Note: This blog draws in part on my experiences and observations interviewing political figures, writers, and analysts for "The Campbell Conversations" on WRVO. To hear past interviews I refer to in these posts, please go to the show's website. The views expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent Syracuse University, the Campbell Institute, or the WRVO Stations.
In addition to comments, I'd love to have guest posts. Please send ideas or full-blown posts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Reminder on Comments
I warmly invite comments, especially those that disagree with me or the guest posts from others. But they need to be civil and not contain personal attacks. I removed one such comment today--from someone called "anonymous" of course--which was uncivil and personally-oriented, and which also contained some false claims about me. Such comments will not be posted. Thanks, Grant Reeher
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I usually don't have a comment on your questions and think they are generally fair. Today, it appeared you were fishing for confirmation from your guests that the policies of GWB had encouraged the current middle east protests. It was telling that the one guest who answered, said that propping up strongmen was exactly the wrong strategy.
My comment is that it should now be clear that more could have been achieved without spending over one trillion dollars, killing over 100,000 civilians, and causing tens of thousands of American casualties/deaths. We now see a much better path. I hope I am wrong and that you do not seek affirmation of GWB's flawed policies.
Thanks for your comment. You heard the question exactly the way the responders did, and it was clear to me then--and now again with your comment--that I did not phrase the question very well. Here's what I was trying to get at, as a possible argument for them to consider: That regardless of the Bush Administration's intentions with its policies, and regardless of whether they achieved or horribly botched those aims, by introducing chaos and instability into the region, the administration somehow created a more fertile terrain for protests like these to ultimately erupt. Another way to say this would be: Would these protests have happened if we had never invaded Iraq and had we been more limited in our actions in Afghanistan?--or something along those lines.
I wasn't seeking affirmation of the Bush policies, but rather trying to pose a counter-intuitive possibility of their effects.
You're also right about how Imen addressed it--in terms of the Bush Administration's policy (and before him too of course) of being friendly and supportive of non-democratic regimes in that area, if those regimes are reliable allies and perceived to be bulwarks against radical Islam. And by the way, you can see the same thing happening with the current administration's rather measured response to what is happening, as I write, in Bahrain.
It's interesting that you bring this up, because we spent about 20 minutes discussing this question once the interview was over. I was better able then to articulate what I was getting at, but you'll be interested to hear that they still heatedly disagreed with the proposition.
Bottom Line: It was a poorly phrased question and if I had a "do-over" now I'd be clearer about it. I should have re-taped that part, but we like as much as possible to do the show "live to tape."
Thank you for the clarification. I agree with your analysis and I would hate to be in BO's position, trying to walk this fine line between perceived stability and upholding America's ideals. Unfortunately, we have for many years, looked the other way in a somewhat hypocritical fashion when it comes to our "national interest". Of course, our western allies have also been complicit, going back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Ironically, our lack of transparency now leaves us with little effective influence on either side and may lead to very undesired consequences.
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