Pro-Bush professors in Belgium

Marc Cogen
Marc Cogen
Republican professors may be scarce in the US. In Europe, pro-Bush professors are even more rare. But still, they exist. Yesterday, Marc Cogen appeared on Nachtwacht, a discussion program on Flemish public television VRT. Cogen is a professor in international law at Ghent University. He challenged Dutch journalist Henk Hofland of NRC Handelsblad, who thinks that the Middle East should solve its own problems and that the West should not impose democracy with arms. Cogen did not agree:
The people in the Middle East do not have the ability to fight terrorism and dictatorship by themselves. In a world that has become much more dangerous than during the Cold War, we need the United States as a watchdog in the Middle East. Our western form of democracy can really work in the Middle East, but you need real power to convince and force the local dictators into the necessary reforms. American soldiers should stay in Iraq for at least 20 years, to prevent civil war.

Dialogue alone will not work. Europe is talking with the Arab world for 30 years now, with a lot of diplomats, experts and committees. The result? Very few reforms, and no solutions. I find it amazing how Europe keeps believing in something that yields no results. And they have the same attitude towards Africa, where the problems are even greater. Europe believes that by throwing money and experts at the problems, they will disappear. The hard conclusion should be that with some regimes, talking is useless. Even economic sanctions do not help, as they reinforce the local dictatorship, and make only the people suffer, and not the elites.

Technology and comfort can only be created in democratic societies. Sure, countries where dictators or fundamentalists rule, can consume technology, but they are not able to create it. Creativity and inventivity can only flourish in a democracy.

Henk Hofland has the opposite view. According to him, economic development will automatically lead to democracy, in time. Yeah right Henk, look at Saudi Arabia, an excellent counter-example of your theory. Jan Leyers, the moderator of the debate, hit the nail on the head with this (rhetorical) question:
If you were thrown in jail by Saddam, would you care if you were wearing blue jeans or lumps?

And Cogen continued, painting the superiority of democracy and free markets above marxism, theocracy and dictatorship. He also mentioned Iran.
Free markets and democracy have not been invented by philosophers. They have grown naturally and organically out of habits, practices and traditions. They are the least worse system.

It is unthinkable that the current regime in Iran would be allowed to have nuclear weapons. This would be an immense problem. Any action to prevent this, militarily or otherwise, is allowed.

Boudewijn Bouckaert
Boudewijn Bouckaert
Another outspoken supporter of US international policy is professor Boudewijn Bouckaert. He is a law professor at Ghent University, and is currently an Erasmus lecturer at Harvard University. In 2003, he wrote this about the gap between Europe and the U.S. (translated quote):
Continental Europe is evolving towards a socialist economy where the state absorbs and redistributes the largest part of the national product. The private sector is tolerated as a cow to be milked to the limits of the sustainable. Entrepreneurs are diabolized by the socialist-bureaucratic elites as scrooges, polluters, tax evaders etc.

At this time the European socialist elites can still allow the citizens some form of individual freedom, without responsibility. In due time, this will not hold and they will have to make a choice between more privatization (freedom and responsibility) and radical collectivization (nor freedom, nor responsibility). The socialist elites will try to impose the latter. If they succeed, the European political system will more and more resemble the Chinese system. This will facilitate an alliance with the East. The growth of sutch a new Eastern Block could be hindered by the former communist countries in Eastern Europe, like Poland, Hungary and the Baltic states. By economic inclusion, by politically correct intimidation ("you are vassals of the imperialistic America!") or by military invasion (the German and the Russian armies have undoubtedly excellent road maps of Prague and Budapest) they could be forced to step into the new Eastern Block.

Whether such an Eastern Block on the axis Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing will come into existence is not sure, but it certainly is a possibility. One cannot deny that the intellectual elites that have patiently undermined Atlantism since the fifties, are now holding power in governments and ministerial cabinets. For classic (i.e. pro free market) liberals, this perspective of a new Eastern Block with France and Germany at its center, is a nightmare. If this nightmare would become reality, emigration or samizdat are the only options.

