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Foreign Policy of Exporting Democracy is Focus of Bush’s Inaugural

President Bush, who avoided foreign policy like the plague four years ago, made foreign policy the keynote of his inaugural speech today. He said, “It is the policy of the United States 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.” Later he added, “When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.” It’s somewhat ironic that Bush focused so strongly on human rights, which was first made a priority foreign policy issue by Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

At whom is this attack on undemocratic regimes directed? Iran? China? Russia? Zimbabwe? Burma? Belarus? He didn’t say. But given the current state of the world, it would appear to be directed mainly at Arab and Muslim governments. What will we do to help democratic movements? Forcibly overthrow dictatorial governments, as we did in the second Iraq war? Simply say encouraging things to democratic activists, as we did to the Kurds and Shiites after the first Iraq war, before they were brutally put down by Saddam? On one hand, Bush said this is “the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy.” On the other hand, he said, “This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary.” When are arms necessary? We don’t know. Maybe Bush, Rice and Rumsfeld know, although they are not saying. Cheney said just before the inaugural, “You look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list.”

Tyrants of the world, be afraid, be very afraid!

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