Democracy in the Middle East: A Dangerous Idea?
Democracy in the Middle East: A Dangerous Idea?
Tuesday, August 28,2007 04:16
By Andrew Albertson
In reference to the Turkish presidential elections underway, Jackson Diehl at the Washington Post writes: "The notion that democracy and Islam are fundamentally incompatible is about to get a resounding rebuke, just at the moment it is threatening to congeal as conventional wisdom in Washington."

In the National Interest Online
gives a taste of a forthcoming argument from Amr Hamzawy and Nathan Brown that "Despite rising disenchantment outside the Arab world regarding Arab democratization, regional political dynamics have been driven to a great extent by an indigenous freedom agenda. In the level of intellectual debate, the battle for democracy has been fought and won. . . ." In response, Ted Galen Carpenter counters that President Bush"s vision of democracy promotion "assumes that when people in the Middle East and people in the West speak of freedom, they have the same concept in mind. There is virtually no evidence to support that belief. For all too many people in the Middle East, freedom means the ability to live the way the local mullah tells them that they ought to."

Similarly, Martin Kramer, Middle East Advisor to presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani
restates his skepticism in "the wisdom of promoting democracy, at a time when the chief beneficiaries of every political opening have been Islamist zealots with fascist tendencies who detest America."