Bouckaert is president of Nova Civitas, a Flemish pro free market think tank. In November 2004, immediately after the US elections, Nova Civitas issued a remarkable statement, calling for the establishment of a Republican-like European political movement (translated quote).

In allmost all newspapers, magazines and television programs, the [US] elections were a pretext to a true orgy of anti-americanism. The Americans were depicted as dumb, fat, superficial, retarded, reactionary, etc. The president was shown as a moron, completely manipulated by a cabal of oil barons. [...] The leftist political and intellectual elite, that has Europe in a strong grip at this moment, will probably use Bush's victory to make the gap between the US and Europe even larger, and boast about the superiority of the euro-socialist model.

Nova Civitas is asking itself if wat is possible in the US, would also be possible in Europe. With each election, wether in the US or Europe, the same pattern emerges: the bulk of the population thinks more right-wing than the elite of leftist (socialist, green and left-liberal) politicians, subsidized artists and journalists that think they know better). The center-right forces in Europe are divided among different factions: christian democrats, liberals and nationalists, they often lack adequate leadership and power, and don't have enough intellectual backing because of the total dominance of the left in the human sciences. [...]

Everyone that rejects the perspective of a islamo-leftist dictatorship, must engage in the construction of a center-right European republican front. Therefore, we must take distance from differences that are unimportant but have grown historically, like between christians and atheists, between nationalists and globalists. We must have the courage to build a consistent center-right program, thereby facing the curses of the leftist intellectual elite. The historic reelection of president Bush can become the new start for a center-right Europe.

So, there really are pro-Bush intellectuals in Belgium. Most of the time, they are ignored by the mainstream media. But now and then, they are shown on television as a challenger for some anti-Bush guest.





my teacher :)




Marc Cogen ROCKS




Student wrote: "If those americans get away out of irak and israelists out of palestina , you see, terrorist bombong will stop."
-> Are you really that naive to believe that the problem will solve just like that? Where are the Israelis supposed to go??
Student wrote: "And most of terrorist are brainwashed by some individuals. It is not the koran who tell them to make a holy war."
-> It's those "individuals" who encourage their people to terrorism on RELIGIOUS FACTS. Those "individuals" desecrate the koran and interpret it in an aggressive and racist fashion: we muslims vs the world. And don't be fooled by their number, these "individuals" are aplenty.


a student


lol marc cohen. You really think they went to invade irak, to make democracy. You make me laugh. By the way, in those countries, we have all kind of groups, they don't get along with each other. Democracy won't work over there. we all know democracy is more then just getting to vote. Sometimes a dictatorship is necesary, if its not a violent dictatership.Witch it isn't. He only is pro- bush, because he is jewish. We all know jewish people and muslims are fighting. Palestina, doesn't have an army. They don't have proper guns. Israel bombs them with best arms ( more then 50 percent came from america). So the only thing what palestins can do to stop them, is kamikaze themselves. Ow yeah, today thats called terrorism. In world war 2 japanese , made kamikazes. They where also told its the best for the country. But know Muslims do it ,its terrorism.People have a bad vieuw, because of the false arguments in the media. They always let the people who fight agains irak talking. Ok there are some groups who make terror.But not everybody who blew himself up, is a terrorist. It is more a kamikaze.And most of terrorist are brainwashed by some individuals. It is not the koran who tell them to make a holy war. . It are the brainwasher who taking that out of the contest.If those americans get away out of irak and israelists out of palestina , you see, terrorist bombong will stop.So before making sensless comments, try too look at everything, before making a statement. I apoligize for my english.


Jessica Lack


Go to Hell Bush




Hoa klfnakhskfhjaskndfkzjxcknalchkahsdlna,fnszxjhcoashf
That is what I think of Bush




@Shotgun Shells Enthusiast : I'm sure there is a whole lot more out here in Europe that you don't know it exists! We even have gun restriction laws, for specimen like you.


Shotgun Shells Enthusiast


Nice to see some intellectual conservative pro-bush firepower in Europe. I didn't know it existed.




