Saturday, March 05, 2011


There's great debate about whether the recent unrest and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East will improve the lives of citizens of those countries--I'm optimistic. But, one thing is clear: contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Arab street doesn't view peace between Israel and Palestine as a pre-condition for change in the region. The protesters want democracy and a modern, functioning economy.

Israel isn't the issue--that was merely an excuse of oppressors and the gullible. The desire to dispatch despots in the region remains whether or not Israel exists. They're not toppling governments because they're angry at Israel.

Freedom is the issue:
America believes that all people are entitled to hope and human rights, to the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. People everywhere prefer freedom to slavery; prosperity to squalor; self-government to the rule of terror and torture.
That was George W. Bush almost a decade ago. He's still right.


suek said...

I watch the happenings in the middle east with little understanding and great concern. John Bolton gave a talk recently where he commented that democracy is not just "let's everybody vote" - the Russians let everybody vote, Saddam let everybody vote. Hamas let everybody vote. In all three cases, there wasn't a whole lt of doubt as to the outcome. Democracy requires an honest system of courts, enforcement, and government. Bolton says he doubts that those who are calling for democracy actually have an understanding of what democracy requires. It isn't in their culture.

Certainly something to consider. If the underlying motivation is really truly a desire to have a democracy, then they have their work cut out for them. I don't know if they can get there - but it would be a good thing if they could. On the other hand, I suspect that there are groups with nefarious goals who are just using those who are tired of being ruled by tyrants in order to impose yet another form of tyranny upon those same people.

I wish them well. True democracy in the middle east would be better for us all. If it's possible.

Warren said...

Bush program helped lay the groundwork in Egypt --
Vote monitors trained with funds from US

OBloodyHell said...

suek: I concur with both the concern and the hope. As noted, the Eastern Europeans are at least a beacon showing it's possible. How much of that derives from the Western influence -- of Rome for some, of Byzantium for others -- one cannot say.

Carl said...

One thing of note is that Tunisia and Egypt (and to some extent Libya) are the most secular of North African nations. Whether that's good, in the sense that the people there want Western democracy, or a bad thing, in the sense that they want more Islam in the government, I can't say.

Lame-R said...

What are the bare minimum ingredients that must exist for a modern republic to emerge in Libya or elsewhere?

To my thinking it is 3 parts:

1) competent system architects, such as Solon, Madison, etc.

2) non-ambitious but effective leaders, in the vein of Cincinnatus, Washington, etc.,

3) a predominately responsible and virtuous society.

Likely there are others, but I can't help thinking that regardless, there's still going to be #2 to contend with, and that's a big crapshoot, imo. But I'd like to hear what y'all think about this.

Carl said...

George Will doesn't think any intervention in Libya is worth it--even a no fly zone.