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Stability is not the answer

Reader comment on item: [The Hamas Electoral Victory:] Democracy's Bitter Fruit

Submitted by Yossi Ben-Aharon (Israel), Jan 29, 2006 at 07:56

If you direct Western governments toward focusing on stability, you will, unfortunately, play right into the hands of the classic State Department Arabist contention, that if you aim for freedom and democracy in the Arab world, you will get anarchy and civil strife.

They will point to the success of the previous policy, which produced long periods of relative stability in such countries as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, which ensured access to strategic oil and enabled the promotion of peace processes, citing, for example, the Madrid Conference, and the peace agreements between Israel and some of its neighbors.

I would therefore recommend placing greater emphasis on some of the basic attributes on which democracy was founded in Western societies. These include a free press, ensuring basic human rights, equality before the law, freedom of movement, freedom from wilfull arrest, etc.
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