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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Silent support for American policy: political reform and the fight against al Qaeda 

It is possible to be both right and unpopular at the same time. Today, the United States is both in the Arab world.

Increasingly, the Arab world is understanding that only significant political reform -- the embrace of popular, rather than divine, sovereignty -- can save it from Islamic fascism. We see this in big ways -- the bloody rise of representative government in Iraq, the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and the first hints of political reform in Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and even Saudi Arabia. We also see it in small ways -- such as newspaper editorials that agree with American policy without saying as much. The Daily Star of Lebanon, for example, wrote an editorial yesterday on the importance of political reform to Jordan's fight against al Qaeda.
The unfulfilled desire for economic opportunities and political reform has long been a source of popular discontent in Jordan. But since the recent triple suicide bombings in the kingdom, the need for reform has become even more urgent. The attacks, which were the work of Jordanian-born Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, underscore the deadly ramifications of popular dissatisfaction with the regime. Zarqawi, who grew up in the poverty and squalor of the Jordanian town of Zarqa, is a text-book case of how political and economic conditions prompt masses of young men to join the ranks of Osama bin Laden and his ilk.

Emphasizing this point, a respected think tank, the International Crisis Group, warned that "the attacks should be seen as a wake-up call." It warned that the kingdom's lack of economic opportunity, centralized government, excessive control by the security and intelligence services, limits on freedom of expression, lack of an effective political arena and rampant corruption are feeding popular discontent.

Jordan has, in effect, been oppressing and impoverishing its people in the name of stability. For two generations at least, the United States has supported this trade-off in Jordan and elsewhere. This policy came to an end in 2003, when the Bush administration renounced it explicitly. In a great speech at the National Endowment for Democracy on November 6, 2003 (which every student and critic of American foreign policy must read), Bush said:
Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe -- because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.

The world did not notice, even though Bush repeated himself again and again. Finally, Condoleezza Rice went to Cairo in June 2005 and rammed it down the throats of the Arab world:
For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and we achieved neither.

(The BBC declared Rice's speech "a complete departure" for the United States, apparently having missed the previous 18 months of statements from the Bush White House. No matter. Better late than never.)

The Daily Star agrees with the policy of George Bush's United States, even if our unpopularity is such that it will not say so.

2 Comments:

By Blogger cakreiz, at Sat Nov 26, 12:44:00 PM:

Hmm, so it's conservatives who are proactive and opposed by status quo liberal internationalists. But I thought only liberals were progressives?  

By Anonymous larwyn, at Sat Nov 26, 02:43:00 PM:

Townhall.com's Tim Chapman
reports on poll the LSM will definitely ignore!

"Who ever orchestrated this fiasco...Pelosi? Reid? Kerry?...is quite possibly the world's worst political strategist."

COOK POLITICAL REPORT:
When Dems Sens. criticize Bush's policy on Iraq, does it help/hurt morale of troops in Iraq?

68% Hurts
14% Helps

When Dems criticize Bush's policy on Iraq, do you think they are trying to gain partisan advantage or believe it will help US' efforts in Iraq?
52% Gain political advantage
30% Think will help

Should US military withdraw troops immediately regardless of impact, as Iraq meets goals, or set fixed publicaly avail timetable for withdrawal?
50% as goals met
15% withdraw
29% timetable


"These numbers suggest what many Republicans have been privately saying for a week now: Democrats have classically overreached on the Iraq issue."

Click here: Townhall.com :: Iraq, by the numbers
http://www.townhall.com/blogs/capitolreport/TimChapman/story/2005/11/22/176535.html

American common sense says you can't support the troops by calling them torturers, chemical weapon users, murderers of civilians and fighters of an illegal war.

Hope you'll give this Cook
poll some coverage.  

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