Monday, August 21, 2006

Democrats, Republicans and freedom for other people

This will be a long rambling post that's been rattling in my head since high school. You don't have to read it, even if you like me. I just wanted to write it, and now I will be writing it badly. Oh well, someone should tell me one of these days that I'm not a foreign policy expert.

Alan's post over at the NPI's official blog about the recent election in Mexico, and the Democratic party's lack of response to the possibility that Mexican votes may not have counted reminded me of something. Both parties really don't care about Mexican votes, and I'm almost positive Alan wouldn't be complaining about our lack of response had the conservative candidate been at the losing end in Mexico.

On the Republican end, I got into a short tiff with McGavick's bloggers (over email and comment) about his call for FIFA to not allow Iran into the World Cup not because Iran isn't a democracy, but because of their stance towards the United States and their neighbors. And the holocost, he had a good point about the irony of the holocost and the Nurenburg Stadium.

Anyway, if McGavick had drawn his line in the sand on civil and electoral liberties, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo and Tunisia wouldn't have been able to compete either. While I guess Democrats not wanting to comment on freedom overseas is bad, at they don't use it as a blanket when they talk about countries they simply don't like.

Take Egypt for example. We seem to like Egypt, despite that Egypt is pretty un-free right now. And, unlike Iraq and Afganistan, we don't care so much about freedom in Egypt:

Last year U.S. pressure impelled Mubarak to hold Egypt's first presidential election. U.S. pressure also led to a relaxation of constraints on freedom of speech, press and assembly that began to change the quality of public life in Egypt. Given this momentum, it was expected that Mubarak, once reelected, would allow further liberalization. Instead, 2006 has brought a wave of repression and brutality... The regime's goons have bloodied and arrested peaceful protesters doing nothing more than expressing solidarity with the dignified protests of Egypt's judges. Spurred by the persecution of its leaders for exposing election irregularities, the extraordinary judges' movement has sprung to the forefront of agitation for reform.

In response to these abuses, U.S. press spokesmen have issued formulaic criticisms, and Nour's conviction on patently bogus charges led Washington to postpone trade talks. But the mild tone of U.S. protests, the low level at which most have been delivered and the admixture of warm gestures toward the regime -- such as the meetings Vice President Cheney and other top officials held with Mubarak's son and hoped-for heir, Gamal, last month -- have combined to create the impression that the Bush administration has begun to pull its punches on Middle East democracy.

Egypt is an important sidekick in the war on terror. We can send them people to torture, and they'll take care of it for us.

Democracy, it seems, doesn't always serve our interests, and where it doesn't, we don't care about it. Despite what the President says during speeches. I linked to the President's inaugural speech there, and I think it's worth pointing out that following that speech, that his adminstration pointed out that they weren't actually changing things. Our focus on democracy was the same before all of his flowerly talk as it was after.

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