Saturday, February 07, 2004

The War: Democracy in the Middle East

I’ve been reviewing President Bush’s Wednesday speech on democracy in the Middle East. This paragraph stuck out:
The tradition of liberty has advocates in every culture and in every religion. Our great challenges support the momentum of freedom in the greater Middle East. The stakes could not be higher. As long as that region is a place of tyranny and despair and anger, it will produce men and movements that threaten the safety of Americans and our friends. We seek the advance of democracy for the most practical of reasons: because democracies do not support terrorists or threaten the world with weapons of mass murder.
Yes, but the tradition of despotism has its advocates in every culture and particularly in every religion. The Middle East is a place of tyranny, despair and anger particularly because of militant Islam—a force President Bush does not seek to challenge. And even if the Arab states held democratic elections, those elections would still lead to Islamic rule—and ultimately, Islamic dictatorships.

The President then offered the following:

America is also taking the side of reformers who have begun to change the Middle East. We're providing loans and business advice to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship in the Middle East. We've established business internships for women, to teach them the skills of enterprise, and to help them achieve social and economic equality. We're supporting the work of judicial reformers who demand independent courts and the rule of law. At the request of countries in the region, we're providing Arabic language textbooks to boys and girls. We're helping education reformers improve their school systems.
Loans to businesses? School books? Considering the administration refuses to offer even moral support to the reformers in Iran, business loans to Qatar are an absolute triviality.

But in a larger sense, the hope of making the Middle East free is not practical, not as long as militant Islam dominates as a cultural force. The practical strategy is simple— the United States should crush any nation that threatens its security. It would be far better for the US to shock the Islamic world into realizing the impotency of its institutions than to perpetually pander to it.

President Bush’s speech was intended as a tribute to Sir Winston Churchill. I say in this regard the President would be wise to reflect that not once did Churchill refer to Nazism as a philosophy of peace.

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