Posted by lex, on February 7, 2006
Continuing a proud tradition of pointing to the work of my betters (who anyway are getting paid for it) while the rest of the world is snapping at my heels, wondering if I haven’t anything better to do given the state the world is in than point to the work of my betters, I offer you this delectation from the routinely excellent Fouad Ajami:
We needn’t wring our hands over the choice made by the Palestinians in the elections… Now the Palestinians will have to live with the choice they have made: Let the leaders in prison, and let the Hamas leaders in their “spider holes” in Damascus, sort out Palestine’s destiny…
It was not historical naiveté that had given birth to the Bush administration’s campaign for democracy in Arab lands. In truth, it was cruel necessity, for the campaign was born of the terrors of 9/11. America had made a bargain with Arab autocracies, and the bargain had failed. It was young men reared in schools and prisons in the very shadow of these Arab autocracies who came America’s way on 9/11. We had been told that it was either the autocracies or the furies of terror. We were awakened to the terrible recognition that the autocracies and the terror were twins, that the rulers in Arab lands were sly men who displaced the furies of their people onto foreign lands and peoples.
This had been the truth that President Bush underscored in his landmark speech to the National Endowment for Democracy on Nov. 6, 2003, proclaiming this prudent Wilsonianism in Arab lands: “Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place for stagnation, resentment and violence for export…”
The “realists” tell us that this is all doomed, that the laws of gravity in the region will prevail, that autocracy, deeply ingrained in the Arab-Muslim lands, is sure to carry the day. Modern liberalism has joined this smug realism, and driven by an animus toward the American leader waging this campaign for liberty, now asserts the built-in authoritarianism of Arab society.
I could quote on and on, but it would be unseemly. Read the rest of it for yourself, if you haven’t already.