Friday, June 08, 2007


Democracy in Prague

Michael Rubin writing on The Corner a few days back reported that the participants of the Prague “Democracy and Security Conference” issued a Prague Document. Contributors included former Czech President Vaclav Havel, famed Soviet dissident and Israeli Parliamentarian Natan Sharansky, and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, and the document was immediately lauded by President Bush.

Rubin noted the following points:
1. To demand the immediate release of all non violent political prisoners in their respective countries
2. Instructing diplomatic emissaries to non-democratic countries to actively and openly seek out meetings with political prisoners and dissidents committed to building free societies through non-violence.
4. Raising the question of human rights in all meetings with officials of non-democratic regimes.
5. Seeking national and international initiatives, in the spirit of the Helsinki Accords, that link bilateral and international relations to the question of human rights.
8. Isolating and ostracizing governments and groups that suppress their peaceful domestic opponents by force, violence, or intimidation.
9. Isolating and ostracizing governments and groups that threat other countries and peoples with genocide or annihilation.
Oh, Rubin also has something to say to those who pretend to care about human rights and “prisoners of conscience” the world over:
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, European Union, Middle East Studies Association, BBC: Your silence is deafening.
The more I reflect on this document, the more it reminds me of former President Carter’s attempt to premise much of US foreign policy on human rights, an exercise of quixotic proportions often viewed by conservatives as naïve.

Aside from what anyone might think of such attempts to isolate and ostracize dictatorships through moral condemnation, it amazes me that President Bush has formulated one of the most idealistic foreign policies of the past 100 years. What irony that many of those who most denigrate the Carter Presidency for naïve idealism so strongly support President Bush and his more “assertive” attempts to promote democracy. Likewise, note how those who should be Bush’s allies internationally rather condemn and excoriate him, and elevate Carter as a sage.

The many inconstant on Left and Right pick their heroes and villains first, and then justify their passions. There no doubt is some ancient term for such phenomena.

(Cross-Posted at MILBLOGS.)

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