It’s very hard for me to reconcile the idea that a dictator can be a good friend to us and not so good a friend to his own people.
This is where George Bush showed courage and dared “go where angels fear to tread.”
In no small measure, the attack on Iraq was a statement by the U.S. that we would not forever suffer oppressive leaders because they provided stability. Saddam’s hatred of the “persians” as he referred to the Iranians was no secret. He was tolerated for many years because he was considered a stabilizing counter to Iran.
Bush said no more. Saddam was a brutal dictator, a threat to his own people and a menace to the world. Saddam was given many opportunities to capitulate. He chose otherwise.
Saddam was overthrown, tried and executed and the people of Iraq began the harsh and difficult path to self governance. They have had their share of setbacks (many, brutal) yet, free elections take place and their fledgling government is beginning to function. To say it is imperfect is a vast understatement. However, history shows that once people get a taste of freedom and self governance, they can be quite intolerant of moving backward.
As it stands now, the military has taken charge in Egypt. We hope, those men in charge will keep it together until a new government can be formed and a path to democracy can be laid. The main problem, as I see it, is that very few of these people understand how quickly it can all go so very bad. The people of Iran ousted the Shah, another awful, horrible man. There was joy not unlike the Egyptians feel today. But the regime which took his place is in many ways worse. The Iranian people remain oppressed by a new set of leaders. I don’t think that is what they were shooting for.
We don’t know what is going on behind the scenes at the Obama White House. I’m sure that the “Community Organizer” Obama is “one with the people” and
“power to the workers,” and all that lefty sentiment. On the other hand, President Obama, who has kept Guantanamo open, pursues terrorist with unmanned drones, and has asked for the extension of vital Patriot Act provisions sees the situation differently. Unfortunately, his double mindedness has sent confusing messages abroad to both friend and foe. I for one believe he is conflicted. Maybe, just maybe, he is starting to see the world as it really is, with all its perplexity and peril. Maybe countries won’t be our friends and sing Kumbaya with us just because we talk nice to them. I really don’t know. I speculate.
In the meantime, at a critical juncture in world history, U.S. leadership has failed to lead in any meaningful way. Turn down your lights America. The “shining city on the hill” is a much, much dimmer.