The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Friday, November 19, 2004

              The "Democratic Show"
The post-9/11 plan of the Bush administration has been a fairly straightforward one - the wholesale transformation of the Arab Middle East. The creation of democracy has been the goal, and it has informed most of the actions the US has taken in the region. The first two targets of this transformation have been Afghanistan, which just held its first elections in its history, and Iraq which will hold elections soon. This attempt at transformation has proceeded despite the protestations criticisms of the very people one would expect would support such radical change - the self proclaimed "progressives" of the world. And despite all the ankle-biting, President Bush has pushed on with this agenda. It is interesting to note how Natan Sharansky described this determination in his discussion with Bush..
"I told the president, 'There is a great difference between politicians and dissidents. Politicians are focused on polls and the press. They are constantly making compromises. But dissidents focus on ideas. They have a message burning inside of them. They would stand up for their convictions no matter what the consequences.'

"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue - despite all the critics and the resistance you faced - you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world.'"
Victor Hanson describes the US, in the pursuit of spreading democracy, as The Real Humanists.
In truth, George Bush's radical efforts to cleanse the world of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, bring democracy to the heart of the Arab world, and isolate Yasser Arafat were the most risky and humane developments in the Middle East in a century - old-fashioned idealism backed with force in a postmodern age of abject cynicism and nihilism.
Undoubtedly bringing democracy to the Middle East will not be easy, there seems to be some progress towards it already. Amir Taheri shows that there is reason for hope.
Nevertheless, the overall picture is encouraging. Even the most reactionary elements, which once deemed elections "a Jewish-Christian trick" to divide Muslims, are now prepared to pay at least lip service to the practice.

More important: Elections of an acceptable nature, though certainly not fully free and fair, have become part of life in a number of countries, such as Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria and Morocco. Afghanistan's first free elections ever, held last month, has had a big impact on the entire region: If the Afghans did it, why not us?
|| Nudnik 12:50 PM
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