Monday, January 31, 2011

Hitting the Nail on its Head

If you ask me, Leon Wieseltier is exactly right:
“In accordance with his warm new priorities, democracy was the fourth of Obama’s five themes [in] his speech in Cairo in 2009, the one called “A New Beginning.” When he finally got around to it, he introduced it this way: ‘I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.’ Or: the United States will no longer bother you about how you are living. . . .

“It was a terrible mistake for Obama to make democratization seem like an 'imposition,' with its imperialist implications, and to conflate it with military invasion. The promotion of democracy is a policy of support for indigenous Egyptian, or Arab, or Muslim democrats who are just as authentic as indigenous Egyptian, or Arab, or Muslim autocrats and theocrats, and certainly more deserving of American respect. . . . The bizarre irony of Obama’s global multiculturalism is that it has had the effect of aligning America with regimes and against peoples. This was the case with our response to the Iranian rebellion in 2009, and it was the case with our response to the Egyptian opposition until a few hours ago. The striking thing about Barack Obama’s ‘extended hand’ is how utterly irrelevant it is to the epochal events in Egypt, and Tunisia, and Iran, and elsewhere.”

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