Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Oh, the dishonesty....


In order to further an argument that some opponents of U.S. policy "hate freedom", Anne Applebaum presents the following "quote" which she attributes to the London Guardian:
In an article titled "US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev," the newspaper described the events of the past 10 days as "an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing."
Well yes, that's true, but... um, what about including the rest of the passage, Anne?
But while the gains of the orange-bedecked "chestnut revolution" are Ukraine's, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes.
So yes, the article recognizes an American hand in the sophisticated campaigns behind these democracy movements - and then states that the technique has been used to advance freedom and democracy. The article concludes:
If the events in Kiev vindicate the US in its strategies for helping other people win elections and take power from anti-democratic regimes, it is certain to try to repeat the exercise elsewhere in the post-Soviet world.
So is Anne grousing that the author "hates freedom" because the author suggests an American role in democratic campaings which "salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes"? He "hates freedom" because he acknowledges that these campaigns have helped advance freedom? He "hates freedom" because he believes that as events unfold the U.S. techniques may be "vindicated" and emulated to advance democracy in other nations with anti-democratic leaders? Um... whatever, Anne.

And her other "supportive" quote is this
In a separate article, the same paper described the whole episode as a "postmodern coup d'etat" and a "CIA-sponsored third world uprising of cold war days, adapted to post-Soviet conditions."
Well, first it was an editorial, not a news article - a difference that should not be lost on Anne, given that she writes editorials. And second, she again omits very relevant content:
Intervening in foreign elections, under the guise of an impartial interest in helping civil society, has become the run-up to the postmodern coup d'etat, the CIA-sponsored third world uprising of cold war days adapted to post-Soviet conditions. Instruments of democracy are used selectively to topple unpopular dictators, once a successor candidate or regime has been groomed.
Is Anne claiming that this is untrue? That the United States backs opposition candidates against dictators "just because", and without concern for whether the opposition candidate will be an improvement over the "unpopular dictator" the U.S. hopes he will replace? Does she believe that the CIA doesn't involve itself in foreign election campaigns, particularly when it has the opportunity to topple an "unpopular dictator" in favor of a candidate preferred by the United States?

Perhaps, even though Anne was unable to quote any, there is some mainstream evidence of the horrible "we hate freedom" attitudes she falsely attributes to those articles. Perhaps she thought that a more honest editorial addressing that some foreign columnists are skeptical of U.S. tactics, even while acknowledging that they can and have advanced democracy and freedom, would have been "too boring". But, one way or another, had she been honest enough to fully or accurately quote her pretended sources, her editorial would have collapsed before the end of its first paragraph.

1 comment:

  1. Today's Guardian includes an editorial which argues,

    3. Are you reluctant to support the orange movement just because the Americans do?Put thus starkly, most people would say no. But some of the west European unease undoubtedly comes from the fact that American pro-democracy organisations have actively supported the Ukrainian opposition, and Washington does have a geostrategic agenda involving the expansion of Nato, military bases across central Asia etc. Yet the knee-jerk leftist or Euro-Gaullist reaction - "if the Americans are for it there must be something wrong with it" - is silly. Please consider the Ukrainian case on its own merits, not through an American or anti-American prismI think Anne Applebaum might quote it like this:

    Another article, published in The Guardian, expresses, "if the Americans are for it there must be something wrong with it".

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