Two Views of President Bush

Don’t miss Mark Steyn and David Frum on President Bush, in the wake of his visit to England.
Steyn, noting that this month marks not only the fortieth anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination but also the same anniversary of the murder of South Vietnam’s president Diem, contrasts Bush’s commitment to democracy with the “realpolitik” practiced by Kennedy and other American leaders up to the present:
“That’s especially true given the realities of today’s world when ramshackle basket-case states can pick up terrible weapons on the cheap. All that stands between an Islamist nutcase and Pakistan’s nukes is General Musharraf and the handful of chaps he trusts. Ultimately, it’s not enough — as the general understands. It’s easier to organize a coup than to create the institutions of liberty, but the latter are the only real bulwark against the horrors of the age.
“It would be nice to think the so-called ‘progressives’ of the left might find this a worthy project. Instead, in London, they waved their silly placards showing Bush and Blair drenched in blood, even as the real blood of the British consul-general and others had been spilled in Turkey that day.
“It’s one thing to dislike Bush, it’s one thing to hate America. But it’s quite another to hate America so much you reflexively take the side of any genocidal psycho who comes along. In their terminal irrelevance, the depraved left has now adopted the old slogan of Cold War realpolitik: like Osama and Mullah Omar, Saddam may be a sonofabitch, but he’s their sonofabitch.”
Frum, in his last column for the Telegraph, writes sadly about the cool reception given President Bush by many Englishmen:
“Again and again I was asked about the odds that Bush might lose in 2004, to be replaced by some Democrat who would offer alternative policies: ‘alternative’ being a euphemism for ‘conciliatory’. A good many people, particularly in the media, are telling themselves that if only Bush could be got rid of, the US would release the Guantanamo detainees, withdraw from Iraq and create a Palestinian state.
“Think again. Bush may fail. But if he fails, it is unlikely that America today will then conclude: ‘How terrible that the people of the Middle East gravitate towards violence and authoritarianism. It must be our fault. Quick – let’s give them a Palestinian state so they will stop blowing up our office towers.’
“It is much more likely that Americans will conclude: ‘Something is seriously wrong with these people. And we’d better take steps to protect ourselves from them.’ You do not, after all, have to send your armies into the heart of the Middle East to fortify your society against Middle Eastern terror. You can also do it by barring Middle Eastern people from your territories and keeping careful watch over those who have already entered. You can do it by supporting regimes willing to crack down on terrorist organisations by any means necessary. You can do it by cutting back on your presence in the region, reducing investment and trade, striking from a distance whenever any state or group seems close to acquiring weapons of mass destruction – but otherwise consigning the people of the region to stagnate in their own rage.”

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