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Thinking outside the box

Reader comment on item: A Neo-Conservative's Caution

Submitted by Kenneth Sikorski (Finland), Mar 9, 2005 at 04:21

I agree with Mr.Pipes' assessment of the current situation now befalling the greater region of the M.E., the need for caution is paramount, and for all the reasons Mr.Pipes spells out. While we all should be pleased with the recent developments in the countries mentioned, we need to keep our euphoria in check. I also feel the need to express 'cautious optimism' for the future of the ME as well, by insisting on the need to remain consistantly persistant on democratic change.

For exactly all those reasons that Mr.Pipes detailed in his article, we should be very wary of the M.E.'s 'popular vote', for we may not like whom they end up electing. In the short term, democratically elected Muslim gov'ts that continue to be hostile to US interests, could become a major stumbling block for the continuation of the drive to democratize the Middle East. One needs just to look at Algeria, and hear the collective sigh of relief by the world's western capitals, upon hearing the news of the elections being annulled.

But viewed with the long term in mind, an unwanted Algerian scenario may eventually be turned on its ear, with the emergence of a viable and equally vocal opposition. That was something that these tyrannically oppressive M.E. governments couldn't allow to develope, and it was just that vocal opposition that was unleashed during the initial drive for democracy. What the US now needs to be emphasizing just as strongly, is the need for a healthy opposition as well as the respect for human rights. The recent development in Quwait where women are demanding that basic of human rights, the right to vote, is symptomatic of the 'democratic genie' being let out of the bottle, and that is to be encouraged, and I dare say championed!

Presently we are witnessing the U.S. administration bluntly reminding the 'wayward' Russian government of Vladimir Putin, that its 'democracy 'stupid', and the emerging democratic states of the ME, will have to be reminded as well. But it doesn't mean we should be 'pessimistic' of democracy's chance at taking root in the ME, .....just optimistically cautious.

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