He was complaining that Bush was no friend of Israel because Bush was demanding the halt of settlements in the West Bank
Well, Mr. Kung, I say build settlements in the West Bank and annex Lebanon as well and make a country out of it. But I do understand that there are some hair-trigger Jews who think in quite bombastic terms — Left or right. Just as black degrade the meaning of racism when they cry wolf, so Jews can do the same thing regarding anti-Semitism. That said, I wouldn't doubt that James Baker is a real asshole.
But I believe we are now on a retrograde path, back to the old days where an aristocracy determines the fate of the rest of us and uses the powers of government to keep us in line.
That’s not even seriously debatable. The EU is a living example.
As for what unleashed modern freedom-based economic and political systems, it likely require (in no particular order):
+ Breaking the hegemony of the Catholic Church
+ Breaking the hegemony of various feudal tyrants (political, social, and market-oriented tyrants who tended to control all)
+ Unleashing of technology and putting it to use
And, really, that last one is nearly all-telling. Materially improving the lives of people requires increasing productivity. And to be able to use inventions and such, you have to be able to break through or break down existing autocratic orders.
And I’m no Catholic-basher. But I believe that, just as with Islam (but not anywhere near as bad), where Catholics rule, you’re not going to get the kind of open-market, entrepreneurial economy we’ve gotten used to. The Germans have their faults. But one wonders if they would be the powerhouse they are if they were predominantly Catholic instead of Lutheran. What would South America be today if it had been settled by Protestants? There are just a whole set of different goals and values implicit in this.