Sunday, January 23, 2005

Viktor vs Z-Man

The Sunday papers are filled with more opinion pieces on the Bush Inaugural address. Here are a few of the best paragraphs, both pro and con.

For Bush

“Indians Say 'Thumbs Up' To Second Bush Term, and no, that doesn't mean something rude in Indian culture.'' (Christian Science Monitor)

Bush asserts that "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one." But in his inaugural address he has taken a step beyond that. The goal of American foreign policy is now to spread democracy, for its own sake, for reasons that transcend specific threats. In short, Bush has unmoored his foreign policy from the war on terrorism. I believe Bush understands the implications of his universalist rhetoric. In Ukraine, Bush chose democracy over his relationship with Russia’s Putin -- a first example of a paradigm beyond the war on terrorism. (Robert Kagan)

Today one of Europe's largest nations will make the transition from corrupt police state to fledgling democracy. In a ceremony in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko is due to be inaugurated as president of Ukraine, just under a month after his decisive victory in a free and fair election -- and two months after a Russian-sponsored attempt to install a new authoritarian regime by fraud backfired. (Washington Post editorial)

Yushchenko addressed thousands of Ukrainians at Kiev's main Independence Square, the focal point for last year's protests. "Standing day and night in the frost ... the heart of Ukraine was beating in this square. Free people all over the world were supporting us." Shortly before taking the oath, Yushchenko held talks with the U.S. secretary of state. "I want to assure you that you will continue to enjoy the full support of the American government and the American people as you move forward to undertake the efforts that the Ukrainian people are expecting," Powell told Yushchenko. Yushchenko replied in kind: "This would not have happened if we didn't have partners that are advocating democratic principles and shared democratic values. And I certainly include in this list the United States of America and your personal contribution." (CNN)

"By our efforts, we have lit a fire," said George W. Bush at the West Front of the Capitol, "a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corner of the world." The phrase comes from Dostoyevsky's The Possessed, a novel about a provincial town inspired by new revolutionary ideas. Bush set out a breathtakingly ambitious goal: to bring democracy to the entire world. One would like to know the reaction of Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar, or the Iranian mullahs, or Vladimir Putin in Moscow, or China's rulers. Bush is not the first president to liken liberty to fire. George Washington in 1789 said, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered . . . . staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people." America's revolutionary presidents have changed the nation and the world before. Will this latest revolutionary president do so again? (Michael Barone)

An Oxford student who had just returned from research in Iran told me that young Iranians were “loving anything their government hates (freedom) and hating anything their government loves.” (despotism) Iran, he said, is the ultimate “red state.” They love Bush. (Thomas Friedman)

Against Bush

''The Eve of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan to Wreck the World.'' (Village Voice) Note that "Eve Of Destruction" is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.

It is puzzling that if you add X (no exit strategy) to Y (why are we there?) you get W squared: George Bush’s second inauguration. (Maureen Dowd, a lady who needs a date, bad!!)

Iraq's most feared terrorist declared a "fierce war" on democracy and repeated an earlier threat to disrupt historic national elections scheduled for a week from today. Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born militant whose al Qaeda-linked group has claimed responsibility for some of the most deadly insurgent attacks in postwar Iraq, called candidates running in the Jan. 30 elections "demi-idols" and the people who plan to vote for them "infidels." (Jackie Spinner and Bassam Sebti)

Z-Man’s been suckered. Z-Man is the troops’ nickname for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda’s jefe in Iraq. Z-Man has declared a “fierce war” on democracy. Z’s taken Bush’s bait– except the President's “bait” of promoting democracy and declaring war on tyranny and 0ppression isn’t mere bait, it is essential American values. Yup– a week before the Iraqi election Zarqawi has come out in public for imperialism, in his case Islamo-fascist imperialism. (Austin Bay)


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