November 5, 2005
Mideast "Democracy" May Turn Out To Be a Disaster
The Third Reich is the best example.
the failed beer hall putsch in November 1923, and his trial and
imprisonment at Landsberg, Hitler took another road to power:
the democracy road. While engaging in street fights with communists,
the Nazis built their numbers and national support politically
until, in 1933, Hitler, now leading the largest party in Germany,
was called to the chancellery by President Hindenburg.
came the Reichstag fire that Hitler seized upon to consolidate
power and imprison his enemies. But, repeatedly in the 1930s --
after both the reoccupation of the Rhineland and the Anschluss
with Austria -- Hitler would hold plebiscites to permit the German
people to show their approval of his regime.
Hitler won more than 90 percent of the vote.
came to power through a democratic process and used democratic
forms and procedures to maintain a dictatorship. The point here
is the one made by T.S. Eliot in 1939, the year Hitler ignited
world war. Wrote Eliot:
political philosophy derives its sanction from ethics, and ethics
from the truth of religion, it is only by returning to the eternal
source of truth that we can hope for any social organization
which will not, to its ultimate destruction, ignore some essential
aspect of reality."
Eliot's jarring conclusion: "The term 'democracy,' as I have
said again and again, does not contain enough positive content
to stand alone against the forces you dislike -- it can easily
be transformed by them. If you will not have God (and He is a
jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler and Stalin."
point is this: Without a broad-based belief among a people in
the dignity and worth of each man and woman as a child of God,
thus having inalienable rights no state can violate, you risk
a Hitler coming to power -- should you entrust your nation's fate
to whatever outcome the democratic process produces.
Bush and Secretary of State Rice, in their latest rationale for
the Iraq war -- that it is part of a grand design to democratize
the Islamic world -- are taking the exact risk about which Eliot
in their worship of democracy and utopian belief in its beneficent
powers, refuse to entertain the idea that the very end they seek
may destroy the dream they have. Perhaps they will hearken to
the latest warnings about the potential perils of Islamic democracy
-- to the nation of Israel -- from hard-right Likudnik Dore Gold,
a close adviser to Ariel Sharon.
radical Islamist groups like Hamas to participate in the democratic
process, Gold warns, "is a very dangerous option because
radical Islamist groups have shown they can expertly utilize the
language of political pluralism and tolerance without altering
their highly ideological agenda.
Egypt to accept the Muslim Brotherhood or insisting that Israel
accept Hamas as a partner in a future Palestinian government will
likely accelerate a radical Islamist takeover across the Middle
East," Gold warns.
Martin Sieff writes, Gold's speech reveals a break between Israel
and the White House over Hamas' participation in the January Palestinian
elections, should Hamas refuse to give up its weapons and renounce
its goal of erasing Israel from the map.
arguments others of us have made since Bush declared democratization
of the world, beginning with the Middle East, to be the overarching
goal of U.S. foreign policy.
In the Middle
East today, there are no true Arab democracies. And in authoritarian
regimes that do not tolerate opposition parties, it is usually
the outlawed parties with the greatest discipline and dedication
and disposition to rebel and resist that thrive.
under Israeli occupation, this was Hezbollah. In Gaza and on the
West Bank during the second intifada, Hamas showed the greater
spirit to kill and die. In Egypt and Syria, the outlawed Muslim
Brotherhood sustained its unity and discipline best under the
Mubarak and Assad regimes. In Iraq, the Shia fundamentalists of
Ayatollah Sistani used free elections to capture the country.
And in Iran, Islamist militants used recent elections to recapture
in all Arab countries, anti-Americanism is rampant and hatred
of Israel universal. And among the Arab masses, the potential
new voters, the belief in Islamic fundamentalism -- in imposing
sharia law, denying other faiths equal rights or any rights, confronting
the Americans and Israelis -- is strongest.
burbling about the benefits of democracy in the Middle East remind
one of animal rights activists who demand "Freedom Now!"
for our four-legged friends. Perhaps they should think again,
before throwing open the cages in the lion house.
2005 Creators Syndicate