Sorry- way off topic except for the last sentence. There is and has been lively philosophical and political debate in the US lo these many years but it has been almost entirely conservative, right.

I agree with Mr Cogan, BUT: Rather than discuss democracy at the point of a gun, Mr Cogan should have gone straight to the hypocrisy argument- How can the oppressed people of the Middle East develop economically when Europe is supporting the likes of Saddam (Oil for Food) and Bashar? If freedom comes from economic development, then it is against the the interests of the authoritarian government to allow free and unfettered commerce. The centralized economy of Iraq worked for Saddam because it helped to create a mentality of dependency, which in turn supports authoritarian regimes. And, in truth, the European Left saw nothing wrong with the structure of the Iraqi economy that the lifting of the sanctions wouldn't 'fix.' I dislike tarring all Europeans with the same brush, but a couple of countries positioned themselves very well either way: kick backs from Saddam while the sanctions were on (and ordinary Iraqis are being tortured, killed), lucrative oil development contracts when the sanctions were lifted (ordinary Iraqis still tortured, killed).

The other straw horse in this debate is that both parties agreed to the common assertion that democracy is a good thing. Since I would define democracy as a means of self determination, I suggest that that Henk Hofland's support of democracy in the Middle East is pro forma at best; indeed, that democracy in Europe is less representative and less a means of self determination for Europeans than it is a gloss to put a nice face on all kinds of contol.




I happened to witness a group of high school-aged kids having a political discussion. A junior (about 16) was lecturing a group of freshmen (14 years old) as to the reasons the US had gone to war in the past: President Bush convinced us to go to war by lying about the reasons, Kennedy was lied to, so he mistakenly led us in to war, yada yada, until Roosevelt, who really knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor in advance, but kept it secret because he really wanted to get into the war and he knew that an attack would convince the American people, so he didn't prevent it. One of the younger kids who was up on his history tried to argue logically and with facts, but made no headway with this fellow. Finally, after the second round of conspiracy theories, the younger kid turned to the rest of the group and said,"That's the drugs talking."

And it may well be. We are gullible, blind followers, according to Liberals. It is actually a great compliment to be told by a Liberal that we are intellectually dishonest, because at least there is an implicit acknowledgement that we have intellects.

It is hardly worth talking about facts, because that is not the realm that eh can operate in. Let's try relevancy instead. The whole issue of weapons of mass destruction seems moot, except to the extent that they may be actually residing in another country. Liberals are very fond of obsolete arguments, which is a shame because the political process in the US could use some real debate about the present and the future. The same could be said for Europe from the other side except I think that conservative opinion (in Europe) suffers from censorship, not from a lack of intellectual integrity.


Outlaw Mike


Tom nyc USMC is correct. For over a decade Saddam gave every impression he was still hiding WMD. The UNSCOM personnel were constantly harassed, had to deal with unwilling Iraqi officials, had always the same Iraqi security guards on their heels... at one instance, the UNSCOM HQ in Bagdad was even targeted with rockets! IIRC, UNSCOM chief Rolf Ekeus left frustrated in 1996 or 1997.

Saddam threw UNSCOM out of Iraq in 1998 after which Clinton launched Desert Fox. That led Saddam to allow another UN control team, UNMOVIC, to continue the WMD search, but UNMOVIC too quickly met the same problems as UNSCOM.

Either Saddam hid his WMD in time, or he reckoned that making the world believe he still possessed WMD was as good as actually having them.

Anyway, with known links between SH and international terrorism (Salman Pak facility, Abu Nidals presence in Iraq etc...) on te one hand, and the likelihood of SH possessng WMD on the other hand, it would have been extremely foolish of a US President NOT to act against Saddam. Even so, Bush went at great lengths to secure UN approval, which he got with UN Resolution 1441.

It is indeed truly amazing that people like "eh" still stick to the same old stupid mantra, even as the whole Iraq undertaking with its promise of making the Arab world free and wealthy, thus drying up the breeding pool for jihadists, is looking more like a success with every passing day, despite the callous acts of an "insurgency" in its death throes.


