Re Re Re Post-Bush Foreign Policy

by Clifford D. May

All true, Rich.

Although I might add that it’s Bush foreign policy–not post-Bush foreign policy–to settle for a Perez Musharraf so long as he’s basically with us, not with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, and so long as he voices approval for freedom and democratization–even if by baby steps.

The idea that Americans should support pro-freedom and pro-democracy dissidents in oppressed parts of the world should not imply that we expect all societies to immediately transform themselves into Switzerland. Nor should it imply that we expect all societies to evolve at the same speed. Different cultures and nations should be treated differentially. Progress is measured as much by where one began as by where one ends up today or tomorrow. But the direction should never be in doubt. Bush has said that “the defense of freedom requires the advance of freedom” and, over time, I think that’s right.

Maintaining the status quo is not a realistic policy–nor is it a worthwhile mission for a great nation.

We also need to avoid self-delusion. As Fouad Ajami said in his excellent WSJ op-ed yesterday, in the past “America had made a bargain with Arab autocracies and the bargain had failed. It was young men reared in schools and prisons in the very shadow of these Arab autocracies who came America’s way on 9/11. We had been told that it was either the autocracies or the furies of terror. We were awakened to the terrible recognition that the autocracies and the terror were twins, that the rulers in Arab lands were sly men who displaced the furies of their people onto foreign lands and peoples.”

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