44 Quoted in Hubert Védrine, Les Mondes de François Mitterrand, (Paris: 1997) pg. 751.
45 Tony Blair once again is the exception. In his address to the Congress in 2003, he echoed George Bush in declaring that: “The spread of freedom is the best security for the free. It is our last line of defense and our first line of attack….” He went on to say that Iraq could be transformed into a prosperous democracy standing as a “beacon of calm” in the Middle East. Prime Minister’s speech to the US Congress, 18 July 2003.
46 The original version of the plan leaked to the Arabic newspaper al-Hayat in February 2004, provoking sharp reactions. A modified set of proposals for the Bush administration’s Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI), renamed the Broader Middle East and North Africa initiative (BMENA), was presented to the G-8 governments at their June summit in Sea Island, Georgia in June where it won general acceptance. The outcome of extensive discussions, and strenuous efforts to overcome recalcitrance in Berlin and Paris, the new plan was presented as a common enterprise. The joint communiqué declared that:
“We the leaders of the G8 are mindful that peace, political, economic and social development, prosperity and stability in the countries of the Broader Middle East and North Africa represent a challenge which concerns us and the international community as a whole. Therefore, we declare our support for democratic, social and economic reform emanating from that region….We commit ourselves today to a Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with the governments and peoples of the (region)….This partnership will be based on genuine cooperation with the region’s governments, as well as business and civil society representatives to strengthen freedom, democracy, and prosperity for all” The White House June 9, 2004.
47 President George W. Bush Inaugural Address January 24, 2005. The President’s theme was foreshadowed in two public speeches: an address to the National Endowment for Democracy the preceding November. Remarks of the President November 6, 2003; and to a European audience in an address at Banqueting House, London November 19, 2003.
48 Public opinion across Europe was wary of an American led campaign to spread democracy. An AP-Ipsos poll showed 84% of the French, 78% of the Germans, two-thirds of the British and majorities in Spain and Italy saying they did not think the United States should be exporting democracy. The contrast with American opinion was less stark than the rhetoric of the Bush administration and its supporters would have suggested. By a margin of 53 – 45 percent, Americans expressed opposition to having the country play the role of a global exporter of democracy. A reasonable inference is that opinion everywhere was skewed by the experience in Iraq. In the United States, the historical belief in an American role in the vanguard of a spreading democratic movement probably was muted by the association with the trials and tribulations in Iraq.
50 Parmentier, Ibid.
51 Speech by Joschka Fischer, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the 40th Munich Conference on Security Policy, Munich, 7 February 2004. A similar cautionary note, combining idealism of end with pragmatism of means, was struck by German Ambassador to the United States, Wolfgang Ischinger, in an address “Reconciliation Instead of Rifts” to the American Institute of Contemporary German Studies, Washington, D.C. August 25, 2005. Among its recommendations is the admonition that “To reduce the possibility that Islamist movements will overwhelm more open Middle Eastern political systems, Washington should promote constitutional arrangements that would restrain the power of majorities to trample the rights of minorities.” Pg. 5.
52 Dana H. Allin and Steven Simon, “America’s Predicament,” Survival Vol. 46, No. 4 (Winter 2004-05).
53 Ash, Free World, op. cit., pg. 232.
54 Robert Cooper, “Military Occupation Is Not the Road to Democracy,” New Statesman” May 3, 2004. An approach that unduly stresses the ‘hardware’ of democracy characterizes the report issued by a panel of American experts assembled by the Council On Foreign Relations: In Support Of Arab Democracy: Why And How Madeleine K. Albright and Vin Weber Independent Task Force Report No 54 2005. Among its recommendations is the admonition that: “To reduce the possibility that Islamist movements will overwhelm more open Middle Eastern political systems, Washington should promote constitutional arrangements that would restrain the power of majorities to trample the rights of minorities.” Pg. 5. For a reflective consideration of the complications encountered in the fostering of democracy by outside parties see Thomas Carothers Critical Mission. Essays onDemocracy Promotion (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, 2004).
55 As for Syria, it is more of a nuisance than a consequential threat. Diplomatically isolated even within the Arab world, its troublemaking is limited to providing refuge for the insurgents in Iraq and succoring Palestinian groups like Hamas. The temptation to eliminate the current regime exists in Washington. In the wake of the October 2005 Mehlis Report to the United Nations on the Hariri assassination implicating Syrian authorities, the Bush administration moved aggressively to mobilize support in the Security Council for demanding full cooperation with the investigation against the threat of possible sanctions. Britain and France joined in the campaign to pressure Syrian President Beshar Assad. However, rumblings in Washington about regime change, accompanied by ominous references to air strikes against alleged support bases notwithstanding, another military campaign against an Arab state would encounter many of the difficulties cited below with regard to a conjectured invasion of Iran. The balance of factors in the equation suggests that the temptation will be resisted. Were the ultimate policy judgment within the Bush administration to prove otherwise, we surely would see a reopening of Euro-American divisions.
56 David E. Sanger and Steven W. Weisman, “U.S.and European Allies Agree On Steps in Iranian Dispute.” The New York Times March 12, 2005.
57 Hassner makes a strong case for Europe’s making a clear-eyed judgment to join conditionally in the Bush campaign to spread democracy and liberty in “Bush, ideologie et pragmatisme.’ op. cit.
58 Robert Ikenberry enlarges on this point in “A Liberal Leviathon”. Prospect 103 2004-1-23.
59 Reinhold Niehbuhr The Irony Of American History (New York: Scribner, 1951, pg. 79).