Tom nyc USMC


RE:eh? Get a grip guy, the way you elitist fascists hang on to the "NO WMD" mantra and vacuously ignore ALL the circumstances leading up to the invasion is moronic in the extreme.

1) Virtually every European intel agency and foreign ministry asserted for over a decade that saddam had WMD's

(as did our state dept and the clinton administration)

2)The UN believed that there were WMD's in Iraq, and Vladmir Putin as a matter of public record, came out and said that he warned George Bush of saddams' WMD

3) The deliberate stalling tactics of the UN,for 6 mos they did virtually nothing, thus allowing saddam to hide his WMD's or more likely sent them to Syria, the circumstancial evidence for this is very strong as GER> RUS & FR were all taking bribes from saddam (SEE OIL FOR FOOD)in exchange for their votes.

The other reason this was done was hide the complicity of these countries in supplying saddam w/ the means of constructing these weapons illegally in the 1st place( I'm ABSOLUTELY certain that when US forces occupy these sites in Syria (give it 9mos to a year) they will find that the EU was in this filth up to their eyeballs




Yeah but...

The reason given to Americans and the world for the invasion of Iraq -- which has killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians -- was that Iraq had WMDs and ties to terrorists who would use them. And so it was a threat to US national security. And this has all been convincingly disproven, hasn't it? This is why many people are 'anti Bush': because he and his administration were incompetent enough to wage a war for reasons proven false.

I can see why "pro Bush" people are so eager to dismiss this.

Speaking as an American, I am willing to consider (not necessarily agree to) sending US troops on heroic politicial murder prevention or 'democratization' campaigns, but not before we've had a full national debate about it, including a declaration of war by the US Congress (Bush is not responsible for lack of same this time). And regarding Iraq, this is exactly what did not happen -- because this was not the reason we were given for the war.

There is a reason why Bush et al are reduced to celebrating "democracy" in Iraq (with in many cases anonymous candidates, no less): they cannot celebrate the elimination of WMDs because there never were any.

And there is something uniquely pathetic and very troubling about the intellectually dishonest way "pro Bush" people ignore this simple fact, and seem so willing to buy into, even promote, these ex post facto switcheroo justifications for the war.

Anyway, good luck to the Iraqis. I hope in the end they get a better kind of democracy than we have in America -- one with an electorate willing and able to hold a sitting government accountable for something so egregious.




@Barbara: Henk Hofland said that economic development leads to democracy. So instead of bombs and cruise missiles, we should have brought blue jeans, coca cola and Ford to Irak, or factories that make them, Hofland said. So Leyers asked him the question: if you are thrown in jail by Saddam, do you care if it is blue jeans you are wearing, or lumps?




Luc- I am not sure what is meant by the rhetorical question "would you rather be wearing blue jeans or lumps?" Please explain (I'm blogging about this so I want to be clear). thanks




"Simple conclusion: Democrats have more brains!"

And they have Hollywood behind them. And still the Americans elect Republicans.




Simple conclusion: Democrats have more brains!




"Republican professors may be scarce in the US."

Don't be shy now, Luc, and change that "may be" in "are" :)



Barbara- QN


This is really excellent. Marc Cogan has been reading his Hayek. The point about the think tanks and the development of a center-right intelligentsia is one that is gaining currency, and not just in Europe. For those who are concerned about establishing democracy in Iraq, for example, there is recognition that the Iraqis themselves need to develop their own ideas and philosophical principles with respect to democracy. This process of 'thinking it through" for themselves, interpreting, will be vital to democracy's success in an Arab, Islamic culture.

On the other hand, George Soros and company have decided that what the left needs in the US are more progressive, leftist think tanks. The left actually has several (Brookings, Carngie Endowment are two of the best known) but they have been ineffective at "getting the message out." Of course, we know that they have gotten their message out in spades, and it has been rejected here.

The outlook for Europe is quite bleak in the near term, however, as the EU constitution is ratified, please see Mark Steyn's piece:





Tomorrow: Pro-Bush soccerplayers in Belgium.