Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blaming Democracy!!

When someone tries to analyze a situation from one angle, you can get to very disturbing conclusions. When you ignore 60 years of conflicts, wars and political maneuvers, and focus on the last few years, you will be misleader. The Middle East conflict is a tool used for leverage by many countries, by the communist block, the imperialists, the pacifiers, the extremists from both side and the dictators of the region. All took benefit from it, but the population of the region. And today someone is trying to blame the current situation on Democracy. In my opinion that's short sighted, but I can't blame the person who wrote the following article. In fact, did the Arab leaders succeed in proofing that Democracy is not the solution?? I think they did :(

FROM GAZA TO LEBANON to Iraq, the Middle East is aflame, and the vaunted free elections that have been held in each country have hardly produced peace, stability or good governance. Some Arabs are now claiming that democracy itself is discredited. That's neither fair nor true.

Democracy is the only path to a government for and by the people. And without the competition of free elections, politicians have no real incentive to enact reform, and citizens have no meaningful way to hold them accountable. But it is simplistic to equate elections with democracy. Nor should Americans expect elections to produce outcomes we approve.

Early this decade, Washington was fiercely opposed to Palestinian elections that would surely have legitimized the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's leadership against his weak rival, Hamas. After Arafat's death, Hamas won elections that were unquestionably free and fair, and this week, Gaza has descended into a fierce civil war. The U.S. applauded the Iraqi and Lebanese elections. Yet sectarian strife, malevolent neighbors and crippling historical legacies have conspired to nullify the resulting democratic gains.

It is often said that were free elections to be held tomorrow, Islamists would sweep into power across the Middle East. That's because Islamists are seen as an antidote to corruption and despotism, and they are organized. So governments such as Egypt's have virtually crushed secular democratic opposition, while the Islamists continue to spread their messages in mosques and underground. Cairo banned Muslim Brotherhood candidates from parliamentary elections last week, beating up poll watchers and turning away voters in heavily Islamist neighborhoods. Such repression is intolerable, of course. Still, the central challenge to the Bush administration's democracy promotion strategy is the inconvenient but pressing question: What does the U.S. do when elections produce leaders who despise the United States, or whom the United States despises?

First, we must practice patience, which has not been a traditional American virtue. It is worth remembering that in U.S. foreign policy, as in medicine, bad outcomes are sometimes inevitable. Elections should not have been expected to cure the poisoning of the Palestinian body politic after 40 years of war, occupation and strife. Elections could not prevent Syria from assassinating Lebanese politicians. And medievalist Al Qaeda has no respect for the ballot. That does not mean balloting should not take place.

Second, the U.S. should reiterate that merely getting elected does not make a government legitimate. Civilized nations also judge each other on the basis of their adherence to the rule of law, political pluralism, minority rights, an independent judiciary, freedom of speech and press and respect for international borders. U.S. support for democratic ideals does not obligate it to recognize a freely elected government of Nazis, genocidal thugs or terrorists.

The Bush administration would be wise to recalibrate its rhetoric and promote more realistic expectations. But it should not retreat from our democratic principles.


This reminds me of a joke.
A scientist was studying flies. One part of his experiments is trying to teach a fly to obey his orders. So he uses some lab flies and he noticed that every time he put one of them on a table and said “fly”, it flied :))). Then to make his point, he took one and cut its wings, put it on the table and said “fly”. Obviously it did not, so he went and wrote his conclusion “When you cut the wing of a fly, it becomes deaf” :)))


Tarek Kahlaoui said...

Well I'd not be really surprised with the editorialist line of the LAT... especially with its new staff and its high financial problems (and obviously the prospective new owners)

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