Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bush’s State of the Union

Bush delivered his State of the Union tonight, and while I must admit to coming in very skeptical, I must applaud a couple of the things he said.

First off, there is no question that I am impressed with Bush’s push for alternative fuel sources. I would not have expected an oil baron like Bush to push for alternatives to oil, but he came out tonight and was frank in saying the US is addicted to oil. He was correct in citing the dangers of being so dependant on a fuel source that comes predominantly from countries with unstable and unfriendly governments. And his Advanced Energy Initiative sounds like an excellent program to start pushing America away from its dependence on the OPEC nations.

Also, I can’t help but be hopeful about Bush’s federal education initiative. There were no specifics mentioned, but the goals of helping to educate the minds that will later go on to search for new energy sources, nanotechnology, and supercomputing are certainly goals I can get behind. However, I was worried by his pointing to the success of the No Child Left Behind program, which I spoke about in an earlier post. The program has not been fully funded, and the results of the program have been questionable, as students seem to be learning how to take these tests as opposed to learning the subject matter.

But at the very least, there were these initiatives which I could stand behind, and support the president on. Unfortunately, I do not agree with his views on foreign policy.

Bush spoke of not being an isolationist country, and in playing an active role in world issues to protect our country, which I believe is true. But we also have to be smart about what situations we engage in and the manner in which we engage in these foreign conflicts. There is simply no sense to the statement that we can’t leave Iraq because terrorists will use it as a safe haven. Terrorists already have Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Syria as safe havens, the inclusion of another country as a potential safe haven will not make a serious difference in the war on terror.

In his section on Iran, Bush said that when Iran democratically elects a government, the US would hope to be a close friend and ally to Iran. Guess what, President Bush, they just had a democratic presidential election, and elected a radical fundamentalist, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as their president. This was a democratic election, for the most part. The Iranian people do not allow women to vote, which could radically change the outcome of the election. But I read a number of reports on the election, and UN inspectors said that intimidation and unfair accounting were not aspects of Ahmadinejad’s win.

What President Bush does not know about the region is that most countries, if voting democratically, would vote for anti-Western governments. The election of Hamas is not random, nor is the election of Ahmadinejad. When you say that freedom is unquestionably raising the standard of life for people around the world, realize, President Bush, they legitimately question the value of freedom in their society. And so far, when the United States has forced a particular government upon any particular country, especially in the Middle East, those governments have come back to haunt us later.

While you characterize the US as spreading freedom throughout the world, other countries see this as imperialism by the United States. And don’t get me wrong, I think there are some aspects of the conflict we need to be engaged in. We need to be engaged in Iran, to prevent the enrichment of Uranium and the creation of an Iranian bomb. We need to be in Afghanistan, hunting Osama Bin Laden and the power structure of Al Qaeda. But we also need to question what good we are doing in Iraq, and how imposing our will on Hamas will help the situation in Israel. Because only by an intelligent approach to these conflicts can the US regain the feeling of security we’ve apparently lost over the past 5 years.

Posted by Scottage at 12:38 AM / | |