I was a bit sleepy during the speech last night, so must have missed this part: Bush is planning to take over the world. Well, I’ll be damned.

UPDATE: Now that I have read the speech over carefully, I still can’t find any reference to us taking over the world and installing Bush as dictator. Hmm.

But how do British and Spanish leaders claim to be acting in the spirit of democracy when almost no one in their countries supports going to war without the backing of the United Nations, which has now been gutted? Instead of a U.N. vote and a final report from the chief weapons inspectors, Bush jettisons democracy with a 48-hour ultimatum.

This is a non-sequitur. What does the UN have to do with democracy?! The Security Council allows any one of five Permanent Members to veto any action. Most of the countries on the Council at the moment are run by murderous thugs. Democracy?!

How dare Bush and company champion freedom and the rule of law after running roughshod over the U.N. Security Council following their failed attempt to intimidate or bribe a majority of members into compliance? Clearly, the independence demonstrated by the council among countries large and small was one of the U.N.’s finest moments.

But it has had so few. And, please. The two greatest democracies on the planet, the United States and the United Kingdom, are leading a charge to overturn a tyrant who murders his own people, invades his neighbors for conquest, threatens regional stability, and is defying countless UN resolutions. We’re being thwarted by France, Russia, and China.

Like some barroom hustler, the president of the United States snarled that the French “showed their cards” and he dismissed their compromise offer of another 30 days for inspections. His fear must be that the inspectors were doing their work all too well and that with even a little more time they would have completely robbed him of his excuse for war.

Yes, that’s it. Maybe it’s because France lied to us when they signed Resolution 1441, saying that Iraq would face “serious consequences” (diplomatese for war) if Iraq did not immediately comply. It is now clear that this was a sham designed to buy Saddam more time and undermine the US.

Acting as if divinely inspired, Washington is now setting out to violently remake the maps and lives of the people of the world. This is an idea that old colonial powers England and Spain should have long ago discarded, after learning the hard way that people need to make their own histories. Whether this war is short or long, extremely bloody or just bloody, the stark fact is that a barely elected president has made the United States the first colonizer of the 21st century, openly declaring that he plans to reorder the politics, economy and culture of the Muslim world.

First, this is simply untrue. No plan has been announced to do anything this ambitious, although it sounds like a good idea to me. Clearly, the world would be a safer place and a billion or so people living under repressive governments would be markedly happier. Second, I don’t think this guy understands the concept of “colonization.” Even in the case of Iraq, we’re planning to spend a few tens of billions removing Saddam and then billions more rebuilding it. Meanwhile, we plan to extract zero resources from Iraq. I don’t think the British East India Company was run that way.

FILED UNDER: Democracy, Iraq War, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.