One might have hoped that the fiascos resulting from our attempts to promote the "democratization" of Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza would have cooled any &/or everybody's ardor to embroil the U.S. any further in Middle-Eastern affairs.
But one would have hoped in vain. The folks at National Review are right back at their exercise, full of advice on how we ought to try to manipulate events.
Here's Michael Rubin:
"...now the real challenges begin...
"...neutrality is not an option now. Obama should...enunciate a clear timeline for the transition. For example, he should say that only new elections in September 2011 will give Egypt a legitimate government...
"The State Department should avoid the temptation to bless a broad-based transitional government. Not only would this be unwieldy and lead to infighting over who is included and excluded and who has what role, but it could open Egypt more easily to a Kerensky moment...
"The Obama administration should join with any European allies it has left and other regional allies to define both who is a legitimate participant, and what checks-and-balances are necessary to prevent the domination of any single group..."
[I.e., I take it, we have to make sure that the Islamists, who might very well win a genuinely democratic election, are excluded from participation]
And so on and so forth, culminating in this remarkable statement:
"We are in a proxy war with Iran for influence, whether we like it or not..."
To which I can only reply: no we're not - if we don't like it - and I, for one, sure as heck don't like it.
But that's as nothing compared to the Krauthammer:
"...simply being in favor of freedom is not enough. With Egypt in turmoil and in the midst of a perilous transition, we need foreign-policy principles to ensure democracy for the long run...
"As the states of the Arab Middle East throw off decades of dictatorship, their democratic future faces a major threat from the new totalitarianism: Islamism...
"We need a foreign policy that not only supports freedom in the abstract but is guided by long-range practical principles to achieve it — a Freedom Doctrine composed of the following elements:
"The United States supports democracy throughout the Middle East. It will use its influence [!] to help democrats everywhere throw off dictatorial rule.
"Democracy is more than just elections. It requires a free press, the rule of law, the freedom to organize, the establishment of independent political parties, and the peaceful transfer of power. Therefore, the transition to democracy and initial elections must allow time for these institutions, most notably political parties, to establish themselves.
"The only U.S. interest in the internal governance of these new democracies is to help protect them against totalitarians, foreign and domestic. The recent Hezbollah coup in Lebanon and the Hamas dictatorship in Gaza dramatically demonstrate how anti-democratic elements that achieve power democratically can destroy the very democracy that empowered them.
"Therefore, just as during the Cold War the U.S. helped keep European Communist parties out of power (to see them ultimately wither away), it will be U.S. policy to oppose the inclusion of totalitarian parties — the Muslim Brotherhood or, for that matter, Communists — in any government, whether provisional or elected, in newly liberated Arab states...
"We should be clear-eyed about our preferred outcome — real democracies governed by committed democrats — and develop policies to see this through..."
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In other words, we must be against democracy until we're for it. Democracy can wait. The first order of business is to impose modern American-style liberalism on the Saracen.
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So who died and left to America the power, and the right, to bind and to loose, in these far-off countries of which we know next to nothing?