In a career full of appalling lines, could this have been W’s most ridiculous moment?
When President Bush chastised President Putin over Russia’s disappearing democracy at the G8 meeting, Bush suggested the Russian President should look to Iraq as an example of democracy and press freedom.
In light of his administration’s increasingly scurrilous attacks on US press freedom and the Republican manipulation of the 2000 election, perhaps he was not sufficiently confident about proposing the United States as a model democracy?
As for Iraq, well the US government has been revealed as paying bribes in order to manipulate the Iraqi press. On democracy, the US refused to accept leaders produced by the Iraqi democratic process – but finally got its way. As for democratic institutions, law and order and civil society in Iraq – well let’s not go there.
Putin responded to Bush’s proposal with predictable contempt. The former KGB head was no doubt very pleased that that the self appointed champion of democracy opposite was a man whose democratic credentials are in tatters at home and abroad.