Grain of Salt

Beinart, Peter
June 2003
New Republic;6/9/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 22, p6
Offers observations on the inability of the administration of United States President George W. Bush to accept outside scrutiny of its actions. Some liberals think the Bush team's moralizing breeds anti-Americanism, but I suspect that's not right. After all, moralizing in service of a just cause can win the United States admiration--as liberals understood when they demanded that the United States publicly moralize about apartheid. What alienates the world isn't moralism; it's hypocrisy. When you lecture others, you must be able to withstand scrutiny yourself. This is what the Bush administration cannot fathom. In fact, the more it demands of other countries, the less it demands of the United States. The Bush administration seems to believe that, as the most powerful country on earth, the United States should both dictate the rules of the international system and exempt itself from them. The United States, Europe, and Japan hector African countries to adopt free-market policies, but, by paying First World farmers to produce crops that would otherwise be internationally uncompetitive, they effectively deny African countries a free market for their exports. But here's what he didn't say. A year ago, Bush signed the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. The law--crafted to help Democratic and Republican farm-state senators up for reelection-boosted agricultural subsidies by an astonishing 80 percent. And, because the president signed it, many Africans will die.


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