Monday, January 31, 2005


Welcome to DemRealists. This is a blog edited by two Penn State students - my compadre Jon and myself - who are currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. We think and write with a neoconservative persuasion on American foreign policy and international affairs. Yes, a neoconservative persuasion. We aren't afraid to admit it. But let me be more specific. Our blog title is DemRealists. But we aren't Democrats (Kerry, Dean, Kennedy, etc), nor are we realists (Morgenthau, Kissinger, Scowcroft, etc). We are, as Charles Krauthammer termed it in an address to the American Enterprise Institute last Februrary, democratic (small "d") realists. This school of thought is a more narrow neoconservative approach for American foreign policy. Allow Dr. Krauthammer to explain:

"We will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there is a strategic necessity--meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that poses a global mortal threat to freedom."

In essence, as our blog's sub-title says, we support democracy "Where it counts." And where it counts today is from Casablanca to Karachi. From North Africa, across the Arab peninsula, through Persia and into Pakistan is where we wish to see democracy spread because, as most observers will acknowledge, this is the part of the world from which the murderous ideology of Islamic fundamentalism is conceived. Therefore, we believe the antidote to Islamic fundamentalism are the universal ideals of democratic self-governance, human rights, rule of law, and market economics.

Further, it is our belief that the Bush administration's foreign policy is based upon this democratic realism. Critics point out that while President Bush talks about spreading democracy the world over, he has remained relatively quiet over Russian president Vladimir Putin's authoritarian creep. The United States remains a close ally of Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, a general who came to power in a military coup in 1999 and certainly not a democrat. And, of course, our relations with fundamentalist Saudi Arabia are never without criticism. After all, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were of Saudi origin.

Well, this is the "realism" in this neoconservative approach. Clearly we can't just go 'round the world knocking off dictators a la Saddam. And we aren't arout to. In fact, the point of our invasion of Iraq was to make military action less likely. The point of our Iraq operation in 2003, was, in part, self-defense against Saddam's illicit weapons programs and, in part, to give political reform a kick start in the heart of the Muslim world. Remember, this all harks back to 9/11. The hope for many hawks was that Iraq would be the model for the rest of the Middle East to begin a democratic revolution (or at least the slow beginnings of one) throughout the region (See Krauthammer's quote above).

And it looks like the Iraq's successful elections yesterday are a good start in making this hope a reality. But only history will be able to confirm this. In the mean time, we'll be doing our best to sort it all out.


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