Friday, March 18, 2005

Projection Much?

Jesse brings us Krauthammer's latest.

Those who claimed, with great certainty, that Arabs are an exception to the human tendency toward freedom, that they live in a stunted and distorted culture that makes them love their chains -- and that the notion the United States could help trigger a democratic revolution by militarily deposing their oppressors was a fantasy -- have been proved wrong.

About which Jesse writes, "I think the claim's been made often enough that someone, somewhere, should have a quote which in some way proves it."

I will step up to the challenge! This was written in the Washington Post on October 14, 1993:

But Russia is hardly the only place where we will have to make fateful choices between authoritarians and totalitarians. We face the same question in the Arab world, where Islamic fundamentalist forces are pressing their campaign against the moderate regimes of Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia.

In the case of Egypt, the question is becoming acute. President Hosni Mubarak is in the midst of a desperate campaign against Islamic extremists adept at terror and committed to a Khomeini-like Islamic state. The fall of Egypt, linchpin of the Middle East, would be an international calamity second only to the fall of Russia, linchpin of Eurasia. Mubarak is no doubt asking us, "Do you support me in my war against the fundamentalists?" Our answer has to be: Given the alternative -- yes.

In Algeria last year, Islamic fundamentalists may well have won a democratic election but were denied power and indeed outlawed by the military. In the face of the military's usurpation, the United States was silent, a silence correctly interpreted as tacit support.

Are we not violating the very tenets of democracy that are supposed to be the moral core of American foreign policy? No. Because democracy does not mean one man, one vote, one time. In the German elections of 1932 and 1933, the Nazis won more votes than any other party. We know what they did with the power thus won. Totalitarians are perfectly capable of achieving power through democracy, then destroying it.

Moreover, democracy does not just mean elections. It also means constitutionalism -- the limitation of state power -- in political life, and tolerance and pluralism in civic life. Yeltsin and Mubarak are clearly more committed to such values than those who would overthrow them. That is why it would be not just expedient but right to support undemocratic measures undertaken to avert a far more anti-democratic outcome. Democracy is not a suicide pact.

by none other than.... Charles Krauthammer!