Skip to comments.He's a worldbeater, all right (Mark Steyn beats up on the Dems!)
Posted on 01/23/2005 4:35:55 AM PST by finnigan2
I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''
Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.
The Democrats' big phrase is "exit strategy." Time and again, their senators demanded that Rice tell 'em what the "exit strategy" for Iraq was. The correct answer is: There isn't one, and there shouldn't be one, and it's a dumb expression. The more polite response came in the president's inaugural address: ''The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.'' Next week's election in Iraq will go not perfectly but well enough, and in time the number of U.S. troops needed there will be reduced, and in some more time they'll be reduced more dramatically, and one day there'll be none at all, just a small diplomatic presence that functions a bit like the old British ministers did in the Gulf emirates for centuries: They know everyone and everything, and they keep the Iraqi-American relationship running smoothly enough that Baghdad doesn't start looking for other foreign patrons. In other words: no exit.
If you want an example of "exit strategy" thinking, look no further than the southern "border." A century ago, American policy in Mexico was all exit and no strategy. That week's President-for-Life gets out of hand? Go in, whack him, exit, and let the locals figure out who gets to be the new bad guy. If the new guy gets out of hand, go back, whack him and exit again. The result of that stunted policy is that three-quarters of Mexico's population is now living in California and Arizona -- and, as fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community, they've got no exit strategy at all.
By contrast, the British went in to India without an "exit strategy," stayed for generations and midwifed the world's most populous democracy and a key U.S. ally in the years ahead. Which looks like the smarter approach now? ''Most Indians Say 'Thumbs Up' To Second Bush Term,'' reported the Christian Science Monitor this week, "and no, that doesn't mean something rude in Indian culture.''
The problem with "exit strategy" fetishization is that these days everywhere's Mexico -- literally, in the sense that four of the 9/11 killers obtained the picture ID they used to board their flights that morning through the support network for "undocumented" workers, and only a few days ago the suspected terrorists supposedly en route to Boston were said to have entered the country via the Mexican smuggling route. But everywhere's also Mexico in the more figurative sense -- if you've got a few hundred bucks and an ATM card you can come to America and blow it up. Everyone lives next door now. Sept. 11 demonstrated that the paradox of America -- the isolationist superpower -- was no longer tenable.
That was what Bush accomplished so superbly in his speech: the idealistic position -- spreading liberty -- is now also the realist one: If you don't spread it, in the end your own liberty will be jeopardized. "It is the policy of the United States," said the president, "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." By the end of his second term? Well, not necessarily. But what matters is that the president has repudiated the failed "realism" that showers billions on a friendly dictator like Egypt's Mubarak and is then surprised when one of his subjects flies a passenger jet into the World Trade Center.
You'd think the Democratic Party would welcome this: They spent the days after Sept. 11 yakking endlessly about the need to address "root causes." But, as the pitiful displays in the Senate hearing made clear, they still don't comprehend the new world -- abroad or at home. The other day David von Drehle of the Washington Post did a monster tour of what he called "The Red Sea" -- Bush country -- and went to almost painful lengths to eschew the condescension the coastal media elite usually apply to their rare anthropological ventures into the hinterland. But in the middle of his dispatch was this quote from Joyce Smith of Coalgate, Okla.: "When Kerry said he was for abortion and one-sex marriages, I just couldn't see our country being led by someone like that."
Von Drehle added: ''Later, I double-checked what Kerry had said on those subjects. During his campaign, he opposed same-sex marriage and said that abortion was a private matter.''
If the point is that Red Staters are ignorant, double- or even triple-checking John Kerry isn't the best way to demonstrate it. Insofar as I understand it, Kerry's view on abortion was that, while he passionately believes life begins at conception, he would never let his deeply held personal beliefs interfere with his legislative program. On gay marriage, likewise. That's why gay groups backed Kerry and why von Drehle's media buddies weren't running editorials warning that a Kerry presidency would end "a woman's right to choose": They understood his deeply passionately personally deep personal passionate beliefs were just an artful but meaningless formulation designed to get him through election season. Message: If Kerry's elected, abortions will continue and gay marriage will happen and he'll be cool with both. Joyce Smith understood that. Von Drehle seems vaguely resentful that she wasn't dumb enough to fall for the spin cooked up by Kerry's hairsplitters and enthusiastically promoted by his media cheerleaders.
There's a big lesson for the Democrats there that goes way beyond the merits of abortion or gay marriage. On Sept. 11, the world came unspun: There's no shame in acknowledging, as Condi Rice did last week, that previous policy -- Republican and Democrat -- toward the Middle East is wrong. But there's something silly and immature about a party that, from Kerry to Boxer to Byrd, can't get beyond spin, grandstanding and debater's points: Joyce Smith sees through it, even if David von Drehle thinks it's ingenious. If the president's speech yoked idealism and realism, that doesn't leave much for dissenting Dems except their own peculiar combination of cynicism and delusion.
Actually, that is the exit strategy; build up Iraqi institutions of self-governance & security and progressively draw down U.S. presence as Iraqis increase in capability.
Mark Steyn gets it right. The Democrats are running on empty.
We'll have a continuing presence there. For decades - we're still around in Germany and Japan. I don't see us ever leaving Iraq. We've got too much invested to let the place revert again to the bad guys.
"from Kerry to Boxer to Byrd, can't get beyond spin"
Once anyone gets to this level, in any party, all they are is party hacks. There is too much money in it for them to say anything other than the party line.
Having said that, I think that they are WAAAY over the top on this one. Kooks maybe.
Ending with a demonstration of why Joyce from OK is more perceptive and unswayed by dimspin is priceless.
Maybe, but not as we are now--the occupying power conducting some governmental functions and fighting Iraqi insurgents & terrorists. We may keep an element there to deter the neighbors and/or to serve as a base for other ops in the region--there's been discussion about that with a couple old airbases in the desert. In Germany & Japan, we haven't been occupiers for a long time, but we use the bases there essentially as forward outposts for our military to put us closer to the action. That may also happen in Iraq, but it is a substantially different purpose than what we are doing now. My guesstimate!
We have to do something about Iran and Syria, too, so leaving isn't an option. Even if we dusted off that cold fusion formula and had the US on dandelion gas/fuel by next week, thus ending dependency on foreign oil or any oil for that matter, it wouldn't solve the problem. Arabs have nothing else to sell but rugs, so they wouldn't be happy with the loss of oil revenues. The truth is they're stuck in the Dark Ages intellectually, spiritually, and certainly socially. Maniacal two year-olds itching to get their hands on nukes. Something nasty is bound to happen, and let's pray Israel or one of our aircraft carriers in the area isn't on the receiving end.
President Bush will have four more years to repair the world the last administration left him with.
If West Virginia voters won't give Sen. Byrd an exit strategy of his own, then in time the Good Lord will. I'm waiting for either one.
The Left only "sees" problems.
The Right only sees solutions.
Here's an exit strategy in one word. Victory.
End of story.
This is an important point. People go on about how the election shows that the country is evenly divided, and that's simply not true. The Democrats did everything possible to conceal their real agenda, and many people fell for it. If they had been honest about their intentions, I'd expect to see a Kerry vote closer to 30%.
Spoke with a gentleman there and told him I had heard the senator's comments regarding exit strategy and wondered if the senator had an exit strategy for Mary Jo Kopechne.
The man barked at me....'we're not talking about that'......
Did you Really?
It is a shame someone like Barbara Boxer has been given an opportunity to make a difference. She squandered the chance and demonstrates time and again she is shallow and brainless. Damn shame.
Mark Steyn ping.
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