Bush’s Liberal Legacy

Der Spiegel has a fascinating column about “George W. Bush’s Liberal Legacy.” In short, the column argues that liberals were wrong for excoriating President Bush for his desire to see democracy spread in the middle east. In fact, Bush’s ideals seem to be coming to reality.

“It was actually former President George W. Bush who always believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and was broadly ridiculed by the Left for his convictions…

“Painful as it may be to admit, it was the despised former US President George W. Bush who believed in the democratization of the Muslim world and incurred the scorn and mockery of the Left for his conviction.

“Everyone was sure — without knowing any Muslims — that the Western model of democracy could not be applied in a backward society like Iraq. Everyone knew that the neo-conservative belief in the universal desire for freedom and progress was naïve nonsense.”

I still think it is too early for a complete vindication of President Bush’s foreign policy idealism. Nevertheless, that this conversation is already taking place—just two years after his presidency—is very significant. Read the rest here.


  • Derek

    Count me with the group of skeptics, especially in the group that is convinced that genuine freedom and Islam are incompatible. Wherever Islam thrives, so does the repression of women and non-Islamic religious people in particular. A culture ruled by fear and autocratic leaders cannot produce or maintain a healthy democracy. Iran, Jordan and Egypt are interesting situations, because Islam has been losing popularity in various areas and sections of the cultures and there could be a sizable backlash against the mullahs and radical Islamic groups. Devastating poverty and repression have energized many people, but unfortunately they lack institutional cohesion and organization to wage a long term battle against the dictator as well as the thugocracies they control.

  • Nate

    Vindication? What country is using a Western style democracy? Iraq? Let’s pull all the military out and see how democratic it remains. Afghanistan? Egypt? Their military is barely holding it together there. Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is a theocratic system and desires that all come under the rule of Allah through Sharia.

    Bush’s foreign policy model was empire-building and we are paying a heavy price today for getting our hands into every foreign issue.

    Why don’t we chat about Bush’s willingness to allow China to steal our technology and to place us under a trade-deficit while they use our technology and money to build an army, navy, and air force.

    Or perhaps we could chat about Bush’s domestic issues. Like the security on both our northern and southern borders. Or maybe the personal freedoms that were removed with the Patriot Act.

    Or… maybe the 700 billion in spending Bush signed off on right before Obama was elected.

  • Reuben

    Derek’s point above that Islam and democracy being incompatible, seems to make pretty good sense. Since Islam seems to be more than just a religion. It is a form of government in itself. The sharia law is more than just religious guidelines. In Islamic Middle Eastern and Asian countries (Pakistan in particular), Sharia law runs parallel to secular (democratic) law. And where there is contradiction between the two, Sharia has the upper hand. And Sharia, by its very nature, is a polar opposite of anything democratic.

  • DennyReader

    Frankly, I don’t know if democratization of the Muslim world was a forethought or an afterthought for Bush 43, either way it is arrogant and ignorant to think that it will have a favorable outcome. Bush is one of the worst President we ever had. The commentator is right that Bush is much more liberal than we believe. His father was pro-choice until it was political expedient for him to be pro-life. His mother, wife and daughter are pro-choice. His wife and daughter are pro-gay marriage. His daughter is pro-Obamacare. It is not unreasonable to deduce Bush’s personal beliefs are liberal but he acts more conservative for political expediency. And now that he is out of office he is beginning to sound more liberal by the minute. I love it when a man thinks that Jesus Christ was his favorite philosopher.

    Fortunately we now have a President that is going to bring respect and cooperation with the world back to the U.S.A. and heal our relationship with the Muslim world. As a result of his great leadership we now have a radical cleric of the Muslim Brotherhood returning to Egypt to rally and stir up the crowd. Democratization is looking up.

  • A. Metcalf

    .We must remember: Democracy DOES NOT mean freedom nor does equality mean liberty. The Muslim religion cannot produce the “democracy” GW intended.
    And yesGW is far more liberal that he wanted us to know.

  • Jared O


    Unless you meant your last paragraph sarcastically, that has to be one of the most contradictory accusations and poorly written defenses I’ve seen.

    You’re condemning Bush for masking his liberalsim, while commending Barack Obama (possibly THE most liberal president we’ve had), saying that his inability to speak up on behalf of Said, the unborn, no backbone is going to make us look good???

  • jac

    @Derek and Reuben, I agree the Islamic worldview does not promote genuine freedom. I think one of GW’s premises was (in my words not his) that all people are created in God’s image and therefore have value. I think in light of the themes of redemption and sonship throughout the Bible that God has created a natural desire for seeking true freedom within us. Maybe Bush was just trying to (re)awaken that yearning in a community in which it was dormant or oppressed. May their longing continue until they find the true Son of freedom (John 8:36).

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