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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bush Democracy Doctrine, 2003(?)-2006, R.I.P - by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - Less than 18 months after U.S. President George W. Bush declared in his 2005 Inaugural Address his unequivocal commitment to the "ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world", tyrants, particularly in the Islamic world, are taking heart.
 
From North Africa to Central Asia, top U.S. officials are busy embracing dictators -- and their sons, where appropriate -- even as they continue to mouth the pro-democracy rhetoric that became the hallmark of the administration's foreign policy pronouncements, particularly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq failed to turn up evidence of weapons of mass destruction or ties to al Qaeda.
 
Particularly notable in just the past month have been White House receptions for Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's heir-apparent, his son Gamal; the praise lavished by Vice President Dick Cheney on Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev during a recent visit to Almaty; and last week's normalisation of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
 
"You add up all the pieces, and the message to the world is, 'We have a lot of other business than just democracy in this region'," according to Thomas Carothers, director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) here. "And that business means friendly relations with all sorts of autocrats."
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