Thursday, April 08, 2004

These days Iraqi democracy is touted as the reason we went to war in the first place. The Bush people say they want to create a functioning democracy in the middle east; they argue that the only long-term solution to terrorism is better government in the muslim world. Fair enough. But how deep is the Bush administration's commitment to democracy?

Its worth remembering that two years ago the Bush administration supported a coup in Venezuela which briefly ousted the democractically elected President Hugo Chavez. Chavez returned to power after three days of demonstrations. It turned out later that Bush administration officials met with the plotters to discuss ways of ousting Chavez.

Immediately after the coup, various Bush officials (Powell, Rice) offered cautious words of support. Once Chavez got back in power, Condoleeza Rice went on Meet the Press and urged him, without any apparently intended irony, to "respect constitutional processes."

Forgive me if I'm skeptical of this newfound appreciation for democracy.


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