Former CIA and State Department Middle Eastern specialist Reuel Marc Gerecht, in an essay in which he argues that a second Persian Gulf War will not destabilize any regimes, argues that the only possible destabilising act that the US could commit would be to install a democracy in Iraq.
The one truly unsettling thing a second Persian Gulf war might unleash is Iraqi democracy. President Bush's rhetoric about Muslims' right to freedom has been unprecedented. Yet the administration has been vague about its aspirations for Iraq after Saddam Hussein. There may be good reasons for this vagueness, but it may also indicate that while promotion of democracy is high on the administration's list of ideals, it is low on the list of priorities. Practical American support for liberal ideas in the Arab world has been virtually nil. The administration recently faced its first really hard test: Mr. Mubarak's imprisonment of the democracy advocate Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American. The administration failed to put any serious pressure on Egypt. This is the kind of corrupt stability in the Middle East that does us no honor and ultimately harms our interests. Bin Ladenism's appeal is unlikely to end in a Muslim world dominated by such unchanging despotism.
I think it is imperative that the US install a democratic system in Iraq in order to remove the argument that the US doesn't really value democracy. Install a democracy in a mostly Arab country and let the Arabs see for themselves whether they really do believe the set of values that are required in order to make a real democracy function.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2002 December 12 05:30 PM Civilizations Clash Of|