May 18, 2005

A Reality-Based Democrat?

Kudos indeed.

P.S. Enquiring minds wanna know: do some of his big fans (and ilk) agree too? Kidding aside, I agree with Pej when he writes: "We can have our disagreements--and we no doubt will--but there are disagreements that can and should be bridged, after all." Indeed.

Posted by Gregory at May 18, 2005 11:16 PM | TrackBack (6)

"The Sunnis and the Shiites, the Kurds and all the various tribes can work out accommodations that will allow them to build a stable society, I think that will be good for Iraq and good for the Middle East."

I agree that if the Sunnis and the Shiites, the Kurds and all the various tribes work out their differences, that will be great news for Iraq and the region. Did you expect me to disagree with this?

Posted by: praktike at May 19, 2005 01:03 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Posted by: greg at May 19, 2005 01:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Should the various factions in Iraq resolve their differences (and thats still a fairly large if at this stage), then not only is it good for the region, but it more importanly could form the basis for a model of ethnic integration that's sorely lacking in the world at present.

Aside from the wider Judaeo-Christian - Muslim divide at present, the majority of localised conflicts of the past 15 years or so have been predominantly around ethnic rivalries and hatreds. Despite regular flares ups every 3-5 years at different locations around the Globe, its hard to perceive that there has actually been any real progress towards a framework through which such tensions can be resolved.

In this area the UN has been particularly weak, acting as the often very belated ambulance at the bottom of the cliff (if it arrives at all). Seldom does the UN seem interested when it does act in doing little more than Peace Keeping and Humanitarian work, which is of course no bloody good to anyone in the long run if we never solve the problem.

Currently the only real option seems to be to create independent or quasi independent principalities to address this. If a viable solution could be developed to resolve this, then perhaps places like Sri Lanka and Kashmir, could be resolved.

This is perhaps another area where perhaps the US and UK and co. could show some real thought leadership. If done inside the UN framework, it would have the added benefit of course in helping to create a strong, viable and most importantly a useful UN.

Posted by: Aran Brown at May 19, 2005 02:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Geez, Bill does seem desperate to get back into the White House, even if it is as the "first husband." :)

The critics of the Bush regime aren't "living in the past", however. If Clinton was president, its entirely possible that his vision of progress in the Middle East could be achieved (and considerable progress was being made under Clinton.) Clinton, like all democrats, believe that democracy would bring enormous long-term benefits to the Middle East, and have worked toward that end.

The problem is that the Bush regime is incapable of bringing progress to the Middle East because it sees "democratization" in terms of its benefits to the United States --- and designs its policies and goals with the sole focus on providing US a tactical/strategic advantage in that region.

One need only look at the "post major conflict" period to see how unserious the Bush regime is about democracy --- rather than trying to build bridges to the international community after the fall of Baghdad, the US instituted a "spoils of war" system in which those nations who opposed the invasion were shut out.

The Bush regime resisted holding elections in Iraq until its hand was forced by al Sistani and the Shiites. It set up an "interim constitution" that has made Iraq ungovernable --- the Iraqi "government" is now simply an institutionalized spoils system in which the opportunity for graft and corruption is divided among competing interest groups.

"Living in the present" with concern to Iraq means recognizing that there has been no change in the Bush's regime's ultimate goals in Iraq --- the architects of the old policy remain in the Bush administration, often in even more powerful and prominent positions, while those who took a far more "Clintonian" approach to Iraq have been shunted aside. The past is the present as far as US policy is concerned, and unless and until there is "regime change" in the United States, the prospects for genuine progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East remains dim.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 19, 2005 12:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


If I wanted to read talking points from the Daily KOS, I'd go there directly rather than come to BD's comment section.

Posted by: Matthew Cromer at May 19, 2005 02:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If I wanted to read talking points from the Daily KOS, I'd go there directly rather than come to BD's comment section.

and if I wanted to read stuff from people like you, I'd visit Free Republic more often.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 19, 2005 05:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My position here is neither the scare-quoting negativity of pl nor the beamy obliviousness of the Bushites. I just happened to see a copy of Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, and I note that Bush spent several paragraphs warning of the massive dangers posed by Iraqi WMD's, the real threat to the US, the irresponsibility of letting a tyrant continue to have access to such deadly weapons -

And one sentence mentioning the hope for democracy in the Arab world. This was six weeks before the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: Joel at May 19, 2005 08:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You can throw me in with Praktike. But then again you know that I've always been working toward offering my two cents on what could be useful to helping Iraq hold together and transform into a peaceful, stable society (for whatever it has been worth, and for whoever has been listening). That has always been my most desired outcome, and where my energy has been placed - despite the fact that I disagreed with the wisdom of the invasion in the first place.

If the changes Clinton alluded to happen, it would be positive for the region no doubt (at the very least, a big time positive for Iraqis). The alternative, however, could be very bad for the region, at least in the short term, and potentially catastrophic for Iraqis.

Posted by: Eric Martin at May 19, 2005 09:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I disagree with those on both the left and the right that this is pure cynicism on Bill's part. The Clintons have been consistently apart from the left on a range of issues in the region, from Bills continued support for sanctions on Iraq during his admin, his attack on Iraq when the inspectors were kicked out, his statements asserting that the Camp David and Taaba negotiations failed due to Yasser Arafat, NOT Ehud Barak (thus implicitly negating the entire left narrative about the second intifida, and thus negating the view that muslim anti-Americanism (and Euro antiZionism) are justified by US support of Israel) to Hilarys vote in favor of operation Iraqi Freedom, and her continuing to focus her criticism of the administration on planning and competence issues in Iraq, NOT on the justification for war. AFAICT the Clintons have been consistent (as a certain Senator from Massachusetts was NOT) Similarly Hilary has been consistent in her moderation on domestic policy (the right simply cant accept that Hillarycare was not particularly radical within the Democratic party, even if Hilllary was not particularly deft in reaching out to more moderate Democrats- whose policies would still have been opposed by the GOP)

Hillary, if the obsession with certain personal scandals can be confined to the far right and prove not to be important to the broad center, has a real potential to restore a sane politics to this country, and to give the Democrats a chance to lead in the WOT.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 19, 2005 09:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

i dont think theres an "if" in Bills statement - unless hes being misquoted, hes saying those things ARE happening.

Posted by: liberalhawk at May 19, 2005 09:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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