Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The United States needs to support all democracies

US policy toward the protesters in Muslim countries keeps changing. All we did in Egypt was cheer from the sidelines. In Libya we are bombing government targets. In Bahrain we are allowing the Saudi and Emirates armies crush protests. Is this a case of, 'He may be a dictator, but he's my dictator?'
We can look further back in our past and see how we have interacted with or ignored previous revolutions in the Muslim world. Last year's protests against Iran's fake election elicited no more than a few 'tut tuts' from our current administration.
Hints of weapons of mass destruction and attacks by Al Qaeda encouraged the Bush administration to remove governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and set up 'democracies' there.

Clinton watched Somalia degenerate into a failed state.

Bush senior had a legitimate invasion of Iraq into Kuwait to deal with and he drew in a broad coalition to push them back to the previous status quo.
Democracy played no part in the war, though women's voting rights became an issue after the war was over.
Reagan aided the Afghan mujaheddin in their war against the Russians.
Carter was around for the last great push for democracy in Iran but only annoyed the new leaders by siding with the previous dictator.
Why the inconsistency in today's administration? Is it all about oil? Are we so afraid of annoying our favorite Saudi princes that we'll let them use troops against their civilians but not Qaddafi? Or do we still harbor resentments against the colonel from the Pan Am 103 explosion? Oil wasn't an issue in Egypt. Then again it isn't an issue in Syria or Yemen and we're ignoring the revolutions there.

Are we only assisting revolutions when we don't think there will be a religious theocracy put in place? Hard to say, since any of these countries could go in that direction.

I heard some great comments recently from Libyan rebels. All about how much they appreciate the help they're receiving from the U.S. So I have a suggestion for this administration. Let's show the rest of the world that we stand for democracy. Not just the kind of palatable democracy we see in Europe, but the sometimes scary democracies we have seen in the Middle East. Let's support them all. Dictators always fall eventually, corrupt democracies get replaced by good democracies eventually. Let's pledge to support every move towards a stable democracy.

Not with ground troops but with tactical air strikes. When a government attacks a peaceful demonstration that seems to encompass the majority of the country and that majority asks us for help, let's help them. We're doing it in Libya, let's do the same if Iran rises again. Let's do it in Yemen and Syria, let's help the Jordanians, the Lebanese, the Bahranians. Let's show that the light of freedom that they all have seen on our statue of liberty means something to the world after all.


  1. I love the passion with which this was written (it helps that I agree with your thoughts as well!). - Angela

  2. Thanks Angela.

    Always nice to hear from you.