Newsweeks Fareed Zakaria analyserer hva slags islamske regimer som er i ferd med å etablere seg i Midtøsten. Vesten vil demokrati, men er ikke alltid like happy med resultatet. Mens mange journalister i Norge hånet USA og Vesten for ikke å like vinneren av valget, velger Zakaria å peke på at Midtøsten er ambivalente i forhold til demokrati og frihet. Det er en spenning mellom de to, og det vil ta tid å bygge opp et sivilt samfunn som utvider friheten.

Det har noe med historikken å gjøre: de som er organisert og klar til å overta etter diskrediterte sekulære eliter, er islamister.

In much of the Muslim world Islam became the language of political opposition because it was the only language that could not be censored. This pattern, of dictators using religious groups to destroy the secular opposition, played itself out in virtually every Arab country, and often beyond. It was the method by which Pakistan’s Gen. Zia ul-Haq 2_kommentartained his own dictatorship in the 1980s, creating a far stronger fundamentalist movement than that country had ever known.

The broader reason for the rise of Islamic politics has been the failure of secular politics. Secularism exists in the Middle East. It is embodied by Saddam Hussein and Muammar Kaddafi and Hosni Mubarak and Yasir Arafat. Arabs believe that they have tried Western-style politics and it has brought them tyranny and stagnation. They feel that they got a bastardized version of the West and that perhaps the West was not the right model for them anyway. Islamic fundamentalism plays deeply to these feelings. It evokes authenticity, pride, cultural assertiveness and defiance. These ideas have been powerful sources of national identity throughout history and re2_kommentar so, especially in an age of globalized economics and American power. In face of the powerlessness, alienation and confusion that the modern world breeds, these groups say simply, «Islam is the solution.»
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Recent months have only highlighted that promoting democracy and promoting liberty in the Middle East are separate projects. Both have their place. But the latter—promoting the forces of political, economic and social liberty—is the more difficult and more important task. And unless we succeed at it, we will achieve a series of nasty democratic outcomes, as we are beginning to in so many of these places.

Islam and Power
Is President Bush’s plan to spread democracy turning into a fiasco? It doesn’t have to. But it does need to change.

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