Monday, August 22, 2005

Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?

You've heard it over and over, from pols at every point along the political spectrum: If we could seed democracy in the world's most dangerous places, we'd have a lot less terrorism to cope with. Well, maybe it's time to give up that optimistic thought. Here's how professor F. Gregory Gause III reasons on that topic, in Foreign Affairs. It's worth your time. Then tell me what you think, won't you?

An important part of his discussion:
The emphasis on electoral democracy will not, however, serve immediate U.S. interests either in the war on terrorism or in other important Middle East policies.

It is thus time to rethink the U.S. emphasis on democracy promotion in the Arab world. Rather than push for quick elections, the United States should instead focus its energy on encouraging the development of secular, nationalist, and liberal political organizations that could compete on an equal footing with Islamist parties. Only by doing so can Washington help ensure that when elections finally do occur, the results are more in line with U.S. interests.

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