Wednesday, November 09, 2005

There is not much of a chance that you will ever see me join a George W. Bush fanclub. I have my doubts about the man's competence, and based on what I know about him and his policies I would say that his worldview and mine do not exactly run parallel. For a funny but unfortunately quite true picture of the Republican Party under Bush jr. have a look here ( thank you, Avraham, for the link ). Nevertheless, if I had to choose between the different global, regional and local bullies in the world I most probably would not hesitate for a moment and pick the US ( if you consider Israel a regional bully I will choose Israel as well ). On the eve of the latest invasion of Iraq I wrote an article in a Dutch newspaper in which I said that I supported Great Britain and the US - not wholeheartedly -, partly or even mainly because I could not think of any interest that I have in common with many of the anti-war coalition members. A similar argument applies when I see the very diverse members of the anti-Bush ( or anti-US ) coalition. Much of the Bush-bashing has become just as cheap and populist and has just as little substance as Bush and much of his administration seem to have. I agree with much of the criticism expressed by American Democrats against their own government, but too much of the worldwide demonstrations against Bush appear to be more anti-American than anti-Bush. There are numerous social and other abuses in American society, and on all too many occasions American foreign policy makers have chosen what can only be seen as the absolutely wrong side in (in)ternational conflicts, I am sure, but I cannot help feeling a kind of gratitude and relief that a country such as the US exists, because without it most democracies might be left at the mercy of much worse bullies. Look at the picture above. How can you expect me to take such a protest seriously? A former soccer player - who today is remembered more because of a goal that should have been disallowed and of his drug addiction than as a result of his sometimes genial performances on the field - and one of the world's most veteran dictators ( I know he did some good things to his country as well, and yes, the previous - US supported - regime was probably worse, but still (*)) join forces by demonstrating their hatred of GWB, using a symbol that is totally inappropriate and that was uncritically adopted by thousands of demonstrators all over South America and elsewhere in the world. That in the past Diego Armando M. has been rather friendly with good old Mr Qadaffi doesn't make what he wants to tell us any more convincing. America has a lot of work to do if it really wants to win over the rest of the world for the causes that it believes in. A deep gulf between rich and poor, gun laws, the death penalty, demanding free trade while continuing to subsidize its own farmers, no true separation of church and state, supporting dubious regimes in different parts of the world, utter disdain for environmental concerns, there are many subjects that the most powerful country in the world should address before it can expect anybody to listen seriously when Bush & co. lecture us on issues such as democracy and freedom. Still, unless I discover what for me would be the perfectly balanced anti-Bush coalition you won't see me demonstrating against the man or against his country. (*) Talking about faulty American foreign policy: wouldn't an end to the ridiculous American boycott of Cuba have terminated Castro's rule years ago?

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