Monday, November 5, 2007

Promoting Democracy Abroad: Be Careful What You Wish For

President Pervez Musharaff’s declaration of martial law in Pakistan, suspension of the constitution, arrest of Supreme Court justices, and other anti-democratic measures are seen as a major setback for the Bush administration’s agenda of promoting democracy. Pakistan, a nuclear power and ally of the United States in the war on terror, is caught between the desire for democracy on the part of Pakistani moderates and the installation of a strict Muslim regime along the lines of the Taliban on the part of radical extremists.

In recent remarks at the Heritage Foundation, President Bush stated that the desire for liberty was written by the almighty into everyone’s heart. The mullahs and sheikhs that govern the Arab world believe that Allah wrote the truth into everyone’s heart. Islam is not a religion that permits its adherents to live as they wish, abandoning Islam for, say, Christianity.

Selling American values abroad to stem a tide of anti-U.S. sentiment is unlikely to achieve success in the Arab Muslim world. The main reason is that the separation of church and state in the Western world is not present in the Arab Muslim world. Lecturing Arab Muslims on the benefits of American values has exactly the opposite of its intended effect.

Speaking of democracy, President Vladimir Putin enjoys a popularity rating of 80% among the Russian people, far higher than any leader in the Western industrial democracies.

1 comment :

S. W. said...

I am glad that there are still people at the Hoover Institution that are able to look at the world realistically. Other examples that come to my mind are the free elections in the Palestinian Autonomy that led to the victory of Hamas and Alexander Lukashenko's relative popularity in Belarus...