Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Fouad Ajami:

It was not historical naiveté that had given birth to the Bush administration's campaign for democracy in Arab lands. In truth, it was cruel necessity, for the campaign was born of the terrors of 9/11. America had made a bargain with Arab autocracies, and the bargain had failed. It was young men reared in schools and prisons in the very shadow of these Arab autocracies who came America's way on 9/11. We had been told that it was either the autocracies or the furies of terror. We were awakened to the terrible recognition that the autocracies and the terror were twins, that the rulers in Arab lands were sly men who displaced the furies of their people onto foreign lands and peoples.
Wow. There's more:

The belligerence that was loose in the peninsula two or three years earlier appears milder now, as new ideas of tolerance struggle to take hold. This assertion by George W. Bush that despotism need not be the Arab destiny is about the only bond between the United States and the Arab world. In its optimism, this diplomacy of freedom recalls that brief moment after the Great War when Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points held out the promise of liberty to those Arab and Muslim lands. To be sure, there are the "usual suspects" among the Arabs who are averse to the message and to the American messenger, and our pollsters and reporters know the way to them. But this crowd does not reflect the broader demand for a new political way. We have given tyranny the patience of decades. Surely we ought to be able to extend a measure of indulgence to freedom's meandering path.
Read, read, read.

1 comment:

montana urban legend said...

"To be fair, we could not find our way to its politically literate classes, for they were given to a defective political tradition."

Great quote.