Monday, March 21, 2005

A Brief History Lesson

/ defining / democracy /

Dilip Hiro reminds everyone on some basic facts about US history in bringing democracy to the Middle East. Should be required reading, for anyone that has bought into the Bushite pro-democracy rhetoric...:
"The United States flaunts the banner of democracy in the Middle East only when that advances its economic, military, or strategic interests. The history of the past six decades shows that whenever there has been conflict between furthering democracy in the region and advancing American national interests, U.S. administrations have invariably opted for the latter course. Furthermore, when free and fair elections in the Middle East have produced results that run contrary to Washington's strategic interests, it has either ignored them or tried to block the recurrence of such events."

Meanwhile Tony Karon in the Haaretz warns that Arab democracy might not have the results that the neocons think it will. He also makes an excellent point about extremists and elections - well beyond the capacity of the Bush clique to grasp:

If the Bush doctrine is a clear-eyed attempt to weaken the appeal of terrorism by creating genuine democracy in the Arab world, giving the Islamists and other radical groups a peaceful channel to challenge their regimes, then it is indeed a shift of profound significance. Having Hamas, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups participate in electoral politics is infinitely preferable to allowing them to serve as a mythic symbol of popular frustration, unburdened by any accountability for good governance.

But whether the Bush administration is pursuing democratization fully cognizant of the consequences of success - oblivion for many of its traditional allies, and the empowering of long-time nemeses - is an open question. The triumphalist rhetoric of recent weeks suggests that when it comes to the consequences of Arab democracy, many eyes in Washington remain tightly shut.

Via the Cursor...

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