Charles Krauthammer notes that besides its aversion to the word “victory,” the Obama team doesn’t allow “democracy” to pass its lips when it comes to Iraq:
He referred to what we have achieved as a “sovereign, stable, self-reliant” Iraq. He left out one word, and he left it out because it was a George Bush word—democracy. That was a Bush idea—to implant a democracy in Iraq.
[. . .]
So it’s a remarkable achievement, and we ought to emphasize what we have achieved in terms of democracy. And it’s a pity that the president ignores that because the democratic nature of Iraq will establish the basis for a strategic alliance between America and Iraq in the future.
After all, we are in favor of democracy, aren’t we? Isn’t that what Iran is all about? Now, one might suppose that Iranians, seeing their Iraqi neighbors enjoy the fruits of a robust and rather functional democratic system, would want the same for themselves. We do want to encourage democratic institutions to take root and theocracies to perish, right?
Well, it can be hard to tell at times. Obama shows no concern in Cuba or Venezuela for democratic activists. He’s taken the minimalist route in Iran. One needn’t think he’s actually rooting for the “bad guys” to see how little concern he has for hope and change, for human rights, and for democracy abroad. Perhaps he’s caught in the “Not George Bush” web or perhaps he’s been captured by the State Department’s mindset that places infinite value in chasing after deals with existing regimes.
Democracy is so messy and disruptive. So much easier to deal with strong men and ignore the plight of those seeking to disrupt, challenge, and ultimately overthrow despots. I wonder how “Not So Much Hope but Status Quo!” would have looked on all those campaign bumper stickers.