As I read his Wall Street Journal piece, I asked myself, who is Daniel Henninger? He is a fledgling author, I guessed, one who is willing to churn out war propaganda for a fee. He likely paid for his respite in Europe with the blood money or his monthly allowance. As it happens, whatever else Mr. Henninger might be, he is also the deputy editor of the WSJ’s editorial page. Since he is such an important man, and I should know what the great men are saying, I begrudgingly plodded on to the end.
Henninger’s premise, in brief, is this:
As it happens, the opposition party in Burma, the one getting shot, is called the National League for Democracy. Not the National League for Stability, but Democracy. One hopes the monks, reported by the BBC to be headed for internment camps, aren’t expecting too much from “the world,” because not much is coming. If before deciding to fill Rangoon’s streets the “saffron-robed” monks had spent more time reading pundits and foreign-policy intellectuals in Washington or Western Europe, they would have known that democracy has been demoted.
The Bush Doctrine’s critics will say this is unfair, that they support aspiring democracies, that their critique of the neocons is mostly about Iraq. Perhaps, but I would argue that this tidy distinction–“we only mean Iraq, we’re all for Burma”–has been lost on the popular imagination. The anti-Bush, anti-neocon obsession has been so constant, so often pegged to the broader Bush “dream” for democracy and freedom, that its critics have tossed out the world’s democratic babies with the Iraqi and Afghan bathwater.
In other words, anti-democratic regimes supported by China and Russia, go in with guns blazing.
Egypt’s Mubarak, the rebels in Sudan, and other democratic baby killers supported by the U.S., ignore, ignore, ignore.
Henninger nearly made one valid point as he indulged in it himself – “Overkill has become a habit in our politics”.
“Overkill” is a familiar symptom of the diseased political process. The rapid decline of U.S. credibility and influence is due to the malignant posturing of state administrators who are slaves of special interests.
Whilst browsing Flickr yesterday, I found an entry titled, “I am so over the U.S.”
His European hosts said as much, but he dismissed the message, and chose instead to engage in political overkill.
Mr. Henninger, get thee to a rehab.