March 7, 2005

The Sharansky Moment

Caroline Glick writes a column in The Jerusalem Post about Natan Sharansky's influence in the United States.

In the history of Israel's relations with the US, there has been no precedent for the influence that Minister-without-Portfolio Natan Sharansky has had on US foreign policy. While in the past Israeli leaders have worked closely with their American counterparts, no one other than Sharansky has managed to actually influence the way that American policymakers think about foreign affairs or perceive the role of the US in the world.

Today it is beyond debate that Sharansky has deeply influenced US President George W. Bush's thinking on international affairs. After reading Sharansky's book, The Case for Democracy, Bush told The New York Times that Sharansky's worldview "is part of my presidential DNA." This Sharansky-inspired "presidential DNA" posits that the Arab world's conflict with Israel, like its support for global jihad, will end when the Arab world democratizes. In Sharansky's view, once Arabs are governed democratically, they will not wish to sustain the conflict.

If Sharansky and Bush are correct, then the past week has been one of the greatest weeks in the history of the Middle East. Syria's puppet government in Beirut has resigned and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is being squeezed from all directions. He has declared that he will end Syria's occupation of Lebanon and has turned over Iraqi Ba'athists to American forces in Iraq in the hope of stemming the seemingly inexorable demise of his regime. Egypt's dictator, Hosni Mubarak, under attack from Washington and from his democratic opposition that for once is being supported by the Western media has announced that he will enable other candidates to run against him in the upcoming presidential elections.

Driving through Boulder to get to work this morning, I was behind one of 10,000 old cars that are covered in "Peace," "No Iraq War," anti-Bush, anti-capitalism, and generally anarchic bumper stickers.

I thought to myself, this guy just needs one big bumper sticker that says "Appeasement!!" I think Sharansky is shaping that view in the Administration and its successes are shaping that view elsewhere.

It may never come to Boulder, but the "Peace Protesters" may not be viewed as good-intentioned if a little naive but for what they truly are: appeasers who would rather deal with dictators than make a stand for liberty.

Sharansky was of course liberated by Thatcher and Reagan. My favorite story is of the two of them watching some peace protest and Maggie saying "Whose Peace, Poland's?" I still say that to peaceniks around Boulder but they don't get it.

Sharansky's "moral clarity" and his call for moral clarity in the free world may be his greatest gift.

Hat-tip: Pillage Idiot

Freedom on the March Posted by John Kranz at March 7, 2005 4:26 PM