Day By Day

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Democratic Protest -- Does the US Have a Double Standard?

Of course we do. The administration supports the spread of democracy, unless of course, it involves a nation vital to our interests with whom we have to work to solve pressing problems. This is sheer realism, but the press never tires of pointing out inconsistencies and shouting "hypocrisy."

Harold Myerson, in today's WaPo, reprises this tired old dance. He notes that last Thursday crowds, estimated at 300,000 took to the streets of Mexico City to protest electoral corruption.

And what was the response of our government? Did we invoke the president's mighty line that leaders of government with long habits of control must learn to trust their people? Did we tell the crowds gathered in the Zocalo that America walks at their side?

Not quite. While Condi Rice waxes eloquent about our concern for democratic rights in Central Asia and the Middle East, the most the Bush administration has managed to say about democracy in the unimaginably faraway land of Mexico has been the comment of a State Department spokesman that this is an internal Mexican affair.

He concludes:
So, democracy in Ukraine? We'll be there. Lebanon? Count on us. Kyrgyzstan? With bells on. Mexico? Where's that? Maybe they should move to Central Asia, change their name to Mexistan and promise to privatize the oil. That's the kind of democracy the Bush guys really like.

As a matter of principle he has a point. But as a matter of policy, attempts to interfere with Mexico's electoral system would be a prescription for disaster. And if we are looking for consistency, have you noticed that the left which has long claimed that Bush is an ideologue, unable to comprehend the "reality based world" is now castigating him for being a "realist."

Read the whole thing here.


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