Saturday, September 17, 2005

Arab democracy

George Bush claims (with dubious credibility, it is true) that the goal of our invasion of Iraq is to create a democracy "in the heart" of the Arab world, which his house intellectuals hypothesize will provide a positive demonstration effect for the rest of the region.

But what would the policy outlook of an Arab democracy look like? This is a question that American neocons typically avoid asking for themselves; they presume that any democracy would be pro-American (and pro-Israeli).

The Israelis, of course, don't have the luxury of making such presumptions. And Ariel Sharon, who is nothing if not politically astute, appears to have a good idea what Arab democracy would look like, in Palestine anyway. Which is why he's vowing to stop democracy in Palestine. Of course, stopping a free and fair Arab election has multiple virtues: for one thing, it ensures that AIPAC will be able to go on claiming that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East."

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