Thursday, February 17, 2005

One Step at a Time: Joseph Braude, an author who has lived in most Middle Eastern capitals and runs the blog Cordova, has a story in The New Republic asking the world to show some patience with the progress of democracy in the Middle East. This is in response to Bush and other Americans who would like to see actual elections in Egypt come spring when its "president", Hosni Mubarak, is up for re-election.

While democracy can flourish in the Middle East, he argues, we can't rush it. And in Mubarak's case, keeping him in office for a while longer may actually aid democracy in the long run, even if it puts it off in the mean time.

I'm probably too impatient when it comes to these sorts of things. But I can understand the argument that if we force it, we could break it. In Iraq, I believe, we couldn't wait any longer with Saddam Hussein in power. Now that we have used our military to install democracy there, we need to take a step back to see how that affects the rest of the region.

Of course, we should still keep a watchful eye on the situation, perhaps even providing a diplomatic nudge here and there to keep the results positive. But nobody has ever expected immediate changes from our liberation of Iraq. Unfortunately, this War on Terrorism and its allies has a long way to go.


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