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“The Confusing Bush Diplomacy”

Posted December. 26, 2002 22:34,   


It`s confusing. Which one is the real George W. Bush, the US President?

Is he a neo-Reaganist, who believes democratization is first to wipe out terrorism, or a realist, who believes to strengthen the cooperation with despotic countries? An American Diplomacy bimonthly Foreign Affair 2003 January and February issue analyzed the incongruity of diplomatic policies of the Bush Administration through the cover story titled, `Promoting Democratization and War against Terror.` The writer is Thomas Carothers, who is in charge of the Democracy and Rule of Law project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

America is cajoling despotic countries because of the imperative of clearing Al Qaeda. America is holding the Pakistani President Perbez Musharraf, who took the power through a coup de tat in 1999, warmly since the 9.11 terror incident. While he was strengthening the despotic power and passing the undemocratic amendment of constitution this year, America gave him 600 million dollars and restarted a joint military drill. The despotic governments that cooperate to surround Al Qaeda including Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan secured their power under the connivance of America.

However, in and out of the administration, the asking of democratization for the Middle East only is suddenly enlarged. They, who are the adherents of the diplomatic policies of the former President Ronald Reagan, pointed out the fact that the 9.11 terrorists were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which were friendly despotic countries to America, and Saudi Arabia paid the money needed for the crime, so they insisted that is was not possible to remove the Islam extremists without democratization of the Middle East. Therefore, the President Bush asked Palestine the democratic election, and he is looking for a change of regime in Iraq. He refused additional support for Egypt.

However, it is a dangerous miscalculation to believe that the democratization is achieved in Iraq because of American intervention. The countries that changed their government with American intervention such as Grenada, Panama, Haiti, and Afghanistan recently went back to the stage before the foundation of despotic governments. Since Grenada went back to the time when she had enjoyed a relatively moderate pluralism, Haiti was fallen into a political chaos. Afghanistan seems to go back to the civil war between tribes. Especially, America refuses additional support for Afghanistan, so she neglects it.

Iraq before Sadam Hussein took power had been split, violent, and suppressed. A tremendous support from America is needed to prevent going back to the past; however, as we can see in case of Afghanistan, there is no sign that Bush Administration will do that.

What is more, because of attacking Iraq, there is an apprehension that Iraq will be an epicenter of the earthquake called anti-Americanism other than the origin of democratization tidal wave in all over the Middle East. In order to stop this, the despotic countries in the Middle East strengthen the regulation even more, so the democratization will even retreat. America should give up her hope to seed the democratization in the Middle East. She must let local people decide their future.

In American diplomatic priority, the national interests and democratization of the world has been always collided. However, the gap is rapidly widening in the Bush Administration, so it creates confusion. In some areas, concerns for democratization are suddenly reduced, and the other areas, they are suddenly got bigger. It is right that the democratization is the short cut for wiping out terrorism in long run. However, the fundamental should be adapted to the world in general, not just in the Middle East, and it must be done continuously and through detailed management

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com