[lit-ideas] Re: The winner has already been selected?

  • From: "Andreas Ramos" <andreas@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2004 12:26:47 -0800

"Phil Enns" <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx>

> ... and moved Iraqi politics towards democracy (that remains to be
> seen (but I am sure we all hope that it turns out that Andreas is wrong,
> right?)).

Okay, Phil, time to learn a new idea about Iraq. Because the "bringing 
democracy to the Arab 
world" idea is officially dead.

Yes, officially. The White House has given up on the democracy-for-Arabs 
project. They 
finally realized that not only it wouldn't work, it would also wreck US 
influence in the 
area. Read below.


Bush officials abandon push for Arab democracy


By Joel Brinkley

New York Times

WASHINGTON - When Secretary of State Colin Powell and other senior American 
officials attend 
a summit meeting in Morocco next Saturday that is intended to promote democracy 
across the 
Arab world, they have no plans to introduce any political initiatives to 
democratic change.

President Bush started speaking in 2002 about the need to bring democracy to 
the Arab 
nations. Since then, however, the popular view of the United States in the 
region has grown 
so dark, even hateful, that American officials are approaching the meeting with 
caution and 
with a package of financial and social initiatives that have only a scant 
relationship to 
the original goal of political change.

Administration officials and their allies defend the change in strategy, saying 
the United 
States should no longer try to take the lead.

``Others have gotten involved in the political side, and that is a good 
thing,'' said Lorne 
W. Craner, who was assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights 
until August 
and now is president of the International Republican Institute, a 
organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide.

Contribute to change

The Middle East Partnership Initiative, which has received $264 million from 
Congress since 
1993, has a political component. But a study by two scholars at the Brookings 
published this week, found that it was ``increasingly shifting its resources 
from democracy 
promotion and engagement with local volunteer organizations, to the far less 
path of regime-led economic development.''

That ``can have the effect of subsidizing an Arab government's attempts to 
build a kinder, 
gentler autocracy,'' it added. ``The whole thing rings hollow,'' said Steven A. 
Cook, a 
fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan research group based 
in New York. 
``What is missing is not technical and financial know-how, it is the political 
will to 
reform,'' said Cook, whose field of study is political change in the Arab 
world. ``I don't 
think these programs mesh with the president's rhetoric.''

Anger about a perceived bias toward Israel in Washington and about the war in 
Iraq have made 
the United States unpopular among many in the Arab world. Then, in February, 
when an Arabic 
newspaper published a draft of a Bush administration plan urging the world's 
nations to press for political change in the Middle East, several Arab leaders 
erupted in 
anger. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, a close ally of Washington, called the 

The administration quickly abandoned the plan.

The unspoken fact behind all of the discussions, said Leslie Campbell, director 
of the 
Middle East Program at the National Democratic Institute for International 
Affairs, a 
government-financed group that promotes democracy worldwide, ``is that we are 
trying to work 
with a bunch of people who are going to be kicked out of office'' if democratic 
change moves 
forward. For now, he added, ``it's easier to support free-trade agreements than 

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