What are some of the great political betrayals of history? One certainly would be the federal government’s betrayal of the ex-slaves of the South at the end of Reconstruction. After a dozen or so years trying to impose biracial democracy on the conquered South, the then-party of emancipation and civil rights, the Republicans, abandoned the freedmen to the tender mercies of Jim Crow for about a century. Then there was the shameful, though likely inevitable, abandonment of the fledgling electoral democracies of Eastern Europe. Those which were occupied by the Red Army — Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany and others — at the end of World War II had to endure about four decades of Stalinist tyranny.
Of course, now we have a much more recent example: the Bush White House’s betrayal of the administration-obedient scribes who rushed forward in recent weeks to defend the White House’s folly in North Asia.
After the *$#% started to hit the fan on the Korean Peninsula a horde of eager conservative columnists rushed forward to applaud the Bush administration’s unmasking of North Korean villainy and Clintonian appeasement.
Finally, a tough-minded policy had been established! Moral clarity. Resolve. Grit in the face of evil. All that good stuff.
Yes, yes, yes, the road ahead may be a difficult one and the price to be paid may be high, they said. And there might have to be, if not a long twilight struggle, then at least a serious all-nighter with some dismally poor lighting. But the weak-willed policy of the Clintonites had been revealed for all to see, a vindication of the ‘axis of evil’ slogan and all the rest.
Only now these worthies, having walked so far out on the plank, have to hear that sawing sound at their rear, as the Bush White House hangs them out to dry.
For everyone who has eyes to see, the Bush administration is now awkwardly climbing down from its ‘negotiation equals appeasement’ approach of the last two years and hoping that our allies like South Korea and Japan and our sometimes-allies like China and Russia will help us get the North Koreans back to the negotiating table and reverse the deterioration which has occurred in the last several months.
Having defended the Bush White House by contrasting it with the vile appeasement of the Clinton administration, they now have to watch their guys crawl their way back to embracing the path the previous administration favored.
Hung out to dry, fellas.