democracies - by force if necessary - as the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East?
The fledgling, democratic government in Lebanon has been brought to its knees
after being pounded by Israels military with
support from the Bush adminstration. While it is true that the terrorist wing of the
Hezbollah party in Lebanon provoked the latest explosion of violence, it is difficult to justify wiping out scores of innocent
Lebanese at the expense of killing relatively few terrorists.
Israel has the right to defend itself and is understandably angry by the unprovoked attack on its troops by Hezbollah. But, does Israel really expect the weak Lebanese government to subdue Hezbollah terrorists?
Israel itself was unable to extricate Hezbollah during its 18 years of occupying southern Lebanon. Israel knows that the defenseless Lebanese government couldnt kick out the June Taylor Dancers if they were holed up in Beirut.
Looking beyond the blame-game for the culprit in the most recent round of bloodshed, the long-term survival of democracy in Lebanon has all but vanished. Who do you think will emerge from the rubble as the largest power-broker in Lebanon? Hezbollah, of course. The lure for recruitment of more Jihadist Islamists should skyrocket.
An update of other nations cited by the Middle-East democracy campaign of the neoconservatives in our government is revealing. Remember when Israel and the U.S. demanded free elections in the
Palestinian territories as a pretext to peace talks? The Hamas party, a bitter enemy of the Jewish state, was the victor in those elections. Since the U.S. still refuses to talk to Hamas, we might as well be saying, We will only recognize the government elections with results that suit us.
Then there is Iraq. No one knows for sure what will come from that mess. Some newly-elected Iraqi representatives have
attempted to institute Islamic law into the
government, including restricting womens rights. The only given is that it will be a long time before any democracy functions there that isnt at the point of a gun.
The Lebanese, Palestinian, and Iraqi democratic elections were part of a Bush list of democracies supposedly blossoming because of his foreign policies - a validation of the Bush Doctrine. The idea was that as Middle East peoples gained freedom from cruel dictators, the growth of terrorism and the call to violence would cease.
As award-winning writer Thomas Friedman writes, What we are seeing in Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon is an effort by Islamist parties to use elections to pursue their long-term aim of
Islamizing the Arab-Muslim world. He then adds, The whole democracy
experiment in the Arab-Muslim world is at stake here, and right now its
going up in smoke.
Freidman is right. The concept of democracy seems to be dying like the victims of the insurgencies and civil war in this troubled region. Instead, the onset of anarchy and even the fueling of World War III could be lurking on the horizon. We cant will democracy on people who are not receptive.
The world desparately needs a change of direction. Recent foreign
diplomacy by the Bush administration seems to indicate a greater willingness by the President to reach out to those who disagree with us - our allies.
Recently, some agreement on the ticklish subjects of North Korea and Iran have resulted from rediscovered diplomacy with Germany, Russia, South Korea, Japan and others.
But where is the call for a ceasefire in Lebanon? Airports are being flattened. Bridges and roads are wiped out. The bombing of powerplants and gas stations are threatening to turn the country into a burning inferno. Worst of all, hundreds of innocent civilians have died in the crossfire.
In the meantime, we can only hope and pray that events in the Middle East will somehow turn around quickly, so the wounds can begin to heal and freedom will come to those who desire it.