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Japan and the ME are like chalk and cheese

Reader comment on item: After Saddam? Remaking the Mideast

Submitted by S.R.Judah (United Kingdom), Feb 14, 2003 at 08:15

Neither Japan or Korea can be taken as examples for any optimism as regards democracy in the Middle East. Firstly democracy is not just electing governments by popular support. Democracy requires a high degree of tolerance throughout society as a pre-requisite. No such tolerance exists in the Middle East. For instance, the Saudi ambassador to the UK, publicly stated on TV quite recently, that democracy was incompatible with Islam.

Further, as James Carter has pointed out, Japan had a Buddhist philosophy underlying its society. It was in addition in the 1930's, a very advanced industrial society.

There are certain coats that may fit Middle East nations but democracy is not one of them at this moment in time and for some yet in the future.
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