Monday, February 21, 2011

No democracy for you

For the last month or so America has been captivated by the many pro-democracy demonstrations taking place in much of the middle east. For a region thats been battered by dictatorships for so long, such a transition is long overdue. I imagine most freedom loving and fundamentally democratic individuals would agree.
To a large extent, it would appear popular sentiment in America has backed the demonstrators in Egypt and the the other Arab nations.
This has however left many in Israel, and many Israeli backers in America squirming.
Since 1973 , there have been no wars launched by the Arabs against the Israeli's in large part due to the pro-American dictators in power.
So any regime change seems to be threatening he very security of Israel.
Lets set that aside for a second.
Go back to the second gulf war and 9-11. When the question was asked , whether America was paying too high a price for backing Israel over the Arabs, we were told , that we had to back the only democracy in a neighborhood filled with autocratic regimes. Nobody mentioned that the autocrats were in power partially due to America's backing..
 Now that those very same autocrats have been overthrown, and these Arab nations take their first tentative steps towards democracy, how can we not back them?
 How are one kind of people capable of democracy and another kind are not?
Backers of the theory, that democracy is good for us and not for them, will throw Hitler in your face, by saying  "Wasn't Hitler elected democratically? Look how that turned out.."
Yes Hitler won some 30% seats in parliamentary elections. But he was no democrat.. He violated every principle of democracy and used decidedly undemocratic methods on his opponents.
He was destined to lead Germany down the path of destruction, one way or another.
Will these Arab nations elect governments hostile to Israel?
I imagine that is not outside the realm of the possible. But a lot of the anger on the streets is for economic reasons too... That economies thrive in peace times, is no secret. How the Arab street will behave after this transformation is compete , I cannot predict, but I think there will be enough of breathing space, for work to commence on a two state solution , thereby ending the Arab-Israeli conflict..
Yes we are a long way off... but democracy in the arab world is not necessarily a bad thing.  

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