Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sharansky Redux

I've written previously about Natan Sharansky and his influential book, The Case for Democracy. Newsweek weighs in with some additonal thoughts:

"Bush, in fact, has been pressing the book on aides and friends in recent weeks and urging them to read it. And it is clear that Bush's speech-as well as Sharansky's influence-could have huge consequences for America in the coming years."

One of Sharansky's most important observations in the book is: "[T]he price for "stability" inside a nondemocratic regime is terror outside of it." He continues: "Freedom's skeptics must understand that the democracy that hates you is less dangerous than the dictator who loves you." If we didn't learn these lessons from September 11th. what exactly did we learn?

All in all, its a pretty snarky article though. It basically regurgitates the "Neocons are Coming" meme, which I view pretty much as thinly vieled anti-Semitism. Its ending paragraph is particularly egregious:

"It is possible that America’s new embrace of Sharanskyism will also prove to be a recipe for eternal conflict. America will now be accused of hypocrisy every time it fails to live up to Bush’s promise “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture.” In China, Russia and Taiwan, in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Washington has shrunk from pursuing that policy too forthrightly, mainly because it needs friends. And Bush is unlikely to depart dramatically from this cautious course. That means, in turn, that his new statement of American policy is certain to come back to haunt him, just as Woodrow Wilson’s promise of self-determination haunted American foreign policy-makers after World War I. Especially when Natan Sharansky is out there, reminding him of his promise."

Memo to Newsweek: Maybe Bush means what he says. Haven't you been paying attention the last four years?