Perspective

Imposing Utopia

George W. Bush campaigned for the presidency on a pledge not to engage in the nation-building experiments that characterized the Clinton years, and, like every other president of the 20th century, he did not simply break his major promises: He did exactly the opposite.  Naturally, his administration has plenty of excuses.  Failing to discover those famous WMDs, whose location they knew with pinpoint accuracy before the invasion, the President’s power ministers and their advisors had to come up with other justifications, and building democracy had a nobler ring to it than, say, acquiring oil or protecting Israel.

The President has been uncharacteristically clear in stating the objectives of his own experiment in democratic nation-building: “Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote,” and he lauds the “dramatic progress of a new democracy.”

In the early years of the experiment, lavish funding was given to the usual agencies and conspiracies, which, under the guise of building democratic institutions, work to undermine and destabilize regimes we regard as unfriendly or even uncooperative.  The National Endowment for Democracy received some $71 million for promoting democracy in Iraq, and these funds were disbursed to its American satellites as well as to Iraqi groups...

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