THE INTREPID DR.ALBRIGHT
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has penned a critique of Bush policy in Iraq
for Foreign Affairs
. I was set to do a Fisking of some of her arguments but then, as I read further, her damned intellectual integrity reared it's head, offering this backhanded compliment to Bush:
"Although I was proud of the Clinton administration's foreign policy, and I understand that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside, I regret not having done more to push for liberalization within the Arab world. We did nudge at times, supporting Kuwaiti leaders in their initiative to give women the vote and encouraging the creation of representative bodies in Bahrain and Jordan. But we did not make it a priority. Arab public opinion, after all, can be rather scary. The same Pew survey that detected Arab enthusiasm for democracy also found that the "world leader" in whom Palestinians have the most confidence is Osama bin Laden. Who wants to give people with such opinions the right to choose their own leaders? The answer is us: we should do everything possible to see that they are given that right.
For years, Arab populations have received a distorted message from Washington: that the United States stands for democracy, freedom, and human rights everywhere except in the Middle East and for everyone except the Arabs. The time has come to erase that perception and the reality that too often lies behind it. Democracy will not end terrorism in the Arab world, but neither will it nourish it, as despotism does. Bin Laden's appeal is based on what he symbolizes: defiance. In fact, he offers nothing except death and destruction, and Muslim majorities will reject this if they are offered real alternatives."
Say what you will about the Clinton era, amongst a foreign policy crew of bureaucrats, lawyers and feckless wonks indistinguishable for the grayness of their mediocrity, Madeleine Albright stood out for her determination and moral clarity. Her head is on straight.