Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Thu1030 2014

Last update05:08 AM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Human Rights
Democracy Support in the Middle East
Democracy Support in the Middle East
As a lapsed and somewhat jaded idealist, I tend to analyze international relations independently of the moral categories that I apply to individuals. Certain regimes are just so beyond the pale that I simply avoid devoting much mental energy to them; North Korea and Burma, you’ll notice, rarely make appearances on the blog. But beyond a visceral repulsion to the extreme offenders
Friday, March 13,2009 09:15
by Judah Grunstein Worldpoliticsreview.com

As a lapsed and somewhat jaded idealist, I tend to analyze international relations independently of the moral categories that I apply to individuals. Certain regimes are just so beyond the pale that I simply avoid devoting much mental energy to them; North Korea and Burma, you"ll notice, rarely make appearances on the blog. But beyond a visceral repulsion to the extreme offenders, I usually find myself unmoved by whether a particular country deserves a certain outcome or not, and am instead drawn to figuring out what combined to make that outcome happen, what might have been done differently to achieve a different result, and what the likelihood is that the circumstances can subsequently be influenced in America"s favor. As evidence of the extent of my moral decline, I"ve even found myself agreeing with Henry Kissinger from time to time lately.

That is admittedly a very abstract way of approaching international relations, and probably not a very healthy one.

Which is why I"m thankful that Shadi Hamid brought together a group of foreign policy luminaries to sign this open letter to President Barack Obama (.pdf). Released on Tuesday, the letter calls on Obama to make support of democratic self-determination and freedom of political expression a centerpiece of his policy towards the Arab and Muslim world. It"s a far cry from democracy promotion, and closer to democracy support, as outlined in this CSIS white paper (.pdf) that was also just released yesterday.

Both the letter and the CSIS paper make the case that supporting not just elections, but also the building block activities that go into a democratic political culture is in the strategic interests of the United States. So even morally bankrupt people like myself can get on board. Both acknowledge that there will inevitably be tensions between the two as well. But as the letter points out, while providing the oxygen of democracy to the Middle East might allow extremist parties to burn, it will also allow moderate parties to breathe.

Ultimately, of course, the real point here is that nations are made up of people. And while the standards of judgment for the two are not identical, neither are they quite so hermetically distinct as my writing sometimes suggests. I have a hunch, too, that populaces are going to be playing an ever-increasing role in the behavior of nation states in the coming years, as the economic downturn starts to be felt more acutely. So the more that the resulting bottom-up ferment is channeled into well-supported democratic and peaceful political insitutions, the better.


Posted in Human Rights  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Open Letter to President Obama about Democracy Promotion in the Middle East and the Muslim World
Bi-Partisan Group of Prominent Scholars and Experts Urge President Obama to Make Democracy
Democracy the antidote to jihadist radicalization, task force concludes
Reclaiming The Mantle Of Democracy Promotion
How democracy loses its footing in Middle East
How small steps can pave the way to democracy in the Middle East
Digital Democracy in Chile and Egypt
Democracy ‘normalizes’ Islamists?
Democracy in Palestine
Promoting democracy, not regime change
The Case for Democracy Promotion
A New Wave of Democracy
New Canadian democracy assistance agency on the way
Democracy Promotion in U.S. Foreign Policy
Should liberals promote liberal democracy?
Obama’s win promotes democracy in Arab world
‘Seismic’ economic shifts challenging democracy assistance
Re: The False Hope of Democracy Promotion
Islamist Parties and Democracy: Going Back to the Origins
Major Challenge to Arab Democracy
Funding GONGOs against democracy
Rare Victory for Muslim Democracy
Democracy assistance - what works?
Economic crisis could turn democracy’s stagnation into retreat, report warns
Democracy in Egypt, One Text and Twitter at a Time
Demanding Arab democracy
Syrian democracy activists face 15 years in prison
American Islamic Congress Hosts Capitol Hill Forum on Democracy and the Future of HR in Egypt
Religion and Democracy in the Middle East: A New Generation of the Muslim Brotherhood
Islam and Democracy
Islam and Democracy
Arab democracy needs ‘Islamist revision’
Democracy vs. Terrorism: A Reality Check
The Mirage of Arab Democracy
’Islamists edge towards democracy’
Is the EU serious about democracy in Jordan?
Democracy assistance still on the agenda
Democracy assistance - new world, new challenges
Democracy halted in Arab World, says Gulf debating forum
Morsi: Democracy Conforms To Islamic Shura