Shah Nostalgia? For Foreign Policy, MSM Suddenly Skeptical of Democracy

Remember the good old days, when Democrats and their friends in the MSM would regularly bash Republican administrations for doing business with less-than-democratic, even unsavory foreign governments and their leaders?

From the Shah of Iran, to Marcos in the Phillipines, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile and a variety of strong men, authoritarians and tinpots in between, liberals lambasted Republican presidents for "coddling dictators" and doing nothing to promote freedom and democracy.

It seems the MSM has overhauled its ordre du jour [to use a phrase one might hear in, oh, Davos, Switzerland]. At least when it comes to those 'furriners,' could it be that Democrats and their MSM buds suddenly aren't so keen on . . . democracy anymore?

That would appear to be the case, to judge by Tim Russert's appearance on this morning's Today show. Host Lester Holt set the tone in a segment previewing President Bush's State of the Union address:

"This president has framed his foreign policy in terms of exporting democracy especially to the Middle East. We saw what happened with the Hamas victory in the Palestinian terrorities this past week, Egypt, other places in the Middle East have not necessarily gone in the direction the US would like. What will [the president] say about that?"

Replied Russert:

"He'll talk about freedom and democracy and how it's sweeping the world but there really have been some boulders rolled into that roadmap for peace, certainly with the Palestinian people. But you're dead right Lester, if you examine the poll results in Iraq, in Iran, in Egypt and amongst the Palestinian people, it is the more militant, the more Islamic that have defeated the more secular or moderate forces. It's something the President is going to have to reconcile for the American people.

"To be for the symbol of democracy in its generic form is good and noble, but when you apply it to these countries and they're given a chance to vote, they seem to opt for something much more extreme and perhaps not in the security of the US."

Where's the Shah now that we need him, eh Tim?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.