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Friday, August 31, 2007

Sharansky attacks politicians with BDS

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Natan Sharansky, whose book The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror inspired US President George W. Bush to try to bring democracy to the Middle East, gave the President's opponents a failing grade for rejecting the idea just because Bush raised it.
Sharansky, the former Prisoner of Zion who currently chairs the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post Thursday: "I have to give Bush credit, because he brought back the agenda of linking security and democracy, which was abandoned by the free world after the defeat of the Soviet Union. [But] what makes it hard for him to implement it is that he's so lonely.

"Many politicians and institutions that should be promoting democracy and freedom are cynically reluctant to do it, because Bush raised the agenda," Sharansky went on. "That's why I give Bush an "A" for raising the idea, a "C" for implementation and I give his opponents, who abandoned the idea, an "F," because they are attacking Bush not for inconsistency in implementing the agenda but for raising it. Their approach denies the people of the Middle East the ability to live in freedom."

Sharansky called Bush "a lonely dissident for democracy in the White House" because of his lack of support. But he cited three cases where Bush could have and should have been more consistent in his insistence on democratization: the Palestinians, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
For those of you who are about to say that the 'Palestinians' held free elections last year and got Hamas, Sharansky understands what many other proponents of his ideas can't grasp: that democracy is about democratic institutions and not just about democratic elections, and that the institutions have to be there first:
"I told Bush before and after [the vote] that quick elections cannot replace the democratic process," Sharansky said. "Elections require a free society. Elections have to be the last step of the democratic process."
Sharansky also has some choice words for the US State Department and their support of Hosni Mubarak's thugocracy in Egypt:
"America was afraid that if they would fight corrupt dictators, the Muslim Brotherhood would come to power in the Middle East. When America starts speaking powerfully, democratic dissidents are strengthened. But when America makes dictators allies, the dissidents are weakened and Islamic fundamentalism is strengthened. That's why America should not support Mubarak or Saudi Arabia," the former Soviet dissident said.
But here's the saddest part of all: Sharansky does not see any of the current Presidential candidates picking up where Bush left off:
Asked if there was a candidate running for US president who could implement his vision better than Bush had, Sharansky said he did not know of anyone who believed in his ideas more than the current president.

"He passionately believes in the power of freedom," he said. "But we saw it's not enough to believe. You have to be able to bring broad support for these ideas. It's not enough for a candidate to believe in the ideas, it's who can build a broad coalition around the ideas and sell them to the American people."
This administration in Washington started out with so much hope and so much promise. It's a pity that much of its direction has been changed by knee-jerk opposition in Congress and tunnel-visioned Washington bureaucrats in the State Department.

Read it all.


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