Tuesday, December 24, 2002

# Posted 9:35 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

COUNTERFISKED! The Agonist has put up an in-depth critique of my response to Fareed Zakaria. The tone is respectful, the arguments thoughtful. In general, The Agonist's point is that my ideological commitment to promoting democracy has prevented me from producing a realistic analysis of the situation in Iraq. Or, put more emphatically, Mr. A warns that I am unaware of the "dangers of unchecked messianism."

On factual matters, the main point of tension between my arguments and that of Mr. A is his contention that "Bush has given no indication that we will 'democratize' Iraq. Especially if you take Afghanistan as an example. I might go so far as agree with Adesnik that Bush's words are Wilsonian but his actions are not." While one might question Bush's commitment to his stated objective, I think his UN speech as well as Condi's remarkson the matter have made clear what our policy on Iraq is.

Unsurprisingly, I share Mr. A's belief that the Bush administration has shown little indication that it is serious about democracy in Afghanistan. Still, Bush has done more than any Republican president ever to promote the cause of democracy abroad. As such, it is premature to draw firm conclusions about his intentions. More importantly, one should recognize that Bush's rhetorical commitment to promoting democracy makes him vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy should he fail to do so. Significant pressure from Congress and the American public will ensure that he does not back away from his pledge. So speak up!

UPDATE: Afghans look back on Karzai's first year.
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