Viva La Middle Eastern Revolutions

The government of Egypt has already been toppled and now there’s turmoil in Libya, Iran, Morocco, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, and Jordan. Know what I say to that?


In fact, this is exactly what we were hoping Iraq would inspire across the Middle East. Here’s W way back in 2003,

“Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran, that freedom can be the future of every nation,” he said.

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“The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.”

He warned that it would be reckless to accept the status quo, so the US had adopted a new “forward” strategy in the Middle East.

“The good and capable people of the Middle East all deserve responsible leadership,” he said.

“For too long, many people in that region have been victims and subjects. They deserve to be active citizens.”

Mr Bush warned that if freedom remained stifled in the Middle East the region would remain “a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export”.

So why would conservatives who’ve been hoping for just this sort of Democracy-quake get knock-kneed now? Because it may very well lead to radical Islamists gaining more power. Is that a legitimate fear? Absolutely.

However, there’s a counter to that argument: The tyrannical governments in the Middle East were a big part of the reason why radical Islam turned into a global problem in the first place.

The people of these nations were frustrated and unhappy, they were fed anti-American propaganda by their dictators, and radical Islam gained respect in part because it was a foe of those regimes.

In other words, it’s like lancing a boil in these countries. Although this may be necessary for these nations to get healthy, what comes out in the short term may be pretty nasty. Things MAY VERY WELL get worse before the get better.

But stability hasn’t produced a pretty picture either. Dictatorships, grinding poverty, anti-American sentiment, and violent religious extremism that’s being exported all over the world isn’t something we should want to see locked into place long term. It’s not good for the people in those countries, it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for the world.

The people of the Middle East are starting to stagger towards democracy. It’s not going to be a smooth path. Crazies may take over in some places. Some leaders will promise democracy and deliver dictatorship. It could lead to more hostility or less help in the war on terror for a time.

However, the flip side is that this is a necessary step towards freedom. We’re certainly not going to invade, occupy, baby every country in the region, and guide them towards democracy. We did that for Iraq, but if the rest of these nations want to get it done, they’re going to have to do it themselves. So, if not now, then when?

We were hoping for this, folks; so say a prayer, cross your fingers, and time will tell how it all plays out.

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