Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ignatieff for PM?

So, on the front page of the Globe and Mail today, this piece of news totally ruins my appetite:
Ignatieff sets sights on Ottawa

Celebrity intellectual Michael Ignatieff is coming home to Canada with his eyes fixed on 24 Sussex Dr.

The 58-year-old author, broadcaster and director of Harvard University's prestigious Carr Center for Human Rights Policy is on the edge of announcing his decision to run for Parliament for the Liberals in the next election.
Just a few days ago, Ignatieff wrote a piece for the New York Times magazine, in which he seems entirely confused about the Bush Doctrine. But boy, I tells ya, you can really see why Ignatieff is seen as such a genius:
If democracy plants itself in Iraq and spreads throughout the Middle East, Bush will be remembered as a plain-speaking visionary. If Iraq fails, it will be his Vietnam, and nothing else will matter much about his time in office. For any president, it must be daunting to know already that his reputation depends on what Jefferson once called ''so inscrutable [an] arrangement of causes and consequences in this world.''
Whoa - hold on a minute. You mean, if Bush succeeds, he'll be seen as successful? And if he fails, he'll be seen as a failure? ALL BOW TO IGNATIEFF!

Meanwhile, in the exact next sentence, Ignatieff essentially concedes the only important fact when speaking about the Bush Doctrine:
The consequences are more likely to be positive if the president begins to show some concern about the gap between his words and his administration's performance. For he runs an administration with the least care for consistency between what it says and does of any administration in modern times.
So Ignatieff has A) advocated following in the US's doomed, imperial invasion of a foreign country, and B) admitted that Bush is full of shit when he talks about spreading democracy. Now, admittedly I'm not a genius like Ignatieff, so maybe I'm missing something. But if you admit that Bush is lying when he talks about spreading democracy (it's hard to imagine what else a "gap between his words and his administration's performance" could mean), haven't you nullified the only decent justification for war?

Ignatieff then goes on to exhibit some stunning historical illiteracy:
Jefferson's words have had the same explosive force abroad. American men and women in two world wars died believing that they had fought to save the freedom of strangers. And they were not deceived. Bill Clinton saluted the men who died at Omaha Beach with the words, ''They gave us our world.'' That seems literally true: a democratic Germany, an unimaginably prosperous Europe at peace with itself. The men who died at Iwo Jima bequeathed their children a democratic Japan and 60 years of stability throughout Asia.
Does Ignatieff think this happened in a vacuum? He doesn't mention the single largest factor in the US's contribution to Asian and European peace - the USSR and the Cold War. To pretend that WWII led to global peace because of Jefferson's words, and not because the US feared France would join the Warsaw Pact, is simply ignorant. But Ignatieff must be right, because he's the "philosopher-king" that is already being compared to Trudeau.

Let's be clear - Ignatieff could only be compared to Trudeau now that the great man is dead. In life, Trudeau would have bitch-slapped Ignatieff. Ignatieff is a man who has not only endorsed, but actively advocated the vision of Imperial US power. He's also endorsed a closer relationship with the US at the last Liberal leadership conference. If Ignatieff is the new Trudeau, then Ralph Klein is the new Tommy Douglas. Once upon a time Canadians had a PM who was both an intellectual powerhouse, a strong nationalist, and a Liberal. Ignatieff could only be one of those three.

One of the funniest things about Ignatieff's piece is the doubtful, questioning tone it adopts. Like Greg, I think Ignatieff is simply confused. But that's not something to reccomend the idea of Ignatieff as PM. If he runs in my riding (the article suggests he might run in Trinity-Spadina, a safe Liberal seat) I'll be volunteering for the NDP, and doing everything I can to see him defeated.

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