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September 16, 2007

Arab Spring

Matt, from 2006:

It's hard to believe that so recently, the American mainstream's enthusiasm for the "successes" of Bush's democracy-promotion endeavor was so intense that liberals were overwhelmingly cowed into silence. What the successes were, exactly, was always hard to say. Iraq was, at the time, already being torn asunder by violent sectarian divisions that were merely re-inscribed by an election in which everyone voted for a sectarian party. Lebanon's "Cedar Revolution," meanwhile, didn't actually change the country's electoral system at all. Reforms in the pro-American Arab states proved to be chimerical -- Kuwait let women as well as men vote in elections for powerless offices, Saudi Arabia let people vote for powerless offices, and Mubarak promised to hold a fair election but then didn't, you know, hold one. Cruelest of all, however, was the treatment of the long-suffering Palestinians. For years, Bush had informed them that no pressure would be brought to bear on their Israeli occupiers to settle the territorial issue until the Palestinian Authority reformed its internal procedures and ended the corrupt and authoritarian rule of the Fatah Movement. Eventually, Yasser Arafat died, elections were held, and the main Palestinian opposition movement, Hamas, won. Palestinians were then informed that there would be no negotiations. Having been ordered to vote, you see, they voted for the wrong party.

Three cheers for democracy!

September 16, 2007 | Permalink


I don't know why so few people are willing to say that the administration doesn't actually care about fair elections, either here or abroad, so all of this 'democracy' blathering on their part is really just about the visuals, the window dressing, not any principles of self-governance. In fact, both at home and overseas, the more honest & open the election, the less happy they're likely to be with the results. Very revealing, IMO.

Posted by: latts | Sep 16, 2007 1:07:39 PM

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