Michael Ignatieff's article entitled "Who Are Americans to Think That Freedom is Theirs to Spread" examines the American psyche and the predicament the situation in Iraq presents. This is a well-executed article that examines America's past and raises serious questions about present day America, both internally and with its foreign policy…
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Either way, there is more to consider when gauging the situation in Iraq than casualties and tax dollars.
In section VI Ignatieff addresses a major issue that has divided the nation internally and raised comparisons to Vietnam. Recruitment is down and it appears that the price to preserve and spread American ideals may be too high. (Ignatieff, 2005, Section VI, par. 5). Another view presented by journalist William Greider is that Iraq is already worse than Vietnam. He believes that "the war in Iraq is different from Vietnam in one fundamental respect: A substantial portion of Americans (and others around the world) were in the streets protesting this venture before the shooting startedvirtually every element of what has gone wrong in Iraq was cited by those demonstrators as among the reasons they opposed the march to war (Greider, 2004, par. 7). While Ignatieff may not full agree with such a statement, at the very least it outlines the foundation of realist sentiment.
Thomas Jefferson is introduced as a fitting reference point for the reader. His questionable morals and apparent contradictions to American freedom reflect the current situation in the Middle East. It also quickly addresses the internal struggle of idealism versus realism that is threatening to further divide the nation (Ignatieff, 2005, Section IV, par. 5). Jefferson's idealism and his legacy present a problem on a global level and is one reason for the international dissention over the situation in Iraq. Also, this Jeffersonian idealism or more specifically, later President's striving to achieve it has made the situation in the Middle East volatile and has challenged the universal of acceptance of American democracy as ideal democracy.
Ignatieff suggests that Iraq and the perceived democratization of the nation is an extension of Jeffersonian idealism. He further notes that Jefferson exemplifies the contradictions that continue to plague American freedom (Ignatieff, 2005, Section I, par. 3). One other point of interest is when Ignatieff states, that "until George W. Bush, no American President - not even Franklin Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson - actually risked his presidency on the premise that Jefferson might be right" (Ignatieff, 2005, Section I, par. 4). Herein lies the crux of the article, are Jeffersonian ideals and American democracy at this point, the same thing Looking at the reaction of the Middle East, most of Europe and Canada, this seems doubtful.
Over the past 60 years in the Middle East, America has consistently become close to tyrants in the region (Ignatieff, 2005, Section I, par. 6). This in turn has caused a certain degree of instability in the region and certainly does not embody the democratic vision of the founders of the United States. This threatens to further alienate America on an international level, which can be a problem. Also noted as a sign that American democracy may not be universal democracy, is that while other powerful nations have shifted left on the political spectrum, America has moved further right. This is shown by among other things a huge divide in rights for homosexuals, concern for healthcare and America's willingness to use God's will as motivating factor behind foreign policy (Ignatieff, 2005, Section III, par. 3). Overall, this article does an exceptional job of
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