May 13, 2004

Bush's Ideas Constraints

I've written extensively about George Bush and his administration's attempts to win the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Instapundit links to two articles which claim that Bush is blowing the war of ideas. I don't think it's quite right.

The unfortunate situation we find ourselves in is one that is largely of our own making. We've won the theoretical war of ideas long ago. Nobody has any great faith that autocracies or absolute monarchies will provide any great measure of justice or even a decent life. The path of freedom and democracy is the only way forward that most people, even in the middle east. But that has been the extent of our victory, theory. The Middle East has decades of evidence that the US does not mean what it says. They do not understand us at all but they know that we supported their autocrats, sometimes changing them around to suit our interests but very rarely did much to free them.

George W. Bush recognized this sad fact. I think that he is one of the few politicians on the US scene today that understands how much hard work that lies ahead of us to redeem our bruised and battered reputation as a champion of liberty. There is no Internet time for this work. It is a work that must be largely made up of deeds. We have to absorb their kicks, their scorn, their suspicion, and patiently go about the business of keeping the goons off their back as they try to make themselves free men living in a free country.

If we do not panic, do not break, if we stay the course and relieve the pressure that is being applied to pull Iraq back into dictatorship, free Iraqis will look back six or seven years from now and say what do you know, they really meant it. And that is the prize we aim for, to redeem the shame of supporting a Fahd, a Shah, a Hussein, even a Mubarak with their prisons and torture chambers and grudging acceptance of sham reforms (only sometimes, and often reversed). This is a shame that we have built up for ourselves for decades. It's not going to be redeemed in a year or even two. It will not be redeemed in George Bush's Presidency. We will have to match words and deeds into at least one other presidency for those who love freedom in the muslim world to start to regain faith in the deeds of the United States.

So all the words that are necessary have all been said. All that can be done on Internet time has already been done. What is at stake now is our constancy, our perseverance in doing the deeds to match our words. That is the only thing that separates us from a transformed Middle East and a dramatically safer US.

Posted by TMLutas at May 13, 2004 04:25 PM