Uncle Sam in the Arab Street

If America promotes democracy in the Middle East, it must be prepared for some very unpleasant consequences.

Issue: Spring 2004

It is established U.S. policy that the promotion of democracy in the Middle East is vitally necessary to secure America's strategic interests. Washington policymakers and pundits routinely proclaim the virtues of a democratic order and the seamless compatibility of America's interests and ideals. In light of the tragedies of September 11, Washington's long-standing approach that saw authoritarian rulers as the most suitable custodians of America's strategic imperatives seems naive, even reckless. President Bush's disdain for such realpolitik calculations was all too evident when he proclaimed that "sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long-run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."

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