Pro-Bush professors in Belgium
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.
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.