Oy. Here we go again. The CalPundit seems to think that because Bush has offered moderately positive statements of support for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, that is somehow doing the same thing as that pathetic sycophant Carter, who never misses an opportunity to suck up to a brutal and evil dictator.

MORAL EQUIVALENCE?….Jimmy Carter on Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator who crushed dissent at home, drove his country to starvation, and was finally shot by a firing squad on Christmas Day, 1989:

Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics . . . We believe in enhancing human rights.

The U.S. president played down a recent slew of anti-Saudi comments in the United States. “Such talk does not reflect the strength and solidity of the relationship,” [Bush said]. “It only reflects the opinion of the person who said it and it cannot affect the eternal friendship between the two countries.”

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called Prince Bandar “a very seasoned diplomat, ambassador to a very important country” and a man Bush enjoys ….”He’s a very affable fellow, very good humor, speaks English better than most Americans.”

Jimmy Carter on Kim Il Sung, North Korean despot who cozied up to Stalin, started the Korean War, and eventually drove his country to the brink of starvation:

I found him to be vigorous, intelligent, surprisingly well-informed about the technical issues and in charge of the decisions about this country….I don’t see that they [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation.”

Bush and company on Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani dictator who overthrew civilian rule in 1999, supported the Taliban in Afghanistan, and two months ago announced steps that would allow him to dissolve the elected parliament and appoint military leaders and Supreme Court justices:

“He’s still tight with us in the war against terror, and that’s what I appreciate,” Bush told reporters while visiting Squires Mountain in Oregon. “He understands that we’ve got to keep al-Qaida on the run…. And I appreciate his strong support.”

“Pakistan has been making strides toward democracy. It’s important that they continue,” [White House spokesman Ari Fleischer] said .

That’s just the way the game is played, folks.

That’s nonsense. Jibber-jabber. Gobbledy-gook. Stultiloquy (I know how to use a thesaurus!).

Thw big, hulking, 800-pound distinction that CP misses is that Bush has spoken well of the Saudis and the Pakistanis because right now, their cooperation (even if, in the case of the Saudis, it is halting and begrudging) is necessary to stopping terrorism. That’s the necessity of realpolitik.

Musharraf is a military dictator, but so was Ataturk, and he took Turkey from the backwardness and squalor of the 14th century and brought it into into the modern world. There are many indications that Musharaf would do the same thing, but he cannot do so in one fell swoop, for the Islamist sway is still strong in Pakistan.

As for Saudi Arabia, the Saudi ruling family is definately a despicable institution, but it is one that can nevertheless be goaded and prodded by the US to restrict the most egregious of its support for Wahhabists. We’re not dependent on them to sell us oil. They’re dependent on us to buy it, and we can use that economic pressure, and other diplomatic pressure, to essentially force them to reign in Wahhabism in the very snake nest where it grows. Significant progress on this front has already been made. This is a temporary solution, but a necessary one.

And THAT is why Bush spoke of them as allies. Carter, on the other hand, was just shamefully sucking up to dictators, as he seems wont to do in just about every situation possible. What strategic importance did North Korea have to us? Or Romania? Or Cuba for that matter? Even if you wish to “engage” these nations, why do you have to offer them effusive personal praise as if these people were anything but monsters?

Also, for all of Saudi Arabia’s and Pakistan’s shortcomings, they are NOT officially hostile nations in the way North Korea and Cuba are . CP’s equating of the two situations is plain ridiculous.

Furthermore, I have to admit that Fleischer’s remarks about Prince Bandar don’t exactly thrill me, but it was HE who said it, not Bush (nor were Fleischer’s words anywhere near the level of rhetoric of Carter’s), while the “praise” that Bush offered with regards to Musharraf was simply along the lines of “He’s working in concert with us, and for that I’m grateful,” not “He’s a downright super guy! I’m sure he loves puppies and babies.” About Saudi Arabia, Bush effectively said, “We have our cultural differences, but we’re still strategic allies, and that’s what’s important.”

I hate to burst CP’s bubble, but Bush and Carter are playing very different “games” here. Bush is doing what is diplomatically necessary to win the war on terror, while Carter is the star contestant on “Who Wants to be a Sniveling Sycophant to the World’s Most Awful Men?”

To suggest there is moral equivalence between the two is just plain laughable.

last update : 26-5-2018

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