The Liberal Case for Bush

by Nathan Hamm on 10/7/2004

I would have posted this only here, had it not scraped up against Eurasian politics.

To begin, I highly recommend reading Michael Totten’s Liberal Case for Bush. It brings up some excellent points about, well, just read it.

Anyway, one of the valuable things for me in reading articles like this is that it underlines for me that I am a neocon at heart but tempered by cautious realism. John Kerry’s foreign policy rhetoric clashes with my ideals but the missionary zeal of a handful of Bush administration officials fill me with worry.

So, it is not surprising that I agree with the sentiment but disagree with the policy that is suggested by Totten’s following complaints,

I don’t want to get carried away. Bush’s record is riddled with holes. He is way too chummy with Vladimir Putin as Russia slouches toward fascism. If he has any objections to Islam Karimov’s brutal police state in Uzbekistan he keeps them to himself — or at least off the record.

Many of you already know I’m skeptical about whether or not Russia is something that one needs to worry that much about.

As for the Karimov remark, I’d like to know what Michael expects. If he expects Bush to personally denounce brutality in Uzbekistan, well, he’s right, Bush hasn’t done so. At the same time, I don’t expect the President to recite a laundry list of complaints the US government has with excesses everywhere around the globe. That’s what the State Department is for. We did publicly decertify aid to Uzbekistan and, in diplomatese at least, say they’ve failed to meet expectations. It was good enough to even draw praise from Human Rights Watch.

A minor quibble really, and mostly a philosophical difference. Michael’s more a former man of the left than I could ever claim to be, and I would certainly expect him to be more troubled by the above points of policy than I am.

UPDATE: If you don’t want to read Totten’s article, well, this excerpt really did it for me,

And let us be against stability. For now anyway. The Middle Eastern political slum is a diabolical thing that has killed millions of people already. Some were killed in trenches, some in their homes. Some were killed in battle, others in mass graves, industrial shredders, and dungeons. Some were killed in secret, others on video. Some were killed in New York. Others were killed in Jerusalem and Buenos Aires, in Bali and Bombay. In Nairobi and Istanbul and Madrid, in Pennsylvania and Washington.

Kerry says he will respond to any attack on America. Of course he will. Any president would. But that is not enough. The tyrants of the Middle East will retrench even deeper into deadly old habits if the liberal pressure — applied by President Bush — is relieved from their necks.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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