By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Rare Political Comment

George W. Bush speaks at a campaign rally in 2004.Image via Wikipedia
Of late, I have avoided outright political commentary because Christian wisdom is not tied to any one political party or agenda, but rather is superior to any and all political points of view. But the events in the Middle East from Tunisia and Egypt to Iran and now Libya are too important to leave alone, especially for those of us morally committed to the spread of human rights and the intoleration of tyranny anywhere in the world.

Columnnist Charles Krauthammer, not surprisingly, has stated the obvious that many will recoil from ever admitting: the current Middle East uprisings confirm the often wrongly mocked intuition of former President George W. Bush that the thirst for freedom throbs even in the hearts of Middle Eastern peoples long accustomed to tyranny. This intuition has been mocked as unrealistic and unsophisticated by Democrats who claim that the U.S. cannot impose democracy overseas, although the Bush strategy was not to impose but rather to remove the obstacles to democracy so that democracy could have a chance to develop in the first place. The actual implementation of democracy would be left to Middle Easterners themselves, as we see in Iraq today.

Here is an excerpt from Krauthammer's Washington Post column, a point of view that I have been holding since the first revolt in Tunisia:

Now that revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush's freedom agenda, it's not just Iraq that has slid into the memory hole. Also forgotten is the once proudly proclaimed "realism" of Years One and Two of President Obama's foreign policy - the "smart power" antidote to Bush's alleged misty-eyed idealism.
It began on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's first Asia trip, when she publicly played down human rights concerns in China. The administration also cut aid for democracy promotion in Egypt by 50 percent. And cut civil society funds - money for precisely the organizations we now need to help Egyptian democracy - by 70 percent.
This new realism reached its apogee with Obama's reticence and tardiness in saying anything in support of the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran. On the contrary, Obama made clear that nuclear negotiations with the discredited and murderous regime (talks that a child could see would go nowhere) took precedence over the democratic revolutionaries in the street - to the point where demonstrators in Tehran chanted, "Obama, Obama, you are either with us or with them."
Now that revolution has spread from Tunisia to Oman, however, the administration is rushing to keep up with the new dispensation, repeating the fundamental tenet of the Bush Doctrine that Arabs are no exception to the universal thirst for dignity and freedom.

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Let us welcome the converts even if they cannot bring themselves to admit to their own obvious and well-documented conversion.