Friday, March 11, 2005

So Much For Your Cedar-Planked Canoe

Coming as it did on the heels of two successful popular uprisings - the Rose Revolution in Georgia (the country) and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine - America was looking hopefully towards the Fiesta - er, Cedar - Revolution in Lebanon. Americans, more than anyone else, had caught Revolution Fever. We enjoyed watching these mass spectacles, possibly because we ourselves don't have the balls to participate in them anymore.

Well, it seems we have a regular Cedar Counter-Revolution on our hands. About twice as many demonstrators came out this week to protest, oddly enough, in favor of the Syrian occupation. Seems they think that this "Cedar Revolution" is just trading one form of tyranny for the other, and Syria hasn't been all bad, really. At least they're Muslim.

It came on a day when Bush was praising the Lebanese for showing their faith in democracy and issuing a withdrawal order to Syria. Jon Stewart said it best: apparently, Bush's foreign policy goal is to spread irony throughout the world. Looks like Bush is going to have to choose which is more important right now - letting Lebanon's people choose for themselves even if the decision looks stupid to the neocons, or trying to force Syria out whether the Lebanese care one way or the other.

And here we see the naked truth: our actions in Iraq have hurt the cause of democracy more than they have helped. Because of the invasion, America - and anything that America supports, such as the Cedar Revolution - becomes tainted. We've made people over there afraid of America, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Fear of America can be manipulated by clever politicians such as Assad and his Hezbollah patsies. The result is a bunch of people who are convinced that if they let go of Syria, America will just step in and start pulling the same strings.

What surprises me is that Bush doesn't understand how Islamists can use fear to their advantage. The Bush election strategy makes brilliant use of fear; namely, evangelical Christians' fear of modern culture and middle-class America's fear of terrorism. Shouldn't Bush see the parallels, and stop doing things that would make people scared of us? You know, things like invading countries at the drop of a hat? I suppose that would be too much to ask of an administration that hasn't been able to connect the dots on anything.

Quick hitters:

The bankruptcy bill. Republicans are going to make it harder for someone who got seriously ill to get their life back on track, while doing nothing about the ease with which rich people can evade their creditors. All as a big giveaway to the credit card companies who are - surprise! - big campaign contributors. You didn't hear about it because the media care more about the Ten Commandments than actual worthwile topics of conversation. To all you working-class Republicans out there: you put these guys in there. Now you're getting screwed while the people you elected channel money towards big campaign contributors. But at least gays aren't gonna get married, right?

John Bolton. Talk about your absurd appointments. Isn't this sort of like putting Fred Phelps in charge of the Human Rights Campaign? I don't trust the UN as far as I can throw it either, but seriously. We should at least pretend like we're trying to get along with everybody.

The Ten Commandments. It's a fun issue to debate, but I don't, quite frankly, give a fuck. All I'm saying is that if a lack of government support is a threat to your faith, you've got some pretty damn weak faith.

Terrence Boyle: I think Democrats were blocking him simply out of habit. So he's a little conservative (except, apparently, on environmental issues). He'll fit right in on the 4th Circuit. Save the political capital for, say, John Bolton.

1 comment:

Pierce said...

Re: bankruptcy bill... I'm with you in terms of the real motivations of politicians (on both sides of this issue), but I really think it should be hard to get a bankruptcy. I don't think the solution to people's immature decisions is to give them a nice cushion to fall on after they make them. For people who have special-case expenses beyond their means, such as medical bills, the solution is not to screw them and the people who gave them credit, it's to have a support structure (whether governmental or community-based) to help them with the bill outright.