domingo, julho 17, 2005
The elections? effect (Iraq) on the wider Arab world was likewise both immediate and profound. Millions of Arabs watched on television as Iraqis exercised their political rights, and were moved to ask the obvious question: why are Iraqis the only Arabs voting in free elections?and doing so, moreover, under American aegis and protection? The rest is so well known as barely to merit repeating. The Beirut spring. Syria?s withdrawal from Lebanon. Open demonstrations and the beginnings of political competition in Egypt. Women?s suffrage in Kuwait. Small but significant steps toward democratization in the Gulf. Bashar Assad?s declared intent to legalize political parties in Syria, purge the ruling Baath party, sponsor free municipal elections in 2007, and move toward a market economy.1
... In Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere in the Arab world, the forces of democratic liberalization have emerged on the political stage in a way that was unimaginable just two years ago. They have been energized and emboldened by the Iraqi example and by American resolve. Until now, it was widely assumed that the only alternative to pan-Arabist autocracy, to the Nassers and the Saddams, was Islamism. We now know, from Iraq and Lebanon, that there is another possibility, and that America has given it life.
The Iraqi elections had one final effect. They so acutely embarrassed foreign critics, especially in Europe, that we began to see a rash of headlines asking the rhetorical question: Was Bush Right? The answer to that is: yes, so far. The democratic project has been launched, against the critics and against the odds. That in itself is an immense historical achievement. But success will require maturation?a neoconservatism of discrimination and restraint, prepared to examine both its principles and its practice in shaping a truly governing philosophy.
This sort of talk immediately opens itself up to the accusation of disingenuousness and hypocrisy. After all, the United States retains cozy relations with autocracies of various stripes, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Russia. Besides, if we place ourselves on the side of all dissidents everywhere, must we not declare our solidarity not only with democrats but with Islamist dissidents sitting in Pakistani, Egyptian, Saudi, and Russian jails?
Some conservatives (and many liberals) have proposed instead that we be true to the universalist language of the President?s second inaugural address and go after the three principal Islamic autocracies: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.3 Not so fast, and not so hard. Autocracies they are, and in many respects nasty ones. But doing this would be a mistake.
In Egypt, we certainly have liberal resources that should be supported and encouraged. But, keeping in mind the Algerian experience, we should be wary of bringing down the whole house of cards and thereby derailing any progress from authoritarianism to liberal democracy. Saudi Arabia has a Byzantine culture, and an equally Byzantine method of governance, which must be delicately reformed short of overthrow. And Pakistan, which has great potential for democracy, is simply too critical as a military ally in the war on al Qaeda to risk anything right now. Pervez Musharraf is no bastard; but even if he were, he is ours. We should be encouraging the evolution of democracy in all of these countries, but relentless and ruthless means?of the kind we employed in Afghanistan and Iraq and should, perhaps short of direct military invention, be employing in Syria?are better applied to enemies, not friends.
What is interesting is that the Bush administration, in practice, is proceeding precisely along these lines. It pushes on Mubarak, but gently. It moves even more gingerly with Saudi Arabia, fearing what may emerge in the short term if the royal kleptocracy is deposed. And, because Pakistan is so central to the war on terror, it disturbs not a hair on the head of Musharraf. Charles Krauthammer
Leiam todo o artigo aqui. Vale a pena.