June 26, 2009

THE LINE IN THE SAND:

No Choice but Democracy (Michael Gerson, June 26, 2009, Washington Post)

Some American conservatives found Burkean lessons in the fading freedom agenda, asserting that democracy is a fragile flower that grows only in a rich cultural soil tended by Jeffersons and Hamiltons. Many liberals seemed relieved that President Bush didn't seem right after all, though this involved global setbacks for political liberalism. It may seem strange that anyone should feel a thrill of vindication when the ideals of their nation appear to falter. But let us judge not, that we be not judged.

Now spring is returning. January's local elections in Iraq favored secular nationalists instead of clerical parties. In Lebanon, Hezbollah was defeated in an open and vigorous vote. Kuwaiti women have been elected to parliament for the first time. And in Iran, brave women and men have demonstrated that democracy, not just nihilism, counts martyrs in the Muslim world.

If one lesson stands out from these years of bipolarity, it is this: Experts will overinterpret events to confirm preexisting views. No snapshot in this complex historical process is the permanent picture. Every idealist will have his day; every realist will have his night.

But while the development of democracy in the Middle East is not linear, it is also not random.


Pardon our whiggishness but, then why does it form a line?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 26, 2009 6:34 AM
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