Truth to Powerlessness
Reader Comments (2)



Yeah, thanks for this: some fine words from the president. Good to read – I’m afraid I found the video too grating to view. My history of prejudice, that.

The stuff on trade may or may not be backed up with practical action from any of the major players. The reference to ‘major developing countries’ is pointed, an presumably reflects new calculations of rich countries’ national interests. He also has the advantage of not needing to seek re-election at home.

The reference to Caracas was a bit laughable, though, and did little to commend his ostensible overall point. Okay, Chavez may be even more demagogic than Ken Livingston, but the country is hardly up there with Belarussia, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, Russia, Iran, China, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia or Burma for human rights abuses. You left out the section in GWB’s speech on Burma – slightly weirdly I thought, given current events.

Stimulating as always, though – so thanks.


Cheers, Barney. You're an intellectual and a gentleman and, moreover, you have the fairest mind I know. The reason I succumbed to the tempatation to post this - and, believe me, I actually do think about what's going to annoy the shit out of people, and what they've actually signed up to read, and then I'm usually filled with regret immediately after sending something like this - was to publicize that, at the very least, Bush is saying things that should warm the cockles of any leftie's heart. But, because of what I refer to as BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome), it's almost impossible for anyone on the left even to *hear* it when he says these things. (This, actually, is strikingly similar to how Clinton absolutely *infuriated* people on the right - to the point that few were able to recognise that he was the best Democrat any conservative could hope for. (Legacies of the Clinton years: serious welfare reform, strong free trade agreements, and extra-UN military interventions (Kosovo, etc.).))

Anyway, I've already gotten mail from some people pointing out how comical and meaningless this speech is coming from a guy who'd like to wiretap Americans and who runs a secret prison in Cuba. And - totally putting aside for a moment both the seriousness of those transgressions and, more germanely, whether wanting increased surveillance powers for law enforcement to combat terror makes Bush just like Mugabe, no better or worse - I think an absolutely critical marker of intellectual seriousness is to be pleased when a guy you can't stand stands up in favour of things you *do* believe in.

Thanks for being that guy, and in public.

[ Similarly, for what it's worth, I resent Bush's betrayal of free trade principles when he pandered for votes in Pennsylvania by supporting steel tariffs; and *revile* his support for enshrining bigotry (outlawing of gay marriage) in America's highest statement of equality and equal justice under the law (the Constitution). But that simply doesn't and can't make his good statements, or his good actions, bad. ]

I agree with all your other points, re: trade interests, etc. I expect the inclusion of Caracas was to do with Chavez's cozying up to Castro, which Washington has its own Castro Derangement Complex. And I can well be indicted for omitting his Burma comments - but no one's in favour of what's happening there, and even the U.N. is more or less paying attention to it. (I.e. it wouldn't open any leftie's mind to Bush's human rights agenda to hear him condemn the Burmese oppression. I confess and apologise for the agenda.)


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