Saturday, January 24, 2009

Analysis of the President's Speech

Obama and the End of the Democracy Agenda
"Amidst all the “soaring rhetoric” and many high-sounding words in Barack Obama’s inauguration speech, one word was conspicuous precisely by its absence: “democracy.” Neither the noun “democracy” nor the adjective “democratic” was uttered. The “democracy agenda” so closely associated with the foreign policy ideas of President Bush appears to be well and truly off the table. But the “democracy agenda” was not only an integral part of Bush foreign policy; it has — at least on the level of rhetoric — been an integral part of American foreign policy as such for decades now."
"Incidentally, the new president followed these remarks with an historical allusion that perfectly illustrates how his vacuous rhetoric produces outright howlers when it risks coming somewhat closer to matters of fact. “Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks,” he said, “but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.” But, of course, America’s key ally in defeating “fascism” — or, more precisely, Nazism and, more precisely still, Nazi Germany — was none other than the Soviet Union. This was anything but a “sturdy alliance.”"


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