Linus on September 13, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, it's very simple but I will explain it anyway. Look at all of the democracies in world history. How many times have democracies had war with each other? Answer: zero. Both World Wars were caused by countries BEFORE they became democracies. By making a country a democracy we therefore promote world peace and stability.

Yet again, a demonstration that Al is a fucking moron. And as stupid as shit.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 13, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Boot writes:

"The president did a great job . . . of toppling the Taliban."

????

Sounds like he's saying "Heck of a job, GeeDubya."

Anyone notice the resurgence of the Taliban and the escalation of fighting in Afghanistan?

The son of a friend of mine has been in several firefights against the Taliban in the last couple of weeks in Afghanistan.

Not to mention that the Taliban and/or those sympathetic comprise about 20% of Pakistan's government. No wonder we've lost Osama's trail for the last couple of years.

Feeling safer yet?

Good thing the grown-ups are in charge.

Posted by: GK on September 13, 2006 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

First you must have Hobbes (i.e. order). Then you can have the things Locke speaks about (civil rights). Without order, your rights are always at the mercy of the next man with a gun.

Posted by: agorabum on September 13, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

In Bushian Newspeak, 'root causes' is appropriated and redefined. Note that the 'root causes' in the flattening of Lebanon were the presence of armed militia, not the Israeli occupation.

Also, Max Boot is full of shit.

Posted by: ahem on September 13, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

ahem wrote: In Bushian Newspeak, 'root causes' is appropriated and redefined. Note that the 'root causes' in the flattening of Lebanon were the presence of armed militia, not the Israeli occupation.

ahem, I hate to burst your bubble, but the Israeli occupation in Lebanon was provoked by violence against Israel. Anyhow, Israel withdrew from Lebanon SIX F***ING YEARS AGO.

The Jews have been blamed for thousands of years -- during the Spanish Inquisition, by the Tsars, by the Nazis, by the Communists, by Islamic dictators. ahem, you're following in a long, proud tradition.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 14, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

How many times have democracies had war with each other? Answer: zero.

That one certainly went out the window when the democratically elected governments of NATO began bombing the democratically elected government of Serbia. Though one could argue it went out the window when the democratically elected government of Serbia attacked the democratically elected governments of Croatia and then Bosnia. Or when the democratically elected government of Israel seized the territory and imprisoned the democratically elected leader of the Palestinian Authority.

But it's a nice little fantasy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on September 14, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

boot writes: "The president did a great job . . . of toppling the Taliban."

actually....the president actually said...

"And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence." - GWB Sept-2004


what's the definition of existence?

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 14, 2006 at 6:03 AM | PERMALINK

When did Republicans start embracing "root causes"? Didn't they used to drag liberals over the coals for talking about that stuff?

Posted by: zak822 on September 14, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

The thing is, "free press, equal rights for women, fair trials, religious tolerance, a free market economy, universal education, and a dozen other liberal institutions that seem like keys to a decent society," are all what make democracy possible. Voting is only the outer edge of a society that is by the people and for the people; without all those institutions, voting is purple marks on fingers and nothing more. That's what the Bush administration doesn't get - or gets all too well and cynically exploits. Just because people are voting and it looks all democratic, doesn't mean that democracy is taking root. Fareed Zakaria's The Future of Freedom explains it all much better than I can, but the Bush admin is going for the LOOK of democracy, not actual democracy. If they paid attention to the institutions you mention there, they might have a harder time explaining their assaults on them here - and lord knows, they don't want THAT.

Posted by: wally on September 14, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: football predictionsmav on September 15, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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