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Un discours remarquable de Bush (ter)

Eh oui, encore!

Je ne lis qu’avec retard le discours à une promotion d’école militaire par lequel le président Bush a réaffirmé, le 2 juin, la stratégie qu’il poursuit depuis le 11 septembre 2001. Il confirme ce qui font ses qualités éminemment politiques de résolution, de continuité et de ténacité (depuis qu’il a jeté par-dessus bord — ce dont ses critiques négligent évidemment de le féliciter — l’approche isolationniste et unilatéraliste sur laquelle, ironie de l’histoire, il s’est fait élire). Je concède volontiers aux « bushophobes » que, politiquement, la force de conviction d’un Blair ou la spontanéité magnétique d’un Clinton ne sont pas son fort [j’aurais évidemment été à tous égards mieux inspiré de citer Reagan!]; je suis sans vraie attente à son égard, pour un peu j’attends le moment où il me décevra. C’est dire combien je suis à chaque fois soulagé de le voir ne pas faiblir, tenir le bon cap et — trop rarement, ce qui est un défaut crucial dans la bataille des idées — l’exprimer avec force et clarté (c’est sans doute l’attitude d' »extrémisme intellectuel » qui m’est reprochée par un lecteur anonyme dans un commentaire).

Les élites francophones (ou « vieille-europe ») sourient narquoisement à tout parallèle entre la seconde guerre mondiale et l’intervention en Irak. Mais le propos de Bush est à la fois plus ample et plus subtil: la lutte contre l’idéologie totalitaire islamofasciste (il n’utilise pas le terme) s’inscrit dans le combat démocratique de tout le siècle dernier pour la liberté contre les totalitarismes fasciste et communiste, défaits respectivement en 1945 et en 1989. Et il y a bien sûr des différences:

« The terrorists of our day are, in some ways, unlike the enemies of the past. The terrorist ideology has not yet taken control of a great power like Germany or the Soviet Union. And so the terrorists have adopted a strategy different from the gathering of vast and standing armies. They seek, instead, to demoralize free nations with dramatic acts of murder. They seek to wear down our resolve and will by killing the innocent and spreading fear and anarchy. And they seek weapons of mass destruction, so they can threaten or attack even the most powerful nations.

Fighting this kind of enemy is a complex mission that will require all your skill and resourcefulness. Our enemies have no capital or nation-state to defend. They share a vision and operate as a network of dozens of violent extremist groups around the world, striking separately and in concert. Al Qaeda is the vanguard of these loosely affiliated groups, and we estimate that over the years many thousands of recruits have passed through its training camps. Al Qaeda has been wounded by losing nearly two-thirds of its known leadership, and most of its important sanctuaries. Yet many of the terrorists it trained are still active in hidden cells or in other groups. Home-grown extremists, incited by al Qaeda’s example, are at work in many nations. »

Et c’est sur le rôle crucial joué par l’Europe dans la guerre froide (plutôt que dans la seconde guerre mondiale) que Bush s’appuie pour définir le Moyen-Orient comme le centre du conflit actuel: qu’il soit abandonné aux dictateurs et aux terroristes ou au contraire qu’il fasse place à la démocratie et à la prospérité fera toute la différence.

Au passage, Bush n’omet pas de marquer les nuances; ce n’est pas l’Islam qui est en cause, ce n’est pas une lutte entre des civilisations mais entre des visions politiques:

« This is the great challenge of our time, the storm in which we fly. History is once again witnessing a great clash. This is not a clash of civilizations. The civilization of Islam, with its humane traditions of learning and tolerance, has no place for this violent sect of killers and aspiring tyrants. This is not a clash of religions. The faith of Islam teaches moral responsibility that enobles men and women, and forbids the shedding of innocent blood. Instead, this is a clash of political visions.

In the terrorists’ vision of the world, the Middle East must fall under the rule of radical governments, moderate Arab states must be overthrown, nonbelievers must be expelled from Muslim lands, and the harshest practice of extremist rule must be universally enforced. In this vision, books are burned, terrorists are sheltered, women are whipped, and children are schooled in hatred and murder and suicide.

Our vision is completely different. We believe that every person has a right to think and pray and live in obedience to God and conscience, not in frightened submission to despots. (Applause.) We believe that societies find their greatness by encouraging the creative gifts of their people, not in controlling their lives and feeding their resentments. And we have confidence that people share this vision of dignity and freedom in every culture because liberty is not the invention of Western culture, liberty is the deepest need and hope of all humanity. The vast majority of men and women in Muslim societies reject the domination of extremists like Osama bin Laden. They’re looking to the world’s free nations to support them in their struggle against the violent minority who want to impose a future of darkness across the Middle East. We will not abandon them to the designs of evil men. We will stand with the people of that region as they seek their future in freedom. »

Et Bush de formuler les quatre piliers de sa stratégie:

1) Mener sans relâche l’offensive pour neutraliser les terroristes par tous les moyens civils et militaires.

2) Travailler à retirer aux terroristes tout sanctuaire

– en aidant les pays dont les gouvernements ont perdu le contrôle d’une partie de leur territoire

– en ramenant au sein de la communauté internationale des Etats qui l’avaient quittée (comme la Lybie)

– en tenant les Etats qui ne les combattraient pas pour responsable des actes des terroristes qu’ils abriteraient.

3) Renforcer sur le plan international la lutte contre la dissémination des capacités de créer des armes de destructions massives (atomiques, biologiques, chimiques).

4) Mener aussi le combat idéologique contre le terrorisme en lui retirant la frustration dont il nourrit son discours en soutenant la lutte multiforme et de longue haleine pour la liberté et la démocratie dans le Grand Moyen Orient:

« Fighting terror is not just a matter of killing or capturing terrorists. To stop the flow of recruits into terrorist movement, young people in the region must see a real and hopeful alternative — a society that rewards their talent and turns their energies to constructive purpose. And here the vision of freedom has great advantages. Terrorists incite young men and women to strap bombs on their bodies and dedicate their deaths to the death of others. Free societies inspire young men and women to work, and achieve, and dedicate their lives to the life of their country. And in the long run, I have great faith that the appeal of freedom and life is stronger than the lure of hatred and death.

Freedom’s advance in the Middle East will have another very practical effect. The terrorist movement feeds on the appearance of inevitability. It claims to rise on the currents of history, using past America withdrawals from Somalia and Beirut to sustain this myth and to gain new followers. The success of free and stable governments in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere will shatter the myth and discredit the radicals. (Applause.) And as the entire region sees the promise of freedom in its midst, the terrorist ideology will become more and more irrelevant, until that day when it is viewed with contempt or ignored altogether. (Applause.)

For decades, free nations tolerated oppression in the Middle East for the sake of stability. In practice, this approach brought little stability, and much oppression. So I have changed this policy. In the short-term, we will work with every government in the Middle East dedicated to destroying the terrorist networks. In the longer-term, we will expect a higher standard of reform and democracy from our friends in the region. (Applause.) Democracy and reform will make those nations stronger and more stable, and make the world more secure by undermining terrorism at it source. Democratic institutions in the Middle East will not grow overnight; in America, they grew over generations. Yet the nations of the Middle East will find, as we have found, the only path to true progress is the path of freedom and justice and democracy.

Bush conclut en rappelant et le sérieux de l’engagement américain (des élections libres en Irak en 2005 sont ce que les terroristes ont le plus à craindre) et l’étendue nécessaire de celui-ci, qui va bien au-delà de l’Irak:

« As we fight the war on terror in Iraq and on other fronts, we must keep in mind the nature of the enemy. No act of America explains terrorist violence, and no concession of America could appease it. The terrorists who attacked our country on September the 11th, 2001 were not protesting our policies. They were protesting our existence. Some say that by fighting the terrorists abroad since September the 11th, we only stir up a hornet’s nest. But the terrorists who struck that day were stirred up already. If America were not fighting terrorists in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and elsewhere, what would these thousands of killers do, suddenly begin leading productive lives of service and charity? Would the terrorists who beheaded an American on camera just be quiet, peaceful citizens if America had not liberated Iraq? We are dealing here with killers who have made the death of Americans the calling of their lives. And America has made a decision about these terrorists: Instead of waiting for them to strike again in our midst, we will take this fight to the enemy.

We are confident of our cause in Iraq, but the struggle we have entered will not end with success in Iraq. Overcoming terrorism, and bringing greater freedom to the nations of the Middle East, is the work of decades. To prevail, America will need the swift and able transformed military you will help to build and lead. America will need a generation of Arab linguists, and experts on Middle Eastern history and culture. America will need improved intelligence capabilities to track threats and expose the plans of unseen enemies.

Above all, America will need perseverance. This conflict will take many turns, with setbacks on the course to victory. Through it all, our confidence comes from one unshakable belief: We believe, in Ronald Reagan’s words, that ‘the future belongs to the free’. And we’ve seen the appeal of liberty with our own eyes. We have seen freedom firmly established in former enemies like Japan and Germany. We have seen freedom arrive, on waves of unstoppable progress, to nations in Latin America, and Asia, and Africa, and Eastern Europe. Now freedom is stirring in the Middle East, and no one should bet against it.

In the years immediately after World War II ended, our nation faced more adversity and danger with the rise of imperial communism. In 1947, communist forces were pressing a civil war in Greece, and threatening Turkey. More than two years after the Nazi surrender, there was still starvation in Germany, reconstruction seemed to be faltering, and the Marshall Plan had not yet begun. In 1948, Berlin was blockaded on the orders of Josef Stalin. In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded a nuclear weapon, and communists in China won their revolution.

All of this took place in the first four years of the Cold War. If that generation of Americans had lost its nerve, there would have been no ‘long twilight struggle’, only a long twilight. But the United States and our allies kept faith with captive peoples, and stayed true to the vision of a democratic Europe. And that perseverance gave all the world a lesson in the power of liberty.

We are now about three years into the war against terrorism. We have overcome great challenges, we face many today, and there are more ahead. This is no time for impatience and self-defeating pessimism. These times demand the kind of courage and confidence that Americans have shown before. Our enemy can only succeed if we lose our will and faith in our own values. And ladies and gentlemen, our will is strong. We know our duty. By keeping our word, and holding firm to our values, this generation will show the world the power of liberty once again. »

Comme de juste, on n’aura lu sur ce discours qu’un paragraphe dans Le Monde du 4 juin, et rien dans Le Temps: c’est plus facile pour dénoncer ensuite un bourbier sans stratégie…