Tuesday, May 05, 2009

So, now she sees it?

Caroline Glick's latest column is dedicated to the overall context of the seemingly inevitable takeover of Lebanon by Hezbollah via free elections. In it she shows how elections in just about every Muslim country brought islamist parties to power, or at the very least, gave them significant gains. The part that caught my eye was when Glick describes the behaviuor of US authorities in reactions to these events:

...successive administrations in Washington have been unable to provide an accurate explanation of what drives the populations of these countries, and increasingly of the Islamic world in general to support Islamist parties and movements.

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the Bush administration came to the conclusion that it isn't that these parties and movements are popular. It is just that people are intimidated into supporting them. Were the people given the freedom to choose, they would choose to be led by liberal political forces interested in living at peace with the West. For former president George W. Bush and his advisers, the root of Islamic extremism was authoritarianism and the solution was Westernization through open elections.

When time after time the citizens of these countries or societies voluntarily elected jihadists, the Bush administration was confounded. Rather than seek an alternative explanation to understand what was happening, the administration alternatively denied reality - as in the case of Turkey where it pretended that the AKP was a moderate, pro-Western Islamist party in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Or they claimed that the people were simply voting against corruption and showered them with money - as has been the case with the Hamas-supporting Palestinians. Or, as in the case of Egypt and Iran, they have simply ignored the fact that elections took place.

All that is true and reasonably outlined by Glick. But what took her so long to realize it? As I recall she was quite enthusiastic about Bush's ideas of bringing democratic elections to the Muslim world. I could be mistaken about it, but this is certailnly the first time I read such criticism against the Bush administration. Why did she wait until he left the White House to point out these serious shortcomings to Bush's plans? Wouldn't it have been better if she had said back then what she is saying now? There was certainly some chance, however slim, of those words having effect. Now, it's all water under the bridge. And the consequences of Bush's ill-concieved theories could be disastrous for many more in years